Many of the networks meet once a month at various locations, with the exception of the summer months. Please email Bethani at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the network communication list.
Network Chair: Heather Flock, South St. Paul Parks & Recreation
Individuals that support the specialized skills needed to operate and staff water recreation facilities and programs such as pools, water parks, and swimming lessons.
Upcoming Meeting: meets the1st Wednesday of every month at 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, March 6
Past Meeting Minutes:
Athletic Management Network
Network Chair: Mitchell Czech, City of Chanhassen
Network Focus: The Athletic Management Network provides opportunities for MRPA professionals who work with youth and adult leagues and programs, athletic facilities and youth athletic associations. This group meets monthly, typically the third Tuesday, to share best practices, trends, cultivate strategic partnerships, develop initiatives, share industry research, serve as a volunteer network for state-wide events and develop industry strategies.
Upcoming Meeting: meets the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 11 a.m.
Tuesday, March 12
Past Meeting Minutes:
Network Chair: TBD
Network Focus: The Leadership Development Network provides opportunities for MRPA professionals who manage or supervise an agency facility. This network meets virtually every four months.
Network Focus: The Leadership Network provides opportunities for MRPA professionals who are in current leadership roles (managers/superintendent/directors) in their departments to share ideas with peers allowing an open forum to talk about hot topics, issues and challenges in an informal setting.
Tuesday, April 9, 3 – 4:30 p.m., Westwood Hills Nature Center – 8300 W. Franklin Ave, St. Louis Park, MN 55426
May – virtual
Thursday, June 13, In-person social: 3 – 6 p.m., Antlers Park - 20141 Ipava Avenue Lakeville, MN 55044
September – Conference
November – virtual
January 2025 – Development Workshop for all members. Location and speaker TBD
Membership Resources Network
Network Chairs: TBD
Network Focus: The Member Resources Network connects new MRPA members to networks and committees. This network meets on an as need basis.
Park Maintenance and Operations Network
Network Chair: Adam Farrell, City of Buffalo
Network Focus: Individuals who share best practices for park maintenance and operations.
Upcoming Meeting: typically meets the1st Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m.
Wednesday, March 6
Network Chair: Crystal Anderson, City of Maple Grove
Network Focus: Individuals who share best practices for programming, resources, and trends. Provide information regarding service for diverse needs and populations and to support the development of part-time staff and volunteers while sharing information related to the independent contractors.
Upcoming Meetings: typically meets the 3rd Friday of every month at 10 a.m.
Next Meeting: Friday, February 16 - agenda
Past Meeting Minutes:
Young Professional and Student Network
Network Chair: Sierra Hietala, City of Little Canada - email@example.com
February 27 at 2 p.m.
March 26 at 2 p.m.
April 30 at 2 p.m.
May 28 at 2 p.m.
July 30 at 2 p.m.
The Young Professional and Student Network (YPSN) is designed to inspire and engage members of the recreation profession under the age of 35 (of course all ages are welcome to be involved) to become active members of professional associations, grow and maintain their professional network, and discover the benefits of professional development. The YPSN calls are usually held once a month.
For more information about the YPSN, please join the group on Facebook at the MRPA Young Professional and Student Network group.
The City of Burnsville is excited to continue our yearly publication of Minnesota Best.
MRPA members should highly consider submitting their best facilities, events, park features, and programs for inclusion in Minnesota Best Ideas from any year are welcome to be included, and each city can submit as many entries as they'd like. This isn't a competition and there are no "winners;" all entries will be included in a published digital booklet.
The compiled information will be a valuable resource for parks and recreation departments across the state to create new and engaging programs for their communities from the ideas they garner from Minnesota Best.
We encourage all cities to submit as many entries as they’d like. Facilities, events, park features, and programs from any year are welcome to be included. All submissions will be compiled into a digital booklet and shared with the MRPA membership in early 2024.
Please submit entries at the link below by January 15 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WILS Annual Luncheon
Wednesday, February 7
Shakopee Community Center
1255 Fuller St South
Shakopee, MN 55379
In October 2008, the MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Youth Community Connections, a collaboration designed to give all Minnesota’s afterschool stakeholders a united voice on the most pressing issues affecting afterschool. This organization came to be known as the Minnesota Afterschool Network.
In 2013, a new identity was launched as Ignite Afterschool. This new identity reflected a desire to ignite the shared commitment to young people and continue to bring together afterschool allies from across the state. Using combined resources and expertise to improve funding and provide quality afterschool and summer programming, young people throughout Minnesota all benefit. MRPA’s Deb Weinreis represents the association within this collaboration to ensure the parks and recreation industry has a voice during the conversations and decisions on how youth spend their out-of-school time.
The association provides administrative support to the Ignite Afterschool strategic leadership team. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Minnesota Department of Education, and the National League of Cities provide the funding for this initiative. The Ignite staff recently submitted a grant proposal for a 3-year continuation to support Ignite Afterschool. More information is available at www.igniteafterschool.org
The MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Minnesota Children and Nature Connection (MN-CNC) as an initiative of MRPA in October 2009. MN-CNC is an alliance of professionals, researchers and parents engaged in a movement to connect children and families to nature.
MN-CNC initiative’s aim is to promote access to nature and the natural environment, and to strengthen the link among researchers and the public, professionals and practitioners, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and well-being. MN-CNC looks to engage a diverse community of individuals, institutions, organizations, and industries by providing a forum for the presentation of research, best practices, models, and case studies, as well as a platform in which to exchange critical information, share strategic initiatives, strengthen professional networks and celebrate related success stories. The Association provides administrative support and is the fiscal agent for MN-CNC. The two agencies have provided educational opportunities for members throughout the years. For further information, visit mncnc.org/
Minnesota Association of Senior Services
The MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Minnesota Association of Senior Services (MASS) as an affiliate of MRPA in 2012. MASS is an unincorporated association of coordinators and advocates for the senior population whose purpose is to provide a voice for seniors in local, state and national policies. MASS has been providing the exchange of ideas and concerns relative to the development of programming and training for services to seniors since 1983. The purpose and goals of MASS are consistent with those of MRPA, and benefit both the parties involved and the people they serve.
The Association provides administrative support and is the fiscal agent for MASS. The two agencies have shared speaker and session resources when coordinating educational conferences and workshops for their respective organizations.
As a long-time MRPA corporate member, the Minnesota Twins and MRPA have offered parks and recreation days for many years. But did you know that every year since 2000, MRPA has been formerly recognized on the field at the Yearly Group Organizer Appreciation Day for placing in the top 10 of group sales? This accomplishment is because of members continued support to the Minnesota Twins through both the good years, and the more challenging ones. MRPA has also provided administrative support to the Twins Community Fund.
Sports Alliance of Minnesota
MRPA is a founding member of the Sports Alliance of Minnesota (SAM). SAM is a coalition of sports organizations whose mission is to provide tools for creating a positive youth sports environment. SAM specifically promotes sportsmanship and also addresses other important youth sports issues including health and safety, coaches and officials training, nutrition and the dangers of steroids and tobacco use. SAM is committed to improving sportsmanship in sports across the state. A website with a “virtual” toolkit of resources for those providing leadership in youth sports is accessible online at www.sportsalliancemn.org. Each founding member organization has the opportunity to have a representative on the Board of Directors.
Minnesota Youth Athletic Services
Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) Executive Director Dan Klinkhammer provided the opportunity for MRPA to partner with MYAS on a new program now named, Trusted Coaches (TC). The Board approved the partnership with MYAS in August 2013.
The TC program package to certify youth coaches includes the following components: (a) national background check; (b) online concussion training; (c) online coaching workshop; and (d) online first aid class. A verification card with the coach’s photo is provided upon successful completion of the four steps and is valid for three years. To view the entire Trusted Coaches program, visit www.trustedcoaches.org. If you would like additional information regarding the Trusted Coaches Verification Program, contact Dawson Blanck at email@example.com.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day
MRPA staff has served on the National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) Board for the past 14 years. The day was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and to recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women. This event typically takes place the first Wednesday of February. It also honors those individuals and organizations who have made a difference by breaking barriers for girls and women sports programs in their community. Many parks and recreation programs and individuals have been recognized at this event. To learn more and/or to nominate someone in your agency go to www.ngwsd-mn.com
National Council on Aging
In partnership with MASS, MRPA became the lead agency regarding a grant from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in January 2015. The MRPA Board of Directors responded favorably to MRPA serving as the lead agency for the program and grant application.
The grant was awarded to a three-state area: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington. This grant provided funding for MRPA, in partnership with MASS, to expand NCOA’s Aging Mastery Program® (AMP) in rural Minnesota by offering awards to 13 organizations. AMP consists of a 10-week core curriculum and ongoing engagement activities designed to help older adults residing in rural communities take key steps to improve their health, independence, and financial stability.
Each state’s lead agency, including MRPA, receives $50,000 over the three-year period to administer the grant process. Each grantee receives $12,000 in funding, plus an in-kind donation of $4,800 in program materials to implement AMP. This grant funding was designated for agencies located in rural communities with populations less than 50,000. The Minnesota grantees are as follows: Alexandria Public Schools, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Winona, Waseca Area Caregiver Services, Hastings Area Senior Center, Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center, Linwood Senior Center, Montevideo Community Education, Mower County Seniors Inc., Northfield Senior Center, Northland Foundation – Aitkin County, Northland Foundation – Lake County, Owatonna Parks and Recreation, and Rosemount/Farmington Parks and Recreation.