Becky Talks Parks: Parks & Recreation Podcast for Passionate Professionals

Becky Talks Parks: Parks & Recreation Podcast for Passionate Professionals

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By Becky Dunlap
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Stories with incredible Parks and Recreation Professionals who are raising the bar to improve the programs, parks, and community services that enhance the quality of life of everyone around them.
More places to listen
Stories with incredible Parks and Recreation Professionals who are raising the bar to improve the programs, parks, and community services that enhance the quality of life of everyone around them.
beckytalksparks.com

More places to listen

Programming for Success with Chris Bass
From developing program ideas, evaluating success, and managing teams, there’s so much to know when it comes to know when it comes to recreation programming.  It’s one of the most rewarding elements of a parks and recreation career – to develop programs that make a difference in the community.  Sometimes it can help to hear the perspectives of other programmers who are rocking it so you can learn from them.  You can learn how others overcome obstacles similar to yours.  Have you ever experienced: a limited budget? low participation? part-time/seasonal staff? lack of resources? Most professionals have!  In this episode, we talk with Chris Bass about what it’s like to be a parks manager who faces many of these challenges.  We dive into how to develop programs based on community input, how to evaluate programs, and some creative programming ideas (which are a win-win for your department and your community!). Head over to iTunes or your favorite podcast player and have a listen.  I’d so appreciate it if you’d leave a review if you enjoy the show.  Thanks!  https://beckytalksparks.com/programming-for-success-with-chris-bass/ 
24:33
August 14, 2019
Mistakes I've Made in my Parks and Recreation Career
I'm confessing 6 huge mistakes that I've made throughout my parks and recreation career.
32:44
June 26, 2019
Rebranding Parks and Recreation with Claire Cox
If you've ever wondered how your parks and recreation agency could strengthen your current brand, or rebrand all together... Listen to this episode!
37:05
March 25, 2019
Turning a Program Idea into a Reality with Gabe Castillo
In this episode, I talk to Gabe Castillo who is with the Belvidere Park District in Illinois.  We walk through the different stages of finding your program idea from community feedback, to then marketing and evaluating that program over time.   Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.     Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S3E1  Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap   
40:05
March 12, 2019
Navigating Parks and Recreation as a Student with Deona Micheli
 What do you do once you figure out that you want to in parks and Recreation?   This is the question that Deona and I started with in this conversation.  Deona reached out to me as a current student in the parks and recreation field. I definitely see her as an up-and-coming leader in our field, and I am excited to hear what she has to say!  We talked about how to choose your degree, the right school, the right classes, and then how to get your foot in the door.  She has some really useful tips around volunteering, researching your dream job, and reaching out to other professionals. Deona is working on an app to help people experience parks in new ways. If you’d like to be involved, or perhaps know someone with the technical expertise to help her, please reach out to her at deonamicheli@gmail.com    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E6 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
46:04
March 5, 2019
Future Trends in Recreation Centers with Craig Bouck
 Today I have got a great interview for you!  I am talking to Craig Bouck from BRS Associates about future trends in recreation centers, including aquatics, operations, planning, and design. BRS is a planning and design firm that focuses primarily on community and recreation design.  They work around the country to provide bring a lot of these trends we are about to talk about to LIFE.  They like to focus primarily on recreation centers, because they say that this is the one architecture that at some point really touches everybody in the community.  Craig is the CEO of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. An extremely talented and creative designer, he has a quick intellect and discerning eye. He brings his expertise to all aspects of the practice, from project management to graphic design. Craig is a frequent speaker and author in the recreation, active aging and aquatic facility design industry.     Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E5 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
46:04
March 5, 2019
Trust Me Now, Judge Me Later with Pat O'Toole
 Pat O'Toole Pat brings over 25 years of management planning for parks and recreation agencies and has been leading projects for GreenPlay since 2003. Prior to joining GreenPlay, Pat was President of OATS LLC, a private consulting firm. Before that he worked for many years as a Principal for another parks planning firm, and he was previously a director and assistant director for several agencies in four different states. Pat has extensive expertise in budgeting, operational pro-formas, cost recovery and activity-based costing, efficiencies, public process, and all other facets of leading agencies. He is skilled at leading forward focused projects and teams, specifically related to creating vision and implementation.  · Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    · Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E4 · Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
37:00
March 5, 2019
Staying Relevant: What does it take? w/ Chris Nunes
Staying Relevant in Parks and Recreation is no easy task.  Technology is moving at a rapid pace.  Trends seem to change daily.  What, then, does it mean for agencies to stay relevant? How do we decide when to compete, collaborate, or step back?  In this episode, I talk to Chris Nunes from the Woodlands Township to hear his perspective on what it means to stay relevant in today's world!   Chris Nunes, CPRE is the Director of Parks and Recreation for The Woodlands Township, in The Woodlands, Texas.  In that position, a $22 million operational budget,  a $4-5 million  yearly capital improvement program and is accountable for the management of 140 parks, 15 swimming pools and aquatic facilities, 220 miles of pathways, and 200 miles of streetscape. He speaks around the country (over 300+ times) on topics including: business plans, contracting, creative programming, marketing, external funding, communication, leadership and succession planning.  In 2012, Chris was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administrators and in 2015 he received the National Distinguished Professional Award from NRPA and in 2016-2017 he is the President of the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administrators.    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E3 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
27:04
March 5, 2019
Celebrate Community Milestones! w/ Jason Hendrix
Jason Hendrix is a local government professional with 15 years of government experience and is currently a Community Services Supervisor with the City of Menifee. Jason is extremely passionate about the Parks & Recreation industry and has coordinated or supervised numerous program areas including: youth sports, special events, after school programs and now also supervises the Park Ranger Program and Homeless Task Force. Jason holds an AA from the University of Phoenix and holds several Park & Rec certifications including being a certified trainer of trainers for alifornia School Age Consortium, and a certified youth and adult sports official. Jason has served as Vice President on the California Parks & Recreation District 11 board and has held the office of President of the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation on two separate occasions.  In his spare time, Jason can be found cheering on his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish, recording his ‘Dos Leprechauns’ podcast with his son, or training for 5k’s. Jason lives in Riverside with his wife.   Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E2 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
28:49
March 5, 2019
Conference Tips for NRPA 2018 and Beyond!
NRPA 2018 is almost here!  In this episode, I give you a rundown of my top 5 favorite tips for the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference.  Hope these come in handy and get you excited for the event!  Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S2E1 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
14:24
March 5, 2019
Preparing for the Next Generation of Recreation Leaders with Art Thatcher
 A LOT is changing in the world of parks and recreation. I had the privledge of sitting down with Arthur Graham Thatcher to talk about the ways the young professionals are changing the face of recreation.   Today we talk about Entrepreneurship of millennials in our field and beyond; The specialization of parks and rec career paths; The changing on-demand nature of programs;How social media and connectivity will impact our field; The need for flexible work places and schedules      Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E11 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
40:35
March 5, 2019
Engaging the Public: Conservation & Recreation w/ Keri Konold
 Keri Konold joined me for another episode on the podcast this week to talk about public engagement in relation to conservation and recreation.  It can be difficult to achieve a balance between conservation and recreation; they seem like opposing sides, and yet one in the same.  Keri talks about using the SHIFT principles to reframe the conversation to make progress.  We also dive into her philosophy behind public engagement and some of the ways she has found success when talking to communities, large or small.   Keri is currently the Community Relations Officer at City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, in addition to being a Project Consultant for GreenPlay, LLC.     “I encourage professionals to not be daunted by public engagement, but rather embrace it and leverage it to provide a better product so our communities whom we serve can go out and have the experiences that they value.”   Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E10 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
51:09
March 5, 2019
Emerging Trends In Parks & Playgrounds With Dustin Graham
What does the future of parks look like?  What happens when cookie cutter playgrounds get replaced by unique, creative, and imaginative structures?  In this episode, Dustin Graham talks about trends in parks and playground design.  We get deep into how playgrounds are the foundation for skill building and risk taking. Dustin Graham, a Designer and Territory Manager, for Great Southern Recreation, has been working in the parks and recreation industry for 15 years. Dustin’s eclectic recreation experience has lead him to the wonderful world of play space design and construction. Dustin services East Tennessee and East Georgia providing design/build services in the playground and splash pad space.  Dustin is Raising the Bar By: Creating spaces that impact our communities beyond the park Advocating for risky elements in playgrounds for the benefit of child development Asking the big questions like…“How do we make our communities say, ‘I love my park system’?”   Things you’ll learn in this episode: Trends in parks and playground design; The rise of splash pads (less maintenance, less staff, and less insurance!); How topographic challenges won’t limit a playground, but will actually be an advantage The potential of using old inhabitable places and transforming them to new gems What to say when someone remarks, “That’s dangerous!!” to a new piece of playground equipment The new features that make playgrounds come alive: How technology can impact the way kids interact with natureFuture use of QR codes and augmented reality App-based social fitness challenges How sound and light features will become integrated in parks in conjunction with smart phone technology (similar idea w/ Disney lights –>  watch video )“Playgrounds are great natural classrooms for kids to learn about themselves” – Dustin GrahamResources:Gametime Fitness Challenge Course (must watch video!) Beltline Park in Atlanta Great Southern Rec     Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E9 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
59:20
March 5, 2019
Starting a Parks and Recreation Department from Scratch with Jay Tryon
Jay Tryon is the Director of Parks & Recreation for the Town of Indian Trail.  This is a fairly new department that was started in 2013. Since its creation Jay has lead his team to open over 100 acres of parks and currently is finishing the Towns first Strategic Masterplan.  While in Indian Trail he has built a department known for providing top notch programming and facilities and leading the way with innovative amenities in the region. Prior to this position he spent 7 ½ years with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. Throughout his time with Mecklenburg County he held a few different roles including operations director of special event facilities and athletics supervisor coordinator. Jay is a member of NCRPA and NRPA and is the past chair of Young Professional Network. He is also a member of the CAPRA Commission.  In 2015 he was awarded one of NRPAs Young Professional fellowships. He is a graduate of SUNY Brockport with a major in Recreation & Leisure Studies and a concentration in Recreation Management.  Jay is Raising the Bar By trusting his team, their decision-making, and their ability to get the job done Investing in professional development and educational opportunities for his staff Taking a unique and engaging approach to communicating their offerings to their community.   In this episode, you'll learn the steps Jay took to lead a new parks and recreation department from scratch; the philosophy behind creating a positive and trusting workplace culture; advice for young professionals who are looking for a career in parks and recreation. “There’s really no such thing as failure because we are constantly learning and growing as a team -- and also as an individual --  to help the community.” - Jay Tryon    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E8 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
44:46
March 5, 2019
Inspiring Pride in Parks & Recreation with Angela Summers
 “We’re gonna help you be somebody.” Angela is a Recreation Services Manager with the City of Henderson in Nevada.  And during her 20+ year career, she has worked for recreation facilities in California, Hawaii, Japan, and Nevada.  She is a nationally recognized motivationally speaker and has presented at various conferences across the country for the past 10 years.  Her areas of focus include promoting positive leadership, strengthening workplace culture and relationships, and inspiring today’s “new age” workforce.  Angelasupervises over 250 employees, many of whom are of the millennial generation; through her passion she shares positive insights that help recreational professionals not only survive the millennial invasion, but also learn to embrace it. In this episode, you’ll learn New ideas and tactics for interviews and onboarding; specific advice for both interviewers and potential employees How to set a strong foundation for staff culture from day; Why Imposing our own expectations and using scare tactics on others is not a good way to maintain relationships“A leader should never prevent somebody from being highly motivated.”    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E7 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
48:28
March 5, 2019
Collaborating for Public Health in Parks with Jo Burns
Welcome back to the podcast, this is episode #8.  Today, we are talking to Jo Burns, the co-founder of the Colorado Public Health/Parks and Recreation Collaborative.  We talk all about the ways local parks and recreation agencies can partner with health organizations to improve the health of local communities. Most everyone would agree that HEALTH is a vital part of your quality of life. When you get sick, if you have a chronic illness, when you are injured, you know that being healthy is something that we should be constantly grateful for. As parks and recreation professionals, we also know that health means something a little different. Naturally, parks and rec facilities provide the safe places for people to improve their health for exercise, but we also now have the opportunity to partner with health organizations to create long lasting change. These partnerships can help expand health benefits to underserved populations, which can be powerful. In this episode, Jo talks about what local agencies can do to take steps towards building health into your core services.   Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E6 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
47:18
February 22, 2019
Let’s Talk Inclusion with Director Melissa Battite
Hey everyone, thanks for tuning in again!  This week I had the opportunity to talk with Melissa Battite (CPRP!), who is the Director at Lexington Recreation and Community Programs in Lexington, Massachusetts.  Melissa and I actually met at the NRPA conference in Las Vegas in 2015. We were paired through a networking/mentorship event, and we had a great conversation! When I started this podcast, I knew I would want to circle back and talk to Melissa and ask where she is today. Melissa didn't know she was pursuing a career in parks and recreation when she spent her summers as a "Playground Supervisor." During her first year of college, Melissa took an “Introduction to Recreation” class that sparked her interest in the parks and recreation.  Learn more about how she began her career and what inclusion means to her. Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E5 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
38:17
May 8, 2018
Professional Development for Parks & Rec Leaders with Anthony Iracki
The words “During working hours, we make a living. During leisure hours, we make a life" ring true for Anthony Iracki, a supervisor for the Village of Brown Deer Parks and Recreation Department. Anthony has worked in the field of parks and recreation since the age of 16, and he is passionate about enhancing the quality of life for everyone in his community.  In this episode, I had the great opportunity to interview Anthony Iracki, MS, CPRP, for an exciting conversation about professional development in the field of parks and recreation. As a young professional, Anthony has some truly incredible insights that are applicable for both current and future leaders. You'll love this one.  Please share it.  "You are a caretaker of the community, but you need to take care of yourself first."  - Anthony Iracki    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E4 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
57:58
May 1, 2018
Preparing for Summer with Jayna Lang
Jayna Lang's first job was as a lifeguard at her local pool; she turned that summer job into a lifelong career through parks and recreation. She worked her way up to the Recreation Program Supervisor role, learning valuable lessons along the way.  In this conversation, we talk about onboarding new employees, training them efficiently, and making sure to establish a values-first organization (this starts in the interview!).  When asked what she looks for when hiring new employees, she says unequivocally, "enthusiasm and a passion for serving the community."  Then, we dive into what it takes to form a successful relationship with partners in local communities.    Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E3 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
33:43
April 11, 2018
Creating and Evaluating Recreation Programs Plus Social Media Tactics w/ Renee Raney
Renee Raney loves her job. She is a Parks Operations Supervisor of Events for Cheaha State Park. Each and everyday, people travel to the park to participate in the unique programs and activities the park offers. Whether its "Hammocking 101", the "Women's Wilderness Weekend," or the countless other outdoor programs, Renee is behind the scenes making sure that the variety and quality of programs is the best it possibly can be. She instills her own love of nature in all of the work she does, which is evident to the 36,000 Facebook followers she helps engage on social media. Sometimes she shares recipes for herbal tea, other times she tells a story of a park guest who had an interesting experience. Most of the followers know her by name and it's easy to know why.   Learn about Renee's journey to the top, and how she maintains a high level of service every day at Cheaha State Park. Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.   Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E2 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap 
42:40
April 4, 2018
Welcome to the Becky Talks Parks Podcast!
Hello everybody and welcome to the Becky Talks Parks Podcast.  It's so exciting to see this project come to life. For too long, I have thought... where is the conversation for parks and recreation professionals? The current mediums for communication leave much to be desired. I want to share authentic conversations with professionals in our field, diving into both the highlights and the struggles of working as a park and rec pro.  Truly, this conversation is for my younger self. The one who sat in college, wondering what she was going to do with her life. Who cared deeply about being outdoors. Who loved working with other people and understanding their point of view.  She just didn't know what she wanted to do as a career. And then, when she found out that parks and recreation was actually a major - and a career that improved the community - she lit up!  She knew it was right for her. This is her outlet to share the awesome field of parks and recreation with the world, by interviewing others who are making a difference in their community and in their field! Remember...If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the show and leave a review.    Find More Info at beckytalksparks.com/podcast/S1E1 Connect w/ me on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap  
04:16
April 4, 2018
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