November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 53

N R PA I n A c t i o n

Free Consulting from Leaders in the Field:
AAPRA Consulting Services

I

magine the impact to parks across the country if 125 luminaries in the fields of parks, conservation, and recreation formed an advisory group for the express purpose of offering pro bono
consulting to park agencies. The results might be transformational: smarter use of resources, wiser
planning, more effective fundraising strategies, and better crisis management. And all of those benefits
would come from people who not only know parks, but who have a passion for seeing park programs
succeed and flourish.
Actually, such a program does
exist. The fellows of the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA),
a limited 125-member board
of retired park, recreation, and
conservation leaders and educators, share-at no charge-their
knowledge and experiences with
related agencies and organizations. They do it with the goal of
raising the bar in the evolution of
future services and programs.
The AAPRA is a nonprofit educational organization formed in 1980, with the
purpose of advancing knowledge, encouraging scholarly efforts in the field,
broadening public awareness, conducting relevant research, and providing
services that advance the profession.
Because the A APR A offers such a
wide array of consulting and professional education services, park agencies often have questions about what the
program entails and how to enlist the
assistance of the academy. In an attempt
to demystify the process, Parks & Recreation posed a set of frequently asked
questions to the AAPRA.

Who are the individuals offering the
consulting services, and how are they
matched to specialty areas?
When new fellows are installed to the
academy, they are surveyed as to where
they'd be willing to offer their knowledge and experience to help others toward professional enhancement. Every

	

What are the scope and
limitations of AAPRA's
consulting services?

four years, existing members are surveyed for service status updates as well.
The very comprehensive survey instrument is designed to span a broad range
of specified fields and subfields. Generally, whether a problem is large or small,
the academy has experts to address it.

What topics/areas do the AAPRA's
advisory services cover?
Because its members have spent their
careers serving in virtually every area
of the field, their collective expertise is
vast. Some of the more requested specialty areas include parks and resource
use, administration, conservation, planning, funding, political strategies, and
crisis management. And, because the
program includes not only career parks
professionals but college professors,
AAPRA's consultants offer both practical
experience and research-based knowledge. A visit to the AAPRA website can
offer a good idea of the full range of consulting topics/areas.

www.NRPA .ORG

The Consulting Service Program
is not aimed at developing a finished product or competing with
private consulting business. It
seeks to provide agencies with
experience-based, up-to-date
suggestions and advice. It does
not, however, set out to implement
recommendations and proposals,
as consulting and business firms
might do. This program also includes
speakers and lecturers on related topics and assistance in workshop services.

How would an agency procure these
AAPRA advisory services-and what
costs might be incurred?
Typically, the process goes something
like this:
1.  An interested park and recreation
agency visits the academy website
(www.aapra.org) to gather information-
and then follows up with a phone inquiry (217.586.3360) or e-mail (info@aapra.
org).
2.  A APRA examines the inquiry thoroughly to make sure that the requested help falls within program and legal
guidelines.
3.  The appropriate AAPRA agreement
documents are prepared. Those documents may be formal or informal, depending on the nature of the request.
Within the documentation, requesting agency personnel agree to their

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November 2010 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2010 - Parks & Recreation

November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 1
November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 2
November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 3
November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 4
November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 5
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November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 7
November 2010 - Parks & Recreation - 8
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