Unified We Play™

Partnership Best Practices for Play and Recreation

Unified We Play Cover

Unified We Play™

Partnership Best Practices for Play and Recreation

Communities are growing at a rapid pace, and providing recreation opportunities to keep pace with the growth is challenging. By seeking like-minded groups who share a common goal, mission, and values-partnerships can augment existing programming and infrastructure, while providing opportunities to explore and launch new initiatives. Unified We Play is a national initiative, to identify the importance of partnerships in meeting community needs, defining the key points to explore when undertaking a partnership, and promoting best practices strategies to develop and maintain successful partnerships.

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Communities are growing at a rapid pace, and providing recreation opportunities to keep pace with the growth is challenging. By seeking like-minded groups who share a common goal, mission, and values-partnerships can augment existing programming and infrastructure, while providing opportunities to explore and launch new initiatives. Unified We Play is a national initiative, sponsored by PlayCore to identify the importance of partnerships in meeting community needs, defining the key points to explore when undertaking a partnership, and promoting best practices strategies to develop and maintain successful partnerships.

Park and recreation leaders from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, along with urban park leaders from across the U.S. participated in the development of this report to obtain trends from thought leaders in the industry pertaining to partnerships. Knowledge, opinions, expertise and case studies were gathered in three primary ways as well as through secondary research and follow up communications.

  1. A national online survey completed by American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration member parks and recreation leaders, as well as urban parks leaders, contributed to the identification of partnership statistics and commonalities, and provided insight to common themes.
  2. A group of thought leaders from the field of parks and recreation were recruited to a 2 day Roundtable in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to provide insight on their partnership experience, explore survey data, and validate emerging themes, and share aspects and implications of the best practice, which became part of the final recommendations of this report.
  3. In depth interviews were conducted with 11 targeted cities to provide case studies for the National Report, designed to support and provide best practices across the emerging themes.

Explore partnership trends and demographics from the results of a  National Partnership Survey, and discover the perspective on partnership issues, considerations, and best practices from partner-focused parks and recreation leaders across America. Case examples from the Roundtable Advisory Council will leave you inspired to get to WE!

Our Advisory Network:

  • Anne Basten, Executive Assistant, McHenry County IL Conservation District
  • Arnie Biondo, Executive Director, Carol Stream IL Park District
  • Becky Benne, CPRP, Executive Director, Five Rivers MetroParks, Dayton OH
  • Dirk Richwine, CPRE, Recreation Superintendent, City of Henderson NV Parks & Recreation
  • Elizabeth Kessler, CPRP, Executive Director, McHenry County IL Conservation District
  • Lori Daniel, CPRP, Manager of Recreation Services, City of Aurora CO Parks, Recreation & Open Space
  • Michelle Park, CPRP, Assistant Director, City of Gainesville FL Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs
  • Paul Schoenfelder, Youth Services Coordinator, City of Boise ID Parks & Recreation
  • Stephen Harsin, AICP, Director, City of Las Vegas  NV Parks Recreation & Neighborhood Services
  • Todd Lofgren, Property & Business Development Manager, Portland OR Parks & Recreation

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