AK Recreation & Parks Association

Virtual Conference & Membership Drive

Who are we and what do we stand for?

The Alaska Recreation and Parks Association Mission and Vision is to provide a forum for interchange of ideas and information among parks, recreation and wildland professions and supporters; promote the personal, environmental, social and economic benefits of parks, recreation and wildlands; coordinating, organizing, and promoting quality educational opportunities; and preparing and providing education information relating to parks, recreation and wildlands.

Message from the President of ARPA~

Dear ARPA Friends and Family,

Over the past few years ARPA has pushed hard to grow, to evolve, and to be the best organization we can be. We have made much progress. As our momentum continued to build, COVID19 hit the world and helped re-center the organization's core mission once again. As a board we have worked to answer one question:

How can we help?

That is the essence of who ARPA is and who we all are as parks and recreation professionals. So, we began hosting zoom round-tables, discussion groups, and providing as much pertinent information as we could find. Our mission helped drive our focus during these challenging times and we are proud of the efforts put forth by our fellows within the industry.

This year’s ARPA conference is an online event, that I am proud of. We have worked hard to bring some amazing folks to the table to address inclusion, and equity in our communities, in our aquatics facilities, in our parks, in our programs, and in our lives.

I invite you all to join with us this year as we ensure parks and recreation opportunities are available to all.


Donnie Hayes, CPRP
Fairbanks, Alaska

Visit the website to register for your membership!

~10% off renewals and new memberships for the month of September~

Join the Alaska Recreation & Parks Association now!

We can all say with absolute certainty that this has been extremely unique and challenging year. Discussions within the association have highlighted the importance of unity, positive communication and collaboration in the face of good times and bad. As we gear up for our Annual Conference which will be held virtually this year, we are eager to see new faces, share stories of resilience and revel in the glory of continued service for our communities.

We'd like to invite each and every one of you to the table. Now more than ever our strength in connection is vital. As an offering of support to you and the goodness you contribute to the industry ARPA is offering a 10% discount on all new and renewed memberships for the month of September. If you are new to the association, this newsletter highlights some of great benefits that you can tap into with your membership. If you are a tenured member we strongly urge you to renew your membership to aid in the forward momentum we have gained over the years. Anyone who registers for a new membership or renews an existing membership will be entered into a drawing to win a voucher towards the NRPA Annual Conference or an educational program expense through NRPA.

With each challenge there is great opportunity. We are reminded of that every day we think of all of you. Join us, we can't wait to see you!

Membership Types & Fees

Agency (7 or fewer FTE) $95

Agency (8-20 FTE) $245

Agency (21-50 FTE) $495

Agency (51 or more FTE) $907

Professional Membership (Indvidual) $49

Lifetime Membership $490

Student Membership No Cost

* FTE-Full Time Employees*

Perks of being an ARPA member...

Professional support in the field of:

  • Aquatics
  • Recreation, Sports and Events
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Recreation and Park Management
  • Park Maintenance
  • School District Playground Maintenance
  • Wildlands and Trails
  • Ice and Arena Maintenance

Through partnerships with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), ARPA provides scholarships to help pay for continuing education opportunities like:

  • NRPA's Maintenance or Director's School
  • NRPA's Annual Conference
  • ARPA's Annual State Conference
  • Playground Maintenance Certification
  • Certified Playground Safety Instructor (CPSI)
  • Red Cross Water Safety Instructor
  • Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor
  • Certified Pool Operator
  • Recreation and Park Professional Certification

Annual Conference (Virtual)

Thursday, Oct. 8th, 9am to Friday, Oct. 9th, 8pm

This is an online event.

The agenda is subject to change leading up the conference. We will announce our final schedule through the ARPA website as soon as feasible. Below is a general outline for your preparation and planning. Please plan to view the presentations via the ZOOM Virtual Platform.

~This conference is FREE to the ARPA Membership~

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Stay abreast of schedule changes here...https://arpa.myrec.com/info/default.aspx

  • Keynote Speaker Jill Moore, Inclusion and Play (Thurs.)
  • Speakers Chris Beck and Steve Cleary of Alaska Trails, Alaska Long Trail (Thurs.)
  • Speaker Debbie Woodbury, Facilities Best Practices (Thurs.)
  • Speaker Katy Keller, Marketing and Connection (Fri.)
  • Speaker Jim Wise, Leisure as a Human Right (Fri.)
  • More from Aquatics and the First Alaskans Institute (Fri.)
  • Closing Ceremony/Awards (Fri.)

Pictured on the left, Jill Moore

Jill grew up near Charlotte, North Carolina where she became involved with adaptive athletics at age nine. During her high school career, Jill helped write the state regulations allowing those with disabilities to compete and score for their school track teams. She promotes the importance of play as it truly shapes us all, and allows us to overcome truly incredible things.


The recognition and celebration of excellence within the field of Parks and Recreation is the sole purpose of the ARPA Awards committee. This group of volunteers undertake the difficult task of reading through the numerous qualified candidates each year in order to bestow the most deserving professionals the honor of one of the following awards; New Professional, Bob Robertson Service Award, ARPA Appreciation Award, ARPA Outstanding Organization Award and ARPA Outstanding Business Partner Award.

Thank you to those who nominated a deserving co-worker or community champion for a 2019 ARPA Award. We are extending the time frame to for nominations to encourage camaraderie within the industry statewide. Please visit the website to view more information on each award, while accessing the nomination form. Nominations will close on Friday, September 11th, 2020.


ARPA Awards will be presented virtually during the 2020 ARPA Conference in October.


The Alaska Recreation & Parks Association is an all volunteer based organization. The association's board is made up of 9 officers and 6 committee chairs. Each year elections are held prior to the October Annual Meeting. Currently, there are three positions open for nominations; Secretary and two Board Member at Large positions.

If you have an interest in serving the mission of ARPA and advancing your professional experience, the board welcomes you to the table. On the other hand, if you feel confidently about a colleague's ability to serve, we encourage you to nominate one of your peers for a position within the board.

They say good leaders are good learners. Come lead and learn along side us!

Please send your nominations to the Board President Donnie Hayes, president@alaskarpa.org.


Mike Illg~ ARPA Member & Board President Elect

I have been a member of the Alaska Recreation and Parks Association since 2006 and I wish I had joined earlier! Like many of you, I simply LOVE working in the parks and recreation field as we get to meet so many people, we get to create incredibly fun opportunities and the tangible/intangible impacts we all make contributes toward the many memories and moments that people will cherish forever. Being a part of ARPA has allowed me to connect, network, laugh and learn from the other parks and rec folks throughout Alaska and my community truly thrives and benefits from the services this organization provides. I am grateful for the professional development opportunities, the scholarship funding that is available for professional certifications and conferences (not cheap), the agency awards that allows us to celebrate amazing people and innovative projects. Alaska is truly the playground for our country and possibly the world and we are at the forefront of being the stewards of the large and diverse “tree of parks and recreation” for our great state. We must continue to work together and ensure these opportunities continue for future generations and Alaska Recreation and Parks Association continues to play a crucial role no matter what challenges may lie ahead.

~Mike is the Recreation Manager for the City of Homer~

Joan Klapperich~ ARPA Member & Board Member at Large

Six years ago, I was invited to join ARPA. “What’s ARPA?”, I asked. Little did I know at that time what a HUGE difference being a part of this organization would make in my life, and how it made my work as Director of Recreation Services more rewarding, fun and beneficial for the community that I served. As a City, of course there were no budgeted funds to attend the yearly convention. Thankfully, I was able to receive a scholarship from the ARPA organization, and I went. I did not know a soul, nor had my City ever participated as a member of the organization. To say the least, I enjoyed myself immensely; made new friends, learned a lot, and came home better for it.

We, as members, share so much in common, and the friendships I’ve developed as part of this organization is priceless. We all come from our unique areas around the state, and the camaraderie, and support from the members is more than I could have ever imagined. We share common issues, and concerns that are unique to Alaska. I enjoy being able to pick up the phone and talk to a member that may have an answer I have been contemplating on for validation. Value? Priceless! Effectively and efficiently, we problem solve, we share what works and what does not. Now more than ever, I’m proud to say that we are working through these difficult times TOGETHER, sharing weekly in our special groups how to traverse these difficult waters, and to help make our communities a safer, and healthier one.

The Conventions are great, featuring top notch speakers that are informative with sponsors that are generous and wonderfully helpful providing information on the latest equipment and technology for us to make wise decisions for our communities. I love the bountiful learning tools, and sessions filled with marketing tips and tricks, facility scheduling, programming, maintenance issues and remedies, trails, staffing, and so much more. I always learn something that I can implement for our department.

So, if someone asks you to join ARPA, just say ‘YES!’

~Joan is the Director of Recreation Services for the City of Wasilla at the Menard Sports Center~