December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 28

FUTURE LEADERS

Investing in Your Own Professional Development
By Michael J. Bradley, Ph.D., and Jody M. Baker

R

ecently, many folks in parks and recreation have discussed " the new economic reality " and how it affects both the world of work that we live in
and our personal lives. However, during times where finances are under
the microscope and budgets are cinched more than ever before, professionals must
not neglect their own development. In the past, many professionals relied on their
employing agency or organization to help fund professional development. Now, in
" the new economic reality, " some employers are eliminating or limiting the number of dollars allocated to such opportunities. Whether it involves attending conferences, taking academic courses, participating in webinars, reading books or joining
an online community, professional development is meaningful and essential in ensuring you and your agency are doing what it takes to be top notch. However, in
some instances you as the professional must build a case to invest in professional
development, meaning securing time off and financial support of the endeavor.
While there is certainly a wide range
of reasons to justify professional development need, we have started a quick
list to help you begin brainstorming
support for such opportunities.

1

Constituents expect you to
be an expert in your profession.

26	 Parks & Recreation

We must remember that we are professionals, and many external and
internal members of the community
and beyond hold us to that standard.
This means we must stay aware and
connected to the profession's trends,
advancements, laws and challenges.
Keeping up with such aspects of our

| D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

profession enables each of us to understand and appropriately respond
to current and future issues that may
affect the services we provide. This
includes meeting best practices related to these services and viewing recreation as an important part of the
communities we reach.

2

Develop primary and
complimentary skill sets.
In the realm of parks and recreation,
there are many opportunities to expand individual skill sets. If you have
ambitions of managing a recreation
center, one that includes an aquatics facility, then perhaps seeking out
AFO certification could help you become a better candidate when the position becomes available. Another example might be if you want to make a
transition from summer camp direc-



December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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