Virtual Round Table – Managing vs. Leading

The Leadership Development Network

The Leadership Development Network is hosting its next FREE Virtual Round Table discussion/meeting on Tuesday, May 21st in partnership with the Young Professional Network. Please add the date to your calendar, join us and share!  These discussions are somewhat of a mixture between a webinar and round table session featuring experts in the field discussing relevant topics and trends with the opportunity for interaction.

Here are the details for this Wednesday:

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Free Training and Technical Assistance Opportunities

DOH Seeks Local Partners for the Washington Healthy and Active for Arthritis Management Program

The Department of Health (DOH) recently received a five-year grant from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as a part of the “State Public Health Approaches to Addressing Arthritis” cooperative agreement and developed the Washington Healthy and Active for Arthritis Management (WHAAM) project. The goal of the WHAAM Project is to increase physical activity among people with arthritis as a way of reducing and managing pain, with a focus on non-metropolitan and Native American communities.

This goal will be accomplished by:

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2019 WRPA Award Recipients

Congratulations, Award Recipients!

This spring, we want to honor the amazing people, parks, and programs that received an award at the awards banquet during the 72nd Annual WRPA Conference & Tradeshow. The WRPA Awards Program honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of recreation and parks in Washington State. A variety of awards were handed out to WRPA members and public citizens. 

There are three categories recognized for WRPA's Awards Program: Professional Awards, Citation of Merit Awards, and Spotlight Awards. In addition to these categories, WRPA also acknowledges Mickey Corso Leadership Grant recipients.  

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Join ORPA for Park Planner Palooza VI

Join the Oregon Recreation and Parks Association for an Educational Event

More design charette than lecture, Park Planner Palooza VI is an opportunity for park planners and designers to receive training (and CEU credits), discuss cutting-edge planning initiatives, and view innovative projects with other park and recreation planners from around Oregon in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

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City of Lacey Loses Longtime Parks Advocate and Leader

Lacey, WA, April 26, 2019

The City of Lacey is saddened by the recent passing of Jim Sheler, who served as the city’s first Parks and Recreation Director from 1974 until retirement in 2009.  “Jim established an incredible legacy for our community and indeed the greater South Sound,” said Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder. “He was an untiring force in laying the foundation for one of the finest municipal park systems in the region.”
When Sheler arrived at Lacey, the fledgling city had been incorporated for only eight years.  Its newly-created parks department had no permanent employees, no dedicated budget, and only three parks—Wonderwood, Lake Lois, and Homann—comprising a total of 54 acres. 
Over the next 35 years, Sheler oversaw expansion of the city’s park system to 26 locations encompassing more than 500 acres—including Rainier Vista Community Park, Woodland Creek Community Park, Huntamer Park, the Regional Athletic Complex, and Lacey’s community and senior centers.  Sheler also initiated the city’s highly-regarded comprehensive recreation program, which serves more than twenty thousand participating residents and visitors annually.  By the time of his retirement, Lacey’s parks department employed thirteen people, and had an annual budget of $3.2 million.
In 2010, the Washington Recreation and Parks Association (WRPA) honored Sheler with its Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes outstanding commitment and contributions to the field of parks and recreation.
“Jim was truly passionate about Lacey and building a park’s system that would benefit and be enjoyed by all ages,” said City Manager Scott Spence.  “He was the personification of outstanding public service, and one of the most dedicated professionals I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”  

A public Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, May 3, at 1:00 p.m. at Mills & Mills Funeral Home, 5725 Littlerock Road SW, Tumwater, WA 98512.  Contributions to the “Lacey Parks & Recreation Jim Sheler Memorial Fund” can be made in-person or via postal mail to Lacey Parks & Recreation, 420 College Street SE, Lacey, WA 98503.

Congratulations 2019 Award Winners

Washington Recreation & Park Association

Announces 2019 Annual Award Recipients

The Washington Recreation & Park Association (WRPA) celebrates people, parks, and programs with an award program honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of parks and recreation in Washington State. The 2019 award recipients were honored at our Annual Conference & Trade Show on Thursday, April 11th at the Hilton Vancouver in Vancouver, WA, USA.

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Learning Opportunity: Academy Externship

American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration Offers Externship

The Externship Program enables outstanding young professionals 35 years of age and younger in the parks and recreation field to interact with and learn from members of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and other individuals who attend the NRPA Congress and its associated meetings. Up to four Externs are selected each year, of which two are Ernest T. Atwell diversity externships.

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Online Conference Registration Ends April 2

Last Chance to Register for
The WRPA Conference & Tradeshow
Registration Closes on Tuesday, April 2

Register Now

Only 5 Days Left to Register & Only 11 Days Until the Start of the WPA Conference & Tradeshow!


There is so much to explore and learn at the 72nd Annual WRPA Conference & Tradeshow! In addition to educational sessions and networking events, there will be lots of new and exciting opportunities for attendees to engage at the conference. If you haven't yet, be sure to register today!

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L&I Filed Emergency Rule

L&I has filed an emergency rule effective today (Monday, March 11, 2019), regarding the prevailing wage for landscape construction and maintenance workers.

A law passed in 2018 raised the prevailing wage for this group from a low of around $13 an hour up to $50 an hour or more in some instances. This job category included higher-rate landscape construction work (like spreading top soil, seeding, planting and installing sprinkler systems), along with simpler landscape maintenance like lawn mowing and trimming.   

Local government agencies and landscape contractors expressed concern about the unexpected increase in cost for landscape maintenance under the new prevailing wage law. And in February, the Association of Washington Cities requested L&I undertake rule making to separate out landscape maintenance work from the traditionally higher-paid landscape construction work. L&I heard those concerns and has moved ahead with an emergency rule.

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Field Turf Available

Field Turf Available

Steve Cox Memorial Park in White Center is replacing the infield with new Astroturf. We have removed the old surface (Field Turf) and it is available for another park system if anyone wants it. There are several rolls that are 6’x60.’ Please let me know asap if anyone is interested.

Joe Mentor, Jr.
Phone (206) 838-7650
[email protected]

Congress Passes Public Lands Packages (S.47)

Congress Passes Public Lands Packages (S.47)

We wanted to flag that Congress passed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreations Act (S. 47), a legislative package that has now been sent to the President for his signature. It includes more than 100 individual bills that address natural resources, parks, and water. Most of the individual bills were introduced in previous sessions of Congress, with the relevant authorizing Committees engaging in a significant stakeholder engagement process to inform the final, comprehensive package. The text of S. 47 was introduced this past December and voted on in each chamber over the past two weeks. You can read more about the process, including a list of individual key bills included, here. The President has ten days from Congressional passage to sign the bill into law.

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Socials & Activities at WRPA Conference

Learn & Have Fun WRPA Conference

2019 Socials and Activities

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WRPA Legislative Update YAF 03-04-2019

WRPA Legislative Update - Youth Athletics Facilities Program (YAF)

What is “YAF”? – The Youth Athletic Facilities grant program, administered by the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), provides funds to build, renovate, replace, or acquire land for outdoor athletic facilities such as ball fields, courts, swimming pools, tennis courts, BMX tracks, field lighting, and skate parks. The program focuses on serve youth through age

WRPA’s Request – We are requesting at least a $12 million investment in the 2019-21 Capital Budget to help fund a ranked and evaluated grant list comprised of more than 60 project applicants who sought over $16 million.

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RIGHT NOW: Legislators are making important decisions about our great outdoors.

RIGHT NOW: Legislators are making important decisions about our great outdoors. Tell them that you support $130M for #WWRP, so that Washingtonians can continue to enjoy trails, parks, forests, and so much more.

Visit our Take Action Page right now for a sample message you can send to legislators! 

WRPA Conference Updates: February 7, 2019

Early Bird Registration Ends Soon
Prices go up after Friday, February 8

Have you registered for the WRPA Conference & Tradeshow? Did you know that attendees get to choose from more than 45 educational sessions based on more than 10 different topics including aquatics, management, leadership, equity, programming, customer service, risk management, and finance? Register today and start picking sessions from the 2019 event schedule like the highlighted sessions below.

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New Grant Program: No Child Left Inside

Learn More About This New Opportunity

No Child Left Inside Grant Program

Hello potential grant applicants and other interested parties! Washington State Parks and the Recreation and Conservation Office are excited to announce that the No Child Left Inside Grant Program (NCLI) will officially open for new applications on January 2, 2019.

The Washington State Legislature created the No Child Left Inside grant program to provide underserved youth with quality opportunities to experience the outdoors. Grant funds are available for outdoor environmental, ecological, agricultural, or other natural resource-based education and recreation programs serving youth.

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Five Reasons to Attend the 2019 WRPA Conference & Tradeshow

What's New to Conference This Year
Five Event Highlights for 2019

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WRPA's Introduces a New Membership Structure

New Membership Structure

WRPA is excited to announce our recent updates to the WRPA Agency Membership and the addition of a new Emerging Professional Membership. We are proud to say that these new options will provide even more recreation and park professionals with access to WRPA's education, networking, and training opportunities. Membership Is Now Easier Than Ever

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2019 Legislative Priorities

WRPA Stands By the Following Legislative Priorities 

The Board Of Directors recently approved the key legislative priorities for 2019. Check out the condensed version below and visit our Legislative Priority page to learn more about our position on these legislative issues in the Recreation & Parks Community.

  • Provide Local Parks and Recreation Agencies with new Funding Options to Address Vital M&O and Preservation Needs and to Enhance Economic Development
  • Enact 2019-21 Capital Budget – Including Key Funding Targets for WWRP, YAF, ALEA
  • Protect Funding for Dedicated Accounts within the Capital Budget
  • Support Efforts to Address Mental Health, Homelessness, Affordable Housing
  • Oppose Legislation to Prematurely Place Regulatory Burdens on “Crumb Rubber” Fields
  • “Big Tent” Outdoor Recreation Coalition
  • Support efforts to make the system of outdoor recreation passes simpler, more equitable, and more convenient
  • Advocate for Key “Healthy & Active Communities” Funding within the State Budget Process
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Two Ways Your Agency Can Help Save LWCF

Learn More About How to Help

Dear WRPA Supporters,

I am writing on behalf of the LWCF Coalition to ask for your help to save the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nation’s oldest and most important parks and conservation program, which will die at the end of September unless Congress acts. 

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