May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20

ADVOCACY

Demystifying Advocacy
in Parks and Recreation
By Dan McCarthy

A

dvocacy can be a scary word for many folks, especially those in
the nonprofit sector or governmental agencies. Fear of the unknown or of breaking rules often forces people to disengage from
the political process and miss opportunities to engender systematic change. This lack of engagement strips out vital voices and perspectives.
NRPA's Public Policy and Advocacy team raises awareness of the essential role
parks and recreation plays in every community. As the new advocacy manager, I
will help our members better connect with their public officials. We are committed
to leading and organizing innovative advocacy campaigns that advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for
all people. To achieve this ambitious mission, we need your help.

The Biden Administration
and the 117th Congress
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its reverberations made obvious what we've all known for a long
time: parks and recreation services
are an essential feature of every community. Our local parks have become
oases in the age of self-isolation, a
welcome and necessary respite from
Zoom calls and doomscrolling.
As the new Congress and the
Biden administration start to address

the critical issues facing our country,
parks and recreation can be at the
center of our collective recovery. The
first two years of any new administration are often the busiest legislatively, and the Biden administration
hopes to move swiftly on a number
of major priorities: COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus, climate
change and green infrastructure, and
food assistance and equity.
Park and recreation professionals
and supporters have an opportuni-

ty to ensure these major legislative
packages reflect and invest in our
shared priorities.

What Is Advocacy?
Advocacy is the act or process of
supporting a cause or a proposal.
It's something we all do in our daily lives. How many times have you
argued in favor of a particular film
on movie night or for a local restaurant when you're too tired to cook?
If you've ever stuck up for yourself
at home, at work or anywhere else,
then you've advocated for yourself
and have the skills to advocate for
parks and recreation.

Why Advocacy Matters
In our current political environment, it can be hard to see the
connection between the policy
debates that happen in Washington, D.C., and their impacts on
your community. However, as
former Speaker of the U.S. House
of Representatives Tip O'Neill
famously declared: all politics is
local. What may seem like a remote, disconnected policy can
and does have real, tangible impacts on our daily lives.
If you've never engaged in advocacy before, it can be nerveracking to contact your representative or senator. It's easy to forget
they are our elected representatives.
Public officials must be uniquely
attuned to the opinion and desires
of their constituents. After all,
they have to go back to their constituents every two or six years and
ask for their support again. But if

Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or a proposal, and it is
something we all do in our daily lives.
20	 Parks & Recreation

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May 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2021 - Parks & Recreation

May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
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May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com