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



In this Issue...


Photo of the Month — Share Your Photos Too!

PAW Patrol!

Meet Buckley, Des Moines’ very own litter patrol dog. Buckley completed his obedience training with Jan Magneson at the Des Moines Fieldhouse. He started practicing his litter cleanup skills thereafter in the surrounding grass fields at only 6 months old. Buckley has been hitting “cleanup” for the Des Moines community for quite some time now. In his spare time, Buckley enjoys long walks on the beach, napping, eating dog treats that make his teeth shine, and running his own anti-litter campaign.

Do you have a must-see photo? WRPA would love to share your work from home photos and cool images taken at your parks and facilities. Submit your photos via email to [email protected].

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Message from Paul Simmons, WRPA President

Each day I am impressed by all the ways the Parks and Recreation profession has adapted to a world that changes literally on a daily basis. The COVID Pandemic brought us all to a halt back in March, but each day more counties enter phases II and III, and we are beginning to see more of our critical services come back online in a modified ways. Our race and social justice lens is opening in ways that will result in lasting changes both within how we operate as agencies, and how we deliver services to the community. As a profession, 2020 has brought many challenges that result in most days ending with more questions than answers. The one saving grace for me is remembering that we are not alone and that thanks to WRPA we have the opportunity to stay connected, learn from others, and support one another.

In the spirit of staying connected, here are some brief association updates related to the weeks ahead:

  • The Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee will be hosting a series of race-based caucusing events. This is a critical first step as we work to unpack recent events, develop a plan for action, and re-launch the work of what was previously known as the Cultural Competency Committee.
  • I am proud to announce that the WRPA staff are working to implement a new WRPA Membership App. This new membership tool will put WRPA resources at the tip of your finger and provide new ways for us to interact with each other and share resources. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you logged into Facebook through your desktop? This critical step will help our association catch up with the times and is sponsored by our Annual Platinum Sponsor Northwest Playgrounds.
  • A Committee of WRPA members is working to develop a 3-part Risk Management Workshop Series that will involve round table discussions about current challenges and trends, check-in with Risk Management professionals from our respective insurance authorities, and a brainstorming session about the future of our industry. Our Conference was canceled last April, but this series will be designed to re-create those hallways, lunchtime, and happy hour conversations we otherwise would have had in Tacoma.

I am excited about the momentum that exists with the WRPA and am honored to serve as your President. Please reach out at any time if you have questions or ideas about how we can improve our collective support for our amazing profession.

Paul Simmons
WRPA President
Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Director

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Current Youth Development and Summer Day Camps Guidance
Department of Health Update June 23, 2020

The Washington State DOH has released updated guidance on child care, youth development, and summer day camps.


  • Group sizes should total no more than 22 people. This includes all children, youth, and adults.       
  • As a reminder, physical distancing, cohorts, hand hygiene, and other practices are essential in reducing the transmission of the virus.
  • Removes play structure restrictions.
  • Face covering guidance updated throughout.
  • Guidance for cleaning outdoor areas added.
  • Updated resource section.

Read more about the updated guidance.

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Aquatics Network Update
Collaboration Between WRPA Aquatics Network, Washington State DOH, and Washington State Labor & Industries Yields Guidelines for Aquatic Facilities

The WRPA Aquatics Network has been working hard these past few months to keep our members up to date on the latest information on reopening aquatics facilities in our state. We have had multiple zoom meetings discussing how to bring operations back safely in light of COVID-19. Learn more about WRPA Networks, resources, and contacts and read the full Aquatics Network update.

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Spotlight Professional: Josh Oakes
Recreation Supervisor with City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department

Josh Oakes started his parks and recreation career in Idaho, working with the City of Moscow as an Aquatic Aide and Recreation Assistant during his studies at the University of Idaho. After graduating with a major in Recreation and a minor in Outdoor Leadership, Josh worked with the City of Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department for 11 years before joining the team with the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department. Josh credits his early positions with the City of Moscow and the City of Post Falls with teaching him "teamwork, grit, determination, and leadership."

Read more about Josh and learn how Spokane is handling the fallout from COVID-19. 

Advice from Josh

"You need to have relatable work experience to be able to land your first full-time gig in the parks and recreation world. If it means that you have to clean toilets and cut grass for a summer, then so be it. You will look back on those times when you progress in the profession and be able to pull from some of your experiences of being on the frontlines."

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Making the Most of Your WRPA Membership After a Layoff
Maryke Burgess, formerly of City of Everett, Shares Her Perspective

Have you found yourself laid off, furloughed, or with reduced hours during this pandemic? Being a member of the WRPA is more important than ever.

The stress of filing for unemployment, reworking personal budgets, major lifestyle changes, and the loss of a sense of purpose is hard. Through no fault of your own, you now find yourself out of work. They didn’t want to let you go. They wanted to keep you. They had no choice and no; they don’t know when things will get better.

Don’t forget the WRPA can be a great asset to you as you look ahead for the next opportunity.

Read more about Maryke's experience and learn about all the ways that WRPA can help you in these turbulent times.

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Certified Playground Safety Inspector Courses
September 8–10 and November 17–19 | Blended Learning

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, NRPA has taken precautions around the best way to continue to offer the CPSI course and exam. To ensure the safety of CPSI participants, NRPA launched a new CPSI Blended Course. This course and exam entail independent online learning courses, virtual learning sessions with the instructors, and taking your exam at a local testing center.

Learn more about the blended learning format and register for either course on our website. WRPA member pricing ranges from $199–$550 and non-member ranges from $249–$615.

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WRPA Fall Events Are Going Virtual
Stay Tuned for More Updates

Keeping our members and supporters safe is our top priority. With this in mind, WRPA is announcing that the following events are being moved to a virtual format.

We are still finalizing all the details and will have more information available soon.

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WRPA Blog Highlights: Read the Latest

Land & Water Conservation Fund

Phase 3 of the Governor's "Safe Start" Re-Opening Plans

Letter From WRPA President: Responding to the Current Social Injustices


State Public Lands Managers to Reopen Campgrounds in 22 Counties

Outdoor Parks & Rec Guidance, 1% Property Tax, New 'Framework' on Gatherings, and Vashon District Bill

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NRPA Parks & Recreation Magazine Highlight
"Path to Recovery"
May 21, 2020, by National Recreation and Park Association

Over the past two months, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has swept across the nation, we have witnessed the incredible response from park and recreation professionals taking swift and needed actions to protect and support the health and well-being of their communities. In efforts to “flatten the curve,” agencies have implemented mitigation strategies—ranging from the broad application of recreation center and playground closures to the cancellation of community events and youth sports programs. 

Read the full NRPA article to learn more.

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Thank You to Our Renewing Members!

  • Bob McGarvey, Northwest Playground Equipment, Inc.
  • Doug Coutts, Park Director, South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District
  • Doug Farmer, Assistant Director, Aberdeen Parks & Recreation
  • Erin Snodgrass-Thim, Director, White River Community Activities Program
  • Jason Keliher, White River Community Activities Program
  • Jeff Grover, Parks and Recreation Director, Fircrest Parks & Recreation
  • Kari Bachle
  • Krista Bashaw, Special Events Coordinator, Camas Parks & Recreation
  • Mary McCluskey, Director, Poulsbo Parks & Recreation
  • Michelle Larson, Parks & Recreation Director, Enumclaw Parks & Recreation
  • Paul Avery, Seasonal Pool Manager/Lifeguard, Chehalis Parks and Recreation
  • Rachel Dotson, Principal, Landscape Architect, HBB Landsacpe Architecture
  • Robin Aronson, Risk Services Manager, Washington Cities Insurance Authority (WCIA)
  • Ryan Daly, Recreation Supervisor, Mercer Island Parks & Recreation
  • Tracey Perkosky, Interim Parks & Recreation Director
  • Asotin County Public Facilities District
  • Bellevue Parks & Community Services
  • City of Port Townsend
  • Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services
  • Key Peninsula Metro Park District
  • Moses Lake Parks & Recreation
  • Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks)
  • Pierce County Parks & Recreation
  • San Juan Island Park & Recreation District
  • Shoreline Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services
  • Spokane Parks & Recreation

Welcome New Members!

  • Alyssa Gonzalez-Robinson, Program Site Supervisor, City of Cheney Parks & Recreation
  • Carol Githinji, Consumables Expert, Target
  • Gail Sumpter, Branch Operations Coordinator, Olympic Peninsula YMCA
  • Janet Sabalausky, President, Audits+Inspections+Safety LLC
  • Margaret Nelson, Student, Eastern Washington University
  • Nicole Nikula, Director, Whitewater Aquatics Management
  • Ray Finn, Assistant Director for Intercollegiate Athletics/CRC Operations, The Evergreen State College
  • Stan Johnson, Recreation Coordinator, Richland Parks and Public Facilities Department
  • Todd Bronk, Principal, JETT Landscape Architecture + Design

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 Job Board Today!

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WRPA Event Calendar
Date Event Location
June 25, 2020 Network Meeting: Aquatics Free Online
September 810, 2020 CPSI Blended Learning Course Virtual & Local Testing Center
September 2020 Aquatics Network Conference Virtual
October 2020 WRPA 2020 Fall Summit Virtual
November 17–19, 2020 CPSI Blended Learning Course Virtual & Local Testing Center

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WRPA Volunteer Opportunities

Thank You, 2020 Sponsors!

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!

Join a WRPA Network

  • Administrative
  • Aquatics
  • Athletics & Fitness
  • Climate Change
  • Park Resources
  • Park Rangers
  • Facilities/Rentals/Marketing
  • Programmers
  • Event Management Software (EMS)
  • Student Connection Committee

Annual Platinum Sponsor

Annual Gold Sponsor

Annual Silver Sponsors

Affinity Partner Sponsors

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Washington Recreation and Park Association

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

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