Preparing the Next Generation of Diverse Leaders in Parks and Recreation — Episode 145

By Cort Jones | Posted on October 24, 2023

Episode 145 410

Pictured: Chris Bass, CPRP, and Thamara Velasco, CYSA, at the 2023 NRPA Annual Conference in Dallas.

Earlier this month I joined nearly 9,000 other people who are passionate about parks and recreation in Dallas at the 2023 NRPA Annual Conference. It was a week full of inspiration, networking, fun — and for me, a chance to celebrate not only all the good work happening in local parks and recreation, but also see the culmination of my NRPA colleagues’ hard work in putting on what was a truly incredible event.

One of my biggest highlights of the week was connecting with Chris Bass, CPRP, Director of Parks and Recreation for Douglasville, Georgia, and the incoming Board President of the National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society (NRPEMS), and Thamara Velasco, CYSA, a recreation assistant in Douglasville, chair for public relations for NRPEMS and recipient of NRPA’s Young Professional Fellowship.

I really enjoyed our conversation about all the good work going on in Douglasville — who was a National Gold Medal Award Finalist this year — as well as the important work Chris and Thamara are doing to connect and support diverse and underrepresented park and recreation professionals as part of the NRPEMS.

This was truly one of my favorite parts of this year’s conference, and it was such a joy to sit down with Chris and Thamara to learn more about them and soak in some of the passion they have for parks and recreation – I was inspired after this conversation, and I hope you are too.

Tune in to our full conversation below. You’ll learn:

  • How NRPEMS is building community for park and recreation professionals of diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Why it’s important to have a network focused on diverse professionals in our industry
  • How NRPEMS has been beneficial for Chris and Thamara in their careers
  • What being part of NRPEMS and being park and recreation professionals serving their community means to Chris and Thamara
  • How to get involved with the NRPEMS, and much more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.