Thank you to the CARPD membership for your encouragement and support for my upcoming term as the 2023/2024 CARPD President. The CARPD Board is a dedicated team that, along with staff, is willing and ready to engage in new opportunities that will serve to benefit the membership. You can see that they take to heart the main objectives of our mission statement: advocate and support.
The 2023 annual conference held at the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite in May was a great time together. With the theme of “Reaching New Heights,” the setting was ideal, the weather was perfect, and the facilities were more than accommodating. The conference itself had very entertaining and educational presentations, and the sponsors, in addition to their financial support, participated in the sessions and events as any good partner would! I know many attendees also spent some time in Yosemite National Park to witness in person the impressive waterfalls, especially with the above-average snow melt this year. (I was able to squeeze in a hike to the Mariposa Grove on Saturday morning!)
To continue with the conference theme, the coming year will surely include new accomplishments as we strive to reach higher. CARPD has already had a few “firsts” this year:
· The annual conference was held in Yosemite.
· We sponsored a legislative bill.
· We prepared a legislative platform.
· Staff testified before the legislature on behalf of recreation and parks.
· The Board had a capitol tour meeting with legislators and state agency leaders.
There are 72 Districts throughout the state that are represented by CARPD, however, there are more that need to join our team! In addition to Recreation and Park Districts, CARPD also represents Community Services Districts that provide recreation and park services. Together the collective districts serve a large population of Californians. The variety of communities represented – whether due to size, resources, or location – may be significant, but the need for advocacy and support is common.
I’ve come to realize why this small but mighty organization is so resilient: the members are accustomed to fighting and scrapping to ensure their constituents have what they need. Meeting the recreational needs of our communities does not always come easy. Whether a lack of staff, funding, land or other necessary resources, the needs always seem to be increasing. However, the “rec and park” crowd is unique. They are creative. They are resilient. They are essential. We find ways to get things done. We use partnerships and relationships to extend our resources and accomplish our objectives. And, we have fun and play well together.
I’m looking forward to a productive year together.
Conejo Recreation and Park District