Many of the networks meet once a month at various locations, with the exception of the summer months. Please email Bethani at if you would like to be added to the network communication list.

Aquatics Network

Network Chair: Jasmine Ellison, Eden Prairie Parks & Recreation

Network Focus:
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:  usually meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m.

Past Meeting Minutes:

April 2021 Minutes

March 2021 Aquatic Network Minutes

September 2020 Aquatic Network Minutes


Athletic Management Network

Network Chair: Scott Heitkamp, Burnsville Parks and Recreation

Network Focus:
The Athletic Management Group 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 Meetings: meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m.

December 21 - Virtual

Past Meeting Minutes:

Minutes - July 2021

Minutes - June 2021

Minutes - April 2021

Minutes - March 2021

Minutes - February 2021

Facilities Network
This network’s first meeting was postponed. The network will meet in the future.

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: usually meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m.

Programming Network

Network Chair: Aaron Thelen, City of New Hope

Network Focus:
Individuals who share best practices for programming, resources, and trends. And, 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: meets the 3rd Friday of every month at 10 a.m.

Friday, January 21 – Woodbury

Friday, February 18 – Location TBD

Friday, March 18 – Location TBD

Past Meeting Minutes:

October 2021 Minutes

September 2021 Minutes

May 2021 Minutes

April 2021 Minutes

March 2021 Minutes

February 2021 Minutes

January 2021 Minutes

December 2020 Minutes

Young Professional and Student Network

Network Chair: Jessica Christensen Buck, City of Corcoran

Network Focus:
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.  If you have any questions or have additional information to share, contact Jessica Christensen Buck.

Upcoming Meeting: usually meets virtually on the 2nd Tuesday of every month

MRPA Mentorship Program

The MRPA Mentorship Program was a new program hosted by the Young Professional and Student Network to help park and recreation students and professionals grow professionally in the field through meaningful connections. Thanks to our sponsor the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation.


Ignite Afterschool

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

Minnesota Children and Nature Connection

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

Minnesota Association of Senior Services

In October 2012, the MRPA Board of Directors authorized support of the Minnesota Association of Senior Services (MASS) as an affiliate of MRPA. 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.

Minnesota Twins

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 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 If you would like additional information regarding the Trusted Coaches Verification Program, contact Dawson Blanck at

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

For the past 14 years, MRPA staff has served on the National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) Board. 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

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 ProgramĀ® (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.

Minnesota Recreation & Park Association (MRPA)
200 Charles Street NE
Fridley, MN 55432

(763) 571-1305

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