AFFILIATE SPOTLIGHT: New Hampshire Recreation and Parks Association
The Affiliate Spotlight is a column designed to give readers a closer look at NHMA’s Affiliate Groups. There are over 30 such groups affiliated with NHMA comprised primarily of municipal officials, usually professional organizations, serving a particular position, such a city and town clerks, assessors, health officers, road agents, etc. In this issue, we introduce and spotlight the New Hampshire Parks and Recreation Association.
TC: What is the mission/goals of the New Hampshire Recreation and Parks Association?
NHPRA: The purpose of this organization is to promote and advocate for the development and administration of recreation and parks services, without discrimination, by means of educational sessions, meetings, seminars and conferences; and to improve recreation and parks activities and facilities in New Hampshire.
TC: What are biggest challenges facing your professional group today?
NHRPA: There are many challenges facing Parks and Recreation professionals due to the ever-changing economy. First and foremost, escalating taxes often causes officials to focus on finding solutions to reduce the tax burden and often look at parks and recreation as a way to cut a budget. Our professionals are faced with developing incentives to increase programs, maintain facilities and meet the needs of their residents and participants. Lastly, our professionals are confronted with justifying any parks and recreation project when competing against other department, yet these projects are important in maintaining the quality of life for the community.
TC: How has NHMA helped your professional group to do your job?
NHRPA: NHMA has provided guest speakers at some of our workshops. These workshops are provided to our association at no cost and it is great to have a working relationship with NHMA where they are able to help us provide quality morning workshops.
TC: What advice would you give someone who would like to follow in your professional footsteps?
NHRPA: Go for it! Parks and Recreation field is always changing. Every day is different and exciting. You, as a professional, will always be learning and growing.
TC: Do you dislike any aspects of your profession? Which ones? Why?
NHRPA: There are not numerous dislikes in our profession, however, limited facilities is one of them. Often in New Hampshire, the Parks and Recreation departments need to depend on whatever facility is available at any given time. This often creates difficulty in servicing multiple demographics at the same time due to the lack of adequate space as well as staffing thus creating a conundrum. Parks and Recreation professionals do their best to accommodate as many people as they can.
TC: Given the opportunity, what changes would you make to the profession?
NHPRA: If granted one change in our profession, Park and Recreation professionals would love to be mentioned in the same conversation as the major players in municipal government. People often move to communities because of the great quality of life that Parks and Recreation is able to provide. We should have equal standing in town government and given the level of appreciation for the things that makes a community unique.