FRPA is working on behalf of the parks, recreation and leisure services profession to highlight our role in the quality of life of all people and assist with marketing the profession. This is done through the following activities: working with the FRPA Executive Office on legislative issues and activities, developing programs to engage students who are interested in the parks, recreation and leisure services field, marketing the profession to people outside of the field and to advance national initiatives, from the National Recreation and Park Association, within the state.
Advocacy is a word that tends to intimidate and has a somewhat negative connotation. But, the reality is that we all advocate every day, often without even realizing we are doing so. When we create a flyer we are advocating the benefits of our profession as evidenced in the programs we have created. When we post about our job on social media we are advocating (hopefully in a positive manner) the attributes of our profession. When we defend our budgets we are advocating the value of the very core of what we are about.
In other words, we can effectively advocate for Parks and Recreation without ever speaking a word to an elected official and we should all be doing it with every opportunity available to us. Our peers do it all the time. The Fire Department touts its response time. The Police Department touts its crime statistics. Why shouldn’t we advocate just as loudly and proudly for ourselves? This was the impetus for the “It Starts in Parks” marketing initiative that today has resulted in a rebranding and retelling of our message.
Coaching, Connecting, Community. Some may claim that it is too simplistic but if you really think about it, those three words are the essence of what we do. We must communicate the message that we are coaching the fundamental life skills necessary for success. We must recognize and appreciate the fact that we are one of the last means to connect this overburdened society with our environment and our history. We must insist that we be given due credit for the very positive way our parks and programs are the foundation for a community that not only has strong economic vitality but stronger relationships between citizens as a result of our efforts.
Inherently, our residents and users know how important we are. This year we will continue to support your goal of reminding them of our importance. Video updates during the Legislative Session will keep you abreast of the happenings in Tallahassee and their impact on you. FRPA Elerts will continue to be delivered via email so you can stay informed on the current issues and trends; allowing you to be a participant in the process rather than a bystander.
Just tell the story.