Catch up on the latest news and happenings around the state.



In This Issue...


Welcome the New Year with Creativity


Photo of the Month

Our photo of the month goes to the City of Longview’s Golden Apple Preschool Intergenerational Program. The program allows preschoolers and seniors to interact and encourage social skills, build inter-generational relationships, and share wisdom and imagination which displays an encouraging circle of life. Looks like a good time to read a book!

Do you have a must-see photo? Submit your “Photo of the Month” to [email protected].

New Year’s Resolutions? I Just Have One: Keep Going

How do you recreate?

Brian Dubois is the Recreation Supervisor for the City of Ephrata. Here is a photo of Brian and his dog Nala on their hike up to Santa Fe Baldy, New Mexico.

"Just. Keep. Going." they told themselves.

Congratulations on making the climb! It looks like a beautiful hike. What an inspiration for us all to get outside and stay active in the New Year.

How DO YOU recreate?  Submit your “How do you recreate” photo to [email protected].

Spotlight Professional - Jim Rabenstein


This Is Your Year

Jim Rabenstein was recently appointed to Parks Supervisor for the City of Burlington. Jim grew up in the Skagit Valley where he held his first job working in the fields picking strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, and more. He developed a strong work ethic and learned it’s okay to get dirty and work hard to earn a paycheck.

Jim attended college at Western Washington University, where he received a degree in Parks and Recreation. After graduating, Jim took a position as a Recreation Aid for Skagit County Parks and Recreation. Today, Jim supervises employees and oversees the administrative functions, development, construction, operations, maintenance, and repair of the parks system and cemetery.

“Be patient. Be kind. Be persistent.
Take good notes, learn as you grow, and set goals. Do whatever it takes to achieve those goals (as long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical.)"

Learn more about Jim and his adventures.

WRPA Conference - Forging Links
Connecting People, Cultivating Ideas, and Creating Excitement

Join us this year in the City of SeaTac for another amazing WRPA Conference and Tradeshow. Don't miss this chance to join over 400 WRPA professionals to network, learn, and celebrate the recreation and park industry.

Meet industry leaders, strategists, and innovators, and take the chance to discover cutting-edge products and services through our extensive list of exhibitors and sponsors. This is one of the largest conferences dedicated to recreation and park professionals in Washington State. You don't want to miss it!

Learn more about the sessions and the other activities available at the conference by checking out our schedule of events.

Submit an Award Nomination

WRPA is proud to celebrate professionals, parks, and programs with our Annual Awards Program. This is our own version of the Golden Globes: honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of recreation and parks in Washington State.

We recognize three major categories:

Time is running out for you to nominate yourself, your colleagues, and your organization. The nominations window will close on February 23, 2018. Learn more about the process and submit your nominations today.

Submit a Nomination Button

Certified Playground Safety Inspector

WRPA CPSI Playground Image

WRPA Certified Playground Safety Inspector

WRPA is excited to announce that registration is open for the Spring Certified Playground Safety Inspector Coursewhich will be hosted at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center.

This course is the most comprehensive, nationally recognized training program for playground hazard identification and risk management methods. WRPA's CPSI course supports children’s rights to play and promotes the important role that activity plays in all children's mental, emotional, and physical development. All agencies should have at least one certified inspector on their team.

WRPA Register Today Button

2018 Park & Great Outdoors Legislative Day

When: January 25, 2018 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Where: Woman's Club of Olympia

Details: Join the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition and the Washington Recreation & Park Association at our annual Parks and Great Outdoors Legislative Day in Olympia!

Help us advocate for our state's premier outdoors fund, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), and tell your legislators why Washington's parks, wildlife habitat areas, and working lands deserve to be funded.

Never met with a legislator before? Don't worry! We will make sure you have everything you need.

Learn more about this exciting event by reading Doug Levy's 2018 Legislative Day Primer.

NRPA Magazine – Social Media in the New Year

In January 2018 Issue

Let’s face it, social media is here, has been here, and is not going anywhere. As park and recreation professionals, we find ourselves more and more intertwined with it each day. If you think you can shove it under the rug, pretend it’s not staring you in the face each morning, or it's not being used at your facilities, then you are in the wrong year.

It is 2018! It is a good reminder in the New Year to keep up on policies and proper guidelines for your department staff as social media has become an influential tool for marketing programs, events, sharing information, and photography.

Read more about social media in the New Year in the NRPA Magazine

Don't Follow Your Dreams – Chase Them

2018 WRPA Members on the Move
  • Justin Brown, City of Longview Recreation Manager — previously Recreation Coordinator for City of Richland Parks and Recreation Department.

  • Courtenay Garcia, City of Issaquah Parks and Recreation Senior Center Manager 

  • Dave Johnson, Director of the City of Maple Valley — previously City of Tukwila, Senior Center Manager 

Did we forget someone? Are you a "Member on the Move?" Email us [email protected].

Leaving a Legacy in 2017

Byron Lee Elmendorf, October 8, 1944 – November 21, 2017

Byron Elmendorf passed away on November 21, 2017, at the age of 73 while playing with two of his grandchildren, in Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii. Just the way he had wanted it to go.

Byron led a great life with his wife Becky, children and grandchildren. He grew up in Evansville, Indiana. He attended Indiana State University where he met his wife Becky and graduated with the University’s first degree in Parks and Recreation. With Bryon’s profession, he and Becky moved to various places around the country, such as Oceanside, California, Virginia State, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Michigan State before settling roots in Bellingham, Washington.

Byron became Bellingham's first director of a joint parks and recreation department, where his proudest accomplishments were the development of Boulevard Park along with the city aquatic center. Byron was the president of WRPA in 1993, as well as an as well as an Honor Fellow and recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.

Thank you for your many services to our country, communities, and profession. 

Read Byron's full obituary in The Bellingham Herald.

Time Spent Among the Trees Is Never Wasted Time

Mike Dobb: Recreation Professional, WRPA Past President, Award- Winning Tree Farmer & Much More

Past WRPA President and retired Superintendent of Recreation of Pierce County Parks and Recreation, Michael Dobb, was announced as Minnesota’s 2017 Tree Farmer of the Year. What some don’t know about Mike is that he grew up visiting his family’s Tree Farm in Koochiching County, Minnesota. It was during that time that his love for wildlife, land, and exploring began. In 1997, Mike began overseeing the family’s 320-acre farm, and his passion for planting and forestry only grew, so much so that he even began documenting it with over 100 pages of memoirs called, “My Memoirs of the Dobb Property.” 

What a great way to ring in the New Year. 

Read more about Mike Dobb in an article from Tree Farming for Better Forests and in an Editorial by Kathleen Preece.

We Want Your News! 

Do you have news to share with your WRPA colleagues? Send any updates, photos, happenings, and socials to WRPA, so that we can feature your article in the next WRPAToday e-newsletter!

Send Us Your News Now!

Recent Job Postings


See what new opportunities await you in the field of recreation and parks by checking out WRPA's Job Board!

Visit the WRPA Career Center Today!

 Calendar of Events
 Date:  Event:  Location:

January 24-25, 2018

Risk Management School -
Federal Way Community

January 25, 2018

Park & Great Outdoors Legislative Day Woman's Club Olympia
January 25, 2018

Facilities Marketing Network Meeting Tukwila Community Center
 March 22, 2018

Aquatics Network Meeting

Covington Aquatic Center

March 28-30, 2018


Mercer Island Community and Event Center
 April 26, 2018

Facilities Marketing Network Meeting Environmental Services Building
Chambers Creek
 May 1-3, 2018

WRPA Annual Conference & Tradeshow Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center


WRPA Volunteer Opportunities


Thank You, 2018 Sponsors!

Why We Need You! 

WRPA is membership-driven. We achieve only what we ourselves commit to doing. By sharing your energy and expertise, you will make WRPA an even more effective professional resource. 

In fact, without you, we would not be able to offer any programs! Consider volunteering and helping our organization grow. Learn more about opportunities that have recently become available!

Volunteers are needed for the:




WRPA Legislative Updates

Check out the latest legislative news on the WRPA Blog

Washington Recreation and Park Association 

[email protected]  |   Tel: (206) 361-8869   |


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