Let's Talk Parks Podcast: Stories of Purpose-Driven Parks and Recreation Professionals

Let's Talk Parks

Sharing the stories of purpose-driven Parks and Recreation professionals. We believe every professional has the potential to make a difference in their organization and in their communities. These are the stories of the future leaders who are navigating their career and finding their purpose through Parks and Recreation. (Previously: Becky Talks Parks)

All Episodes

Did your agency pivot to virtual programs during the height of the pandemic?  Are you still using those programs today?  On this episode, Nate Bibat, Senior Naturalist at the Dunes Nature Center, comes on the Let's Talk Parks show to share how his organization was able to quickly pivot to online environmental education programs.  He shares the various tools and methods they used for the hundreds of students in their programs - including making videos on YouTube, launching a podcast, creating virtual tours on Google Earth, and so much more!  He also talks about how him and his team made those online programs more accessible for those with hearing or visual impairments.  Tune in to learn how these programs continue to evolve into hybrid learning experiences, where online pre-visits serve as a helpful way to introduce students and teachers to the content before they travel on-site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evzYMOQ-0jo Thank you to our sponsor, Landscape Structures for sponsoring this episode.  Learn more, find a playground consultant, and earn CEUs by visiting playlsi.com.  Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Nate on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathanielbibat/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Nov 18

53 min 31 sec

In this episode, Dustin Graham and I talk about the risks and rewards of intentional playground design. We talk about how we can make our playgrounds more inviting, and share some examples of different parks across the country that have used their cultural heritage as part of their community space design.  While the audio version will give you a taste of this topic, you’ll want to head over to the video to SEE these parks and truly experience them for yourself!  https://youtu.be/-Z8spRYJtGQ Thank you to our sponsor, Landscape Structures for sponsoring this episode.  Learn more, find a playground consultant, and earn CEUs by visiting playlsi.com.  Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Dustin on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/dustin-wants-to-build-your-playground/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Nov 11

52 min 7 sec

This is a quick preview to a new upcoming series on the podcast about how to make our parks and playgrounds more inclusive and innovative. I can't wait to share these new interviews with you soon! Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Nov 4

4 min 25 sec

In this episode, Marissa and Becky talk about how imposter syndrome has impacted them throughout their careers.  If you think that you've suffered from this, be sure to tune in for how this might affect your work within the parks and recreation field. This episode was inspired by Jai Cole from Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission who had a recent session at NRPA about this topic. Here is the link to the recent article about imposter syndrome from HBR magazine and some strategies for reducing this phenomenon in the workplace - and finally, the link to the Brene Brown podcast which dives deeper into this topic with the authors from the article. Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Oct 28

35 min 47 sec

The answer is yes! Marissa went through middle school, high school, and college assuming that she would never need to get in front of a crowd to present information. She was totally wrong and gets on the mic during this episode to explain the times you may be faced with public speaking and what you can do to overcome that hurdle.  Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LinkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Oct 21

13 min 57 sec

The field of parks and recreation is very seasonal. But so are you!  In this episode, Becky talks about how to embrace the season of your career wherever you are.  Whether you've been feeling burnt out or in need of a change, hopefully you find a bit of peace in knowing that it's all a part of your rich and unique career experience. :) Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Oct 14

17 min 8 sec

So many agencies rely on the mailed recreation guides to get out seasonal information to their residents.  But as budgets change, you may want to consider alternatives that can save you money and time.  Be sure to tune in to hear five creative alternatives and ideas to the mailed recreation guide.   Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Oct 7

15 min 12 sec

PODCAST REPLAY - Throwback!  In this episode, Marissa sits down to talk with Dr. Jeremy Robinette from Western Illinois University about educating our communities about Parks and Recreation. I think so many of us ended up falling into this field. We didn't know that this was a profession until we were in college, or maybe we were already graduated from college and had a degree in something else.  This episode is how we educate our communities about what we do and how to encourage more people to get their degree in parks and recreation. We need to tell our story, share the impact we make, and talk about why it's important. Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Sep 30

56 min 23 sec

Feeling inspired from conference?  It's this time of year when Fall is just around the corner - and the NRPA conference arrives - that we typically feel a rush of new energy and inspiration. But what happens when you get *all the ideas* and you're not sure how to actually move them forward?  In this episode, Becky talks about the four steps that she takes to turn inspiration into action.  From reflecting on your conference experience, to organizing those ideas, to taking inventory of everything that's involved, and finally to sharing those ideas with your team - this episode covers all that and more! Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Sep 23

17 min 28 sec

With the help of over 20 women in parks and recreation, we’ve compiled an awesome list of tips and advice for those who may be attending conference for the 1st (or 100th) time.  In this episode, Marissa and Becky go over these tips, focusing on three primary areas – networking, planning ahead, and taking action. While this year will look different, especially if you're attending virtually, it will certainly be memorable. Try to make the most of it! Thank you so much to the Women in Parks & Recreation Facebook Group for contributing to this list. Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Sep 16

33 min 24 sec

Maintaining our parks and facilities is at the core of providing quality experiences for our community members.  In many of our parks and recreation agencies, we need to "take care of what we have" before building new amenities.  But oftentimes, the most important details fall through the cracks. The system for communicating, tracking, and analyzing the productivity of our maintenance in our parks just isn't up to par.  The solutions are either too big, too expensive, or don't fit the needs for our agencies.  And then along came Productive Parks, a maintenance management software specifically designed for Parks and Recreation Agencies.  If you've ever wondered about the future of maintenance in our field, take a listen and learn how Productive Parks can change the game for you.   A big thank you to Productive Parks for sponsoring this episode!  The support of our sponsors help to continue to bring value to parks and recreation professionals like you. To Learn More --> www.productiveparks.com

Sep 9

39 min 24 sec

Marissa sits down with Kate Darcangelis from What the Rec to discuss all things active adults, or as many refer to them as: seniors. Marissa and Kate are both passionate about working with this age group and hope to encourage young and seasoned professionals to give this age group a try.  There are so many benefits to working with this age group, so take a listen! Learn more about Kate from What the Rec -->> https://whattherecofficial.com/  Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Sep 2

38 min

This week on the podcast, Becky jumps on the mic to talk about how to best utilize your strengths and interests to do more of what you love in your job. While many of our roles in Parks and Recreation allows you to be a "Jack of all Trades" - there can be benefit and opportunities to specialize.  If you've been thinking of narrowing your focus in your career, take a listen and reflect on where this new perspective might be able to take you!  Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/  Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/  Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/  Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Aug 26

24 min 22 sec

In collaboration with Cort Jones from Open Space Radio and Paul Gilbert from Strategic Leadership, this episode is about podcasts in the field of Parks & Recreation.  We talk about why we are so passionate about podcasting, the different types of resources in the field, and how this information sharing is truly raising the bar.   Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect with Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/ Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Aug 19

46 min 52 sec

In this episode, Marissa and Becky share a preview of what's to come for the rest of 2021 - and how we see the field of Parks and Recreation adapting and raising the bar.   Join our weekly newsletter -->> https://letstalkparks.com/ Follow us on Instagram -->> https://www.instagram.com/lets_talk_parks/ Connect on Becky on LinkedIn --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-dunlap/  Connect with Marissa on LInkedIn--> https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissa-moravec-cprp/

Aug 12

22 min 57 sec

We're wrapping up season 3 with an episode about FUN. In this episode, Marissa and Becky discuss ten different ways to have more fun at work. Join our newsletter and follow us on Instagram for more content like this! Be back in August!

Jul 15

26 min 13 sec

Marissa sat down with Corrine Daut, Recreation Coordinator at Raymore Parks and Recreation to discuss the challenges and advantages of hiring entry level staff...and sometimes their parents too.    This episode came about when Marissa was reading through a thread on the Women in Parks and Recreation Facebook page. The discussion was about interviewing and hiring seasonal staff after their parents had involved themselves in the application process. Even as younger professionals ourselves, we can sometimes have biases against other generations and what comes with them when they apply as our support staff. Not all interactions with parents of our staff has to be negative. It can be to the benefit of the staff member as well as the district for parents to get involved in the hiring process. 

Jul 8

20 min 37 sec

It's in our DNA to want more influence. Especially as Parks & Recreation professionals, we want our voice to be heard.  We want our share our ideas, relay insights from our patrons, and be respected as a leader in our agencies.   Too often, we wait for a promotion or status to decide that we have *enough* power to influence.  But as Chris Dropinski points out in this week's episode, real power is something that is earned, not given. "Effective influencing is a skill and a very valuable one; power is not a skill, it is a result."   This means that TODAY we each have an opportunity to influence others.  In fact, we influence all the time.  Everything we do can cause a chain reaction - just imagine the impact you've already made. Knowing that you already have influence, the key now is to use it for good.  This week's episode is an in-depth conversation around how to influence without alienating others. Enjoy!   Meet Chris Dropinski: Her current role as co-owner and Senior Principal at GreenPlay, spanning 20 years, builds on a strong foundation of 24 years of Parks and Recreation administration with nearly half of that as Director of the City of Boulder, Colorado, Parks and Recreation Department.  Armed with a teaching degree in addition to her P&R Administration degree, Chris has passionately helped move our profession forward, taking advantage of opportunities to serve in leadership and faculty positions ranging from non-profits and foundations, to the NRPA Rocky Mountain Revenue and Management School, and the National Association of Park Foundations. As a Certified Parks and Recreation Executive, a fellow of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and experienced consultant she continues to help organizations remain relevant in our ever-changing environment.  Living in Colorado with her husband Mike is extraordinary, and motherhood has been the joy of her life.

Jul 1

51 min 19 sec

When you work in local government, you are bound to run into complaints and less-than-positive feedback. That's just part of the territory as a Parks and Recreation professional. But if you're someone who truly cares, It can be hard not to personalize their comments. In this episode, I go over 6 tips around how to overcome public complaints so that you can use them as motivation and learning experiences.

Jun 24

39 min 13 sec

In this episode, Marissa and Becky discuss how we have found success in moving ideas forward in the field of Parks and Rec.  We talk about the barriers of red tape, the surprising pros and cons of it, and how to move past it.  We hope this episode is useful if you've been wanting to make progress on an idea or program, but haven't made traction.  Sometimes just changing your mindset can give you new energy and perspectives to keep going. 

Jun 17

30 min 19 sec

It seems I've been getting more questions about being a consultant in the field, so in this episode I talk about why you might consider moving into a consultant role.  As a project consultant for GreenPlay LLC for the last five years, I feel very fortunate to work for a company that provides a great and supportive workplace culture. Although every role is different, I wanted to share my own personal experience so you can see if it might be a good fit for you. 

Jun 10

22 min 20 sec

Today I want to talk about something that I think is really important, but I couldn't really find anyone talking about this at all. Its the idea that sometimes it's ok to be disengaged at work. As a supervisor, you never want your employees to disengage. But if you are a high achiever, intentionally disengaging can be a good thing. It can prevent you from burning out. It can prevent you from making irrational decisions.It can prevent you from resenting your job.  Engagement has to do with how motivated you are at work. Apparently only 13% of employees are engaged.  When you are engaged, you are excited to come to work. You are full of ideas, of energy, of enthusiasm. You are moving your organization forward. You are making valuable contributions. You are aware of the big picture, and you are motivated every day to help get your organization to a better place.   That means 87% of employees are disengaged. Many of our listeners are highly engaged employees. After all, they are listening to a podcast about the field. So knowing that you are usually really engaged, I want to recognize that we all have seasons of motivation, right? Some of us experience waves of energy and enthusiasm for our work on a weekly, monthly, or annual cycle. If you take time to notice your patterns, your moods, or your work output, you will find that it goes in cycles. You can't be ON all of the time. You are not a machine.  So knowing this, you can know that trying to be engaged ALL of the time is actually a recipe for burnout.

Jun 4

19 min 48 sec

In this episode, Marissa and Becky talk about fresh ideas for recruiting seasonal employees.  Check out all of the ideas that we talked about on our blog: https://letstalkparks.com/fresh-ideas-to-recruit-seasonal-employees/

May 27

44 min 44 sec

How many times over the last year have you gotten an urgent phone call or email that needed your attention right away?  Probably way more than you ever imagined.  We hope that as work relaxes into summer (or at least as things get a little more predictable), you have the chance to move out of the urgency that has been 2020.  Instead, in this episode, we talk about what it would look like to focus on what’s important rather than urgent. Although *urgent* and *important* sound very similar, they reflect the difference between being reactive and being proactive.  Living in a constant state of reactivity causes more stress and can prevent you from reaching your important career and organizational goals.  Instead, by being proactive, you get to be more in control of your days. We hope that this episode is a reset for those of you (AND US) that have been in a reactive mode the last year or so. Personally, I’m looking forward to returning to a state of clarity, where I can prioritize planning, professional development, goal setting, and making time for my family. - Becky Join us for our weekly newsletter every Thursday: www.letstalkparks.com

May 20

36 min 9 sec

In this episode, Katie Garrett and Becky sit down to talk about the important of mindfulness in Parks & Recreation. If you've been struggling with burnout, overwhelm, or exhaustion then this episode is for you!  So often, professionals that are deemed "essential" become overworked when budgets, timelines, or resources get tight.  Parks and Recreation Professionals have been asked to step up in new ways - many of them more demanding than ever.  How do you keep your cool and stay calm when everything constantly seems urgent?  How do you practice mindfulness on a daily basis when everything around you seems demanding and too difficult to manage?  In this episode, I sit down with Katie Garrett, CPRP, from McHenry County Conservation District to talk about how we can practice mindfulness in our day-to-day work.  We could all use this reminder, so I hope you'll take a few minutes to listen to this episode when you get a chance! If you’re new here, welcome, and if you’re a long-time listener, welcome back!  Let’s talk Parks is a podcast where we share the stories of purpose-driven parks and recreation professionals who are committed to challenging organizational norms and raising the bar in the field.  We are an evolving resource to not only educate but also inspire up and coming Park and Recreation professionals to raise the bar in their agencies so that they can make a positive difference in their communities.  We also have a pretty cool newsletter that gets sent out every Thursday morning with this week’s podcast and a few other awesome stories- and you can sign up for that at letstalkparks.com if you haven’t already!

May 13

47 min 39 sec

Women in Leisure Services (WILS) was started in 1935 as Chi Kappa Rho, a sorority for women in the field of parks and recreation by Helen I. Pontius.  She believed that women engaged professionally in the various fields of recreation could come together to promote unity of purpose, high standards of achievement, and a better understanding and appreciation of related endeavors for the attainment of professional goals. Such a group could also provide an opportunity to foster friendship and sociability, stimulate mutual helpfulness and loyalty, and provide professional services. In this episode; Marissa sits down with three distinguished WILS members: Sonya Young-Jimenez from The City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation, Ashley Wysocki from the City of Huntington Beach, and Dorothy Meyer who is a lifetime WILS member.  This episode is a  reminder of how far women have come in the field of recreation over the last 86 years. These powerful female leaders give us the history of the organization and why it was so important for bringing up women in the field of parks and recreation. This organization has been developing a blueprint for the next 15 years, to continue pushing women in the field or parks and recreation forward. 

May 6

39 min 47 sec

This week I am bringing back one of my FAVORITE episodes ever on the podcast.  This is an episode that EVERY professional in the field should listen to, especially before summer.  Whether you are a supervisor or an emerging professional, all I can say is that you will benefit from the wisdom that Angela Summers shares on this one. During this episode we talk about: How do you set high expectations for your staff while treating them as humans first? What do you say to young professionals who are trying to work their way up the career ladder and running against challenges? What do you say to managers who say the customer is always right? You guys, I ACTUALLY got chills when I re-listened to this story. Read Angela's article for more: Customer Complaints Aren't Always What They Seem. - Becky PS - Have you checked out our weekly newsletter?  Don't miss an episode! https://www.letstalkparks.com

Apr 29

50 min 30 sec

What happens when you don't get the promotion you've been planning and hoping for? With anything that happens that doesn't go as planned, you may find it difficult to see the lessons learned. Sometimes in retrospect you may realize that you've been striving for the new role, new title, new responsibilities... but what you are ACTUALLY missing is enjoying where you are RIGHT now. RIGHT here. Today you have the power to choose to use your current situation, title, and role to help others and yourself in a positive way. You don't have to be at the top to lead, and you also don't have to be the leader *all* of the time to have a rewarding, meaningful career. It's a beautiful balance to learn when to push forward towards your goals and when to lean into having more fun and enjoyment in your day to day. Thanks for listening and enjoy this episode from Marissa Moravec as she talks about recent lessons learned in this week's episode.

Apr 22

6 min

True story, this podcast episode was created for my younger self.  I was constantly told as a young professional that I needed to be more assertive - but without any clear direction.  It was a struggle to find the balance as a new supervisor to be both assertive, kind, and tactful.  To be honest, I'm definitely still learning the art of assertiveness. Sometimes, I'm sure I come across as "too much" or "too aggressive" or "too passionate" while other times I'm "too quiet" or my facial expressions say it all 😉. I know that as I've gotten older and stepped into "more of me" I have stopped taking certain feedback to heart - but  truthfully I think the thing that helps the most has been when you have strong, assertive women as bosses who give you that permission to step up yourself (lucky me!) So this week's episode is for my young professional friends who are trying to be assertive while also learning their own leadership style in the process.  It's also a kind reminder to our friends in  leadership positions to be mindful of your feedback and how it may come across.   Learn more on letstalkparks.com and join our newsletter!

Apr 15

13 min 40 sec

There are many misconceptions about therapeutic recreation and the individuals that these recreation professionals serve. Chelsea Crockford, CTRS from Connect Through Leisure sits down with Marissa to discuss barriers that individuals with disabilities face in public as well as when the seek to participate in recreation activities. We hope that our listeners walk away with a different view of barriers and how to better advocate for individuals with disabilities to break down those barriers.  To join our newsletter, subscribe at letstalkparks.com To connect with Chelsea, check out these resources: https://www.facebook.com/connectthroughleisure/ @connectthroughleisure (IG)

Apr 8

41 min 27 sec

Raise your hand if you've ever completed a facility or park inspection, noticed a safety hazard, or budgeted for improvements in your facility. If you're in the field of parks and recreation; likely you've been involved in the maintenance of your parks or facilities in one way or another. Marissa sits down with Jeff Reinhard, retired Director of Parks and Planning from the Gurnee Park District to talk about the importance of maintaining our spaces. Learn about how far our maintenance departments have come over the last 40 years and the technology they use to maintain our spaces. Get to know about what our parks crews work on during different seasons. Explore how you can become more involved in parks and planning at your agency, despite your current role. To join our newsletter, subscribe at letstalkparks.com

Apr 1

45 min 8 sec

In this episode, Becky jumps on the mic to talk about how we can learn to go to use an experimenter's mindset to take us through our career journey.  We have to be willing to take risks and come out the other side better - not focusing so much on RESULTS, but rather RELATIONSHIPS we can build along the way.  By having fun and thinking about each new idea/program/event as an experiment, we can better ourselves, our coworkers, and our communities without taking everything so personally.  To join our newsletter, join us at letstalkparks.com.

Mar 25

19 min 17 sec

We've been getting a lot of questions about finding work right now.  The job landscape looks so different, and the typical ways of volunteering and shadowing may not be available like they used to be.  While many of the tried-and-true advice around cover letters and interviews still stand, we feel that it's even more competitive than it's ever been... meaning it's time to step up your game, show up, and follow up!  Be sure to tune into this week's podcast episode to hear more on this topic, and sign up for our newsletter at https://letstalkparks.com. 

Mar 19

44 min 36 sec

In this episode, Dr. Tiffany Johnson, Deputy Director for the Prince William County Department, sits down with Anthony Iracki to talk to us about the leadership qualities that are important in today’s organizations, and what we need to be aware of in the future with the rise of technology and innovation. She talks to us about her advice for her past self - and what she would tell other professionals who are in a role that they would like to advance from.  Join our weekly newsletter here: www.letstalkparks.com

Mar 11

37 min

Jason Ellisalde is BACK to talk about workplace culture with Marissa Moravec. In this episode, Jason explains the key difference between compliance and commitment based organizations. He also dives in how you can make your workplace a fulfilling place to live and work no matter your title. Join our weekly newsletter for more content like this. 

Mar 4

58 min 27 sec

You're the type of Parks and Recreation Professional who truly cares.  You're always going above and beyond, signing up for extra committees, volunteering to take an idea to the finish line. But what happens when too much gets put on your plate, and you end up underperforming?  What happens when you lose motivation to do the very thing you feel like you were born to do?  In this week's episode, Becky jumps on the mic to talk through this very subject with you. Sign up for our weekly newsletter at www.letstalkparks.com. 

Feb 25

18 min 58 sec

Mary Liz Jayne is the Aquatic and Fitness Manager at the Lisle Park District.  Like so many others in our field, she has always gone the extra mile to help her residents and staff. But when talk of furloughs started to become a reality last year, Mary Liz thought she needed to double down and prove herself as a hard worker and effective leader. Almost to the brink of exhaustion, she realized that putting boundaries in place and balancing her life with other hobbies was key to maintaining her wellbeing and sense of self.  Hear her story on this week's podcast. Sign up for our weekly newsletter at www.letstalkparks.com. 

Feb 18

35 min 9 sec

During this kickoff episode, Marissa, Anthony, and Becky talk about three industry trends that we believe we will see across our field this year - and think about how our field will be able to lean in and embrace innovation.  Join us for our weekly newsletter at https://www.letstalkparks.com

Feb 11

27 min 19 sec

Whew, we made it!   In this episode, Anthony and Becky sit down to reflect back on 2020 and think about the future of this next year.  As his last year of being a young professional, Anthony talks through some of his highlights as he moves on to the next stage in his career.  Becky talks about the transition between her passion project and making it into something bigger with Let's Talk Parks.   Enjoy this reflection of 2020! Wishing you all the best in 2021!

Jan 1

45 min 15 sec

Marissa and Becky sit down to discuss how we survived this year as working moms.   We discuss what it was like to navigate a new normal of virtual learning, working from home, and transitioning back into the office.   If you're a woman working in parks and recreation, how have you had to adapt?   How did your views on goal setting, work/life balance, and mental health change this past year? That's exactly what we discuss, plus more, on this episode of Let's Talk Parks.

Jan 1

40 min 50 sec

For many young professionals there exist an idea of a “perfect” job that often goes along with the “perfect” life. But, as many of us have found sometimes the idea of perfect is far from the reality that exists. We sat down with Brittanie Propes to discuss her journey towards finding balance in her personal and professional life and how it led her to the place she is today. Tune in to learn. · How she obtained her “dream job” only to realize the dream wasn’t the reality and the next steps she took. · How she balances being a working single mother and makes time for her career and family. · How she took some innovative approaches to community wellness during the pandemic. Brittanie Propes is a Motivational Leader, Brand Champion, and Business Driver who draws upon versatility, a competitive spirit, and a solid work ethic to strengthen operational efficiency, customer engagement, and financial results in alignment with brand strategy. Brittanie is currently the Recreation and Marketing Manager for the City of Smithville. If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for more information on the topic or would like to learn how you can become a contributor or guest visit us at www.letstalkparks.com. In addition please be sure to follow us on Instagram @Lets_talk_parks for more great content from purpose-driven Parks and Recreation Professionals like yourself.

Dec 2020

30 min 26 sec

What can parks and recreation professionals do during their first year to set their career up for success?  That’s what this episode is all about with Jody Siemer and Marissa Moravec.  Listen in to hear about the tactical steps that young professionals can take to launch their career in a positive direction. Jody Siemer is an outstanding Parks & Recreation professional currently serving the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri as Manager of Recreation.  Jody is passionate about providing guidance and mentorship to the next generation of parks and recreation professional.  She co-founded the Young Professional Section of the Missouri Park & Recreation Association (MPRA).  Thru extensive research, she has compiled this guidance for "Year 1 as a Professional" and presented her findings both at the MPRA state-wide Conference as well as to the Young Professional Section. If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for more information on the topic or would like to learn how you can become a contributor or guest visit us at www.letstalkparks.com. In addition please be sure to follow us on Instagram @Lets_talk_parks for more great content from purpose-driven Parks and Recreation Professionals like yourself.

Nov 2020

44 min 24 sec

All agencies, public, private, and nonprofit have been negatively effected by the Coronavirus. There is not one agency or person who will not feel the effects. There is NO waiting to go back to the way it was.  Tom O'Rourke is an experienced Park and Recreation Professional with over 40 years experience managing the people who manage great Parks and Rec agencies. Current Professor of Practice at Clemson University specializing in helping graduate students, (and some undergraduate,) understand the Innovative, Creative, and Entrepreneurial skills necessary to sustain the Park and Recreation profession into the future. Connect with him online --> https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-o-rourke-8255bb6/

Nov 2020

18 min 51 sec

In this episode, Atuya and Anthony sit down to talk about how as park and recreation professionals, we have impact the lives in the communities we serve on a daily basis and create lifelong memories.  It is often said that we work so that others can play!  With that said, it is extremely important that park and recreation professionals prioritize their professional development and utilize various tools that helps to keep one connect to their why. Mr. Atuya O. Cornwell is a certified park and recreation professional with over 15 years of experience. Atuya is an active member of NRPA and is passionate about connecting young professionals with professional development tools and opportunities. He is also the 2015 recipient of NRPA’s Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award.   Atuya has served on NRPA’s Program Committee, Young Professional Network Leadership Team and the Public Policy Committee.  Atuya has presented at the NRPA Annual Conference the last three years, where his ‘What’s Your Awesome Sauce?!?’ session received great reviews.Atuya is the proud son of a former Paralympic athlete and credits his father as the reason for his passion for sports and recreation. 

Nov 2020

34 min 56 sec

Hello everyone!  This week is election week, and today specifically is November 3, election day. I want to come onto the podcast and remind you all to protect your mental health this week.  We just don’t know what the future holds, so let’s focus on what you can control - which is your perspective, your actions, your mental health.

Nov 2020

7 min 48 sec

Have you ever had someone that truly believed in you?  Who truly saw your potential and walked alongside you to watch you succeed?  Who pushed you to the next level in your career?   That is the definition of a great mentor, and That's what a mentorship can do for you. COVID-19 is going to deeply impact students and young professionals futures. Having the support you need is critically important right now. Having a mentor can be a career (or even life changing) opportunity. But knowing how to find a mentor, or how to structure a mentorship, how to nurture that relationship can be a daunting task. You want it to be meaningful to both parties which requires some thought and intention.    As a young professional, sometimes it can be scary to reach out and talk with others that you look up to.  You know you could learn so much from them, but you really don't where to begin. One thing that I think is important is to always be curious. Always assume you don't know it all. I try to have that attitude when I'm interviewing others for this podcast. For example,  I've heard a lot of mentorships, but when you get to talk with up and coming leaders, be a listener.   I'm never afraid to ask the dumb question. I'm never afraid. Because I bet someone out there has the same question. And I actually think that type of attitude you need to have to have a successful mentorship.   Or relationship for that matter.  The more I learn about mentorships, or even working relationships in general, is how important it is to come with an open mind, come willing to learn, but also to realize you can learn from both sides. A mentee can learn from their mentor, and a mentor can learn from their mentee. An employee can learn from their supervisor, and a supervisor can learn from their employees.  When you value each other regardless of your "level" or your "superiority" you are choosing to honor each other as people with valid experiences, expertise, and knowledge.  As a relationship grows, you begin to trust in one another. When you find a supervisor or mentor who trusts your opinion and counts on you as guidance, I believe that's when you have a really rich relationship that can be really meaningful. In this episode, you will learn: 1. how to find a mentor 2. 2. what to ask mentors/how to form a relationship 3. 3. the power of asking for help Let me introduce you to a future game changer in the parks and recreation field: Meredith Lawrence, CPRP (https://www.linkedin.com/in/meredith-lawrence-cprp-30b9a6a9/)  is the Recreation Program Coordinator at the City of Mendota Heights, Minnesota.  As chair of the MRPA Programming Section and chair-elect of the MRPA Young Professional Student Network, she is piloting a mentorship program in Minnesota. She is an active  member of the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendent Association, all while pursuing a Masters of Public Administration at Hamline University. She was awarded the 2019 Service for Merit Award for the Young Professional and Student Network of the MRPA, and was the recipient of the 2017 United States Tennis Association Northern Section Junior Development Award.

Oct 2020

41 min 39 sec

A cemetery is more than just a place for interments, it’s a place for history and place for ecology and a place for human wellbeing. In this episode, Marissa talks with Karl Nesbitt about how cemeteries over time are changing environments and memorialization can also be a place for recreation.  The design of cemetery space is starting reflect the community of users, the people who live locally and how they may use or recreate within that space, this includes volunteer groups who run tours, walking tracks, native ecological friends of groups. Karl Nesbitt (Connect on LinkedIn) is a Parks and Open Spaces Programme Manager, for Recreation Aotearoa and New Zealand Cemeteries and Crematoria Collective. He manages the implementation of the Green Flag Award across New Zealand and train Green Flag Award Judges in NZ and Australia. World Urban Parks, Alliance committee Executive Officer and World Urban Parks Cemeteries Committee Interm Executive officer. If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for more information on the topic or would like to learn how you can become a contributor or guest visit us at www.letstalkparks.com. In addition please be sure to follow us on Instagram @Lets_talk_parks for more great content from purpose-driven Parks and Recreation Professionals like yourself.

Oct 2020

35 min 11 sec

Brian VanDongen (Connect on LinkedIn) is nationally certified park and recreation professional who has designed and implemented transformational recreation programming for thousands of participants. He works to provide necessary and needed recreational programming for the health and well being of residents. He promotes the value of play throughout life by incorporating play in programming and shares knowledge and ideas to recreation professionals, educators, parents, and students. Brian is the author of Play to Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play. He is also a Member At-Large of the NJRPA Community Recreation Section and a Play Ambassador for the US Play Coalition. Check out his website on BVD Plays (https://www.bvdplays.com/). 

Oct 2020

19 min 14 sec

Typically, we talk to local park and recreation leaders, but every now and then, we expand our perspective a bit and talk to others on a national scale. This particular conversation is important, for a couple of reasons: 1) We are committed to having difficult conversations that will help make a more equitable and diverse future for our field. That happens by continuing to talk to others that have more experience than us in a number of different topics. To be honest, we are okay with doing the best we can if we aren't doing it perfect, and learning from, and getting it right in the future.  2) We also want to share the cool projects that other people are doing, because we want to uplift one another and help the field as much as possible. Hello Ranger is a podcast and blog that really focuses on telling stories within our national parks. We thought it would be neat to hear how local and national parks can really come together to break down some of the barriers to access. Hello Ranger (https://hellorangercommunity.com/) is a national parks community social application, podcast, and blog, with “community” being the key word. Our goal is to showcase and support the communities that are connected through national parks, from families and van-lifers to retirees, artists, educators, diverse groups, and those with disabilities. National parks are the rare places where we can all find common ground, and become #UnitedByNature. If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for more information on the topic or would like to learn how you can become a contributor or guest visit us at www.letstalkparks.com. In addition please be sure to follow us on Instagram @Lets_talk_parks for more great content from purpose-driven Parks and Recreation Professionals like yourself.

Oct 2020

39 min 42 sec

We are all still navigating these conversations about race and equity, so today's episode is about how to create safe spaces that nurture conversation for growth and understanding. Marissa Moravec chats with Tracey Crawford to talk openly about how to create safe and brave spaces.    Many people might say that these conversations are too difficult or uncomfortable, and may not belong in the workplace.  But these are important conversations to have!  We hope you enjoy this episode!  Tracey Crawford (connect on LInkedIn) was appointed as the Executive Director at Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) and the President of Special Leisure Services Foundation (SLSF) in late 2011. NWSRA was formed in 1973 to provide a full spectrum of recreation services to individuals with disabilities. NWSRA is a partnership of 17 park districts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago committed to supporting community access to recreation for people with disabilities. SLSF is a 501© (3) non-profit foundation and is the fundraising arm of NWSRA. Crawford’s 29 years of professional experience in parks and recreation includes 9 years as the Inclusion Coordinator/Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Assistant Director at Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) in Aurora, IL; two and a half years as the Manager of Inclusion Services, nine years as the Superintendent of Recreation, one and a half years as the Superintendent of Development and Interim Director at Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) and currently the Executive Director of Northwest Special recreation Association. If you enjoyed this episode and are looking for more information on the topic or would like to learn how you can become a contributor or guest visit us at www.letstalkparks.com. In addition please be sure to follow us on Instagram @Lets_talk_parks for more great content from purpose-driven Parks and Recreation Professionals like yourself.

Oct 2020

42 min 24 sec