IPRA is Here for You
Learn. Connect. Inspire. We at the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) take those words to heart and know you do too! The way you and your departments, districts, and agencies have and are reacting, coping, and dealing with the ever-changing COVID-19 situation is truly inspiring, and we applaud your efforts!
The last few weeks have been unprecedented, and we all find ourselves making changes and making choices in our day to day lives that we would never have predicted. Through it all, we want you to know that IPRA is here for you. We may be under a stay at home order, but IPRA is not shut down.
- Cancellations and other meeting changes are updated online. As the health and safety of our professional community is of the utmost importance to us, most events have been rescheduled or moved to virtual for the next several weeks.
- While IPRA staff are working remotely, you can email any of us, or call our remote phone number with questions at 630-670-6957 during regular office hours, and you will reach an IPRA Team Member. A staff list, with email addresses, can be found here.
- We are using IPRAConnect to encourage members to update each other on closures, ask each other questions, etc. To access, visit connect.ILipra.org, and login using the same login and password that you use to access the members-only portion of the IPRA website. Be sure to check out the new COVID-19 Response & Information Sharing community.
- Check out our weekly series of COVID-19 Virtual Community Talks, beginning March 26. This series of four conversations will provide you an opportunity to ask questions and share strategies to help park & recreation professionals navigate through these challenging times. These events will be March 26, April 2, April 9, and April 16. Registration information is available on the IPRA homepage.
- Sign on to the NRPA Joint Statement on Using Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing
- Join Kristin Ehler from the Mokena Park District on Community Fitness and Wellness Initiatives she is introducing to her community during this time – click here to sign up for the Zoom discussion.
- We are hosting a free virtual educational event on Thursday, March 26 at 1:00, "How to Get Your Game On,” presented by Tom Farrey, Executive Director, Aspen Institute's Sports & Society Program. Tom will discuss his book, “Game On, The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children” and his research through Project Play, on how to build healthy kids and communities through sports -- with a focus on what park and rec departments can do. Click here to register for this free educational event.
Make sure to practice self-care during this time and remind your communities and patrons to do the same! Parks, forest preserves and open spaces, as long as you keep an appropriate distance from others, are not only safe spaces to go, but they are a key tool in helping people to continue to exercise, get sunshine, and to feel less alone in what has become a truly isolating experience. Let the kids run around in your back yard. Go for long walks.
We don't know how long this will last, but we do know our industry is resilient. IPRA staff are working diligently to shift gears to better serve you in the long-term and to anticipate the ways our industry and our association will need to change. Let's do what we can to support and uplift one another — even a text, email or call can make a big difference.
It will be a new normal for a while, but we can still learn, connect (virtually), and inspire each other and our communities. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Debbie Trueblood, CAE
Illinois Park & Recreation Association