The event was an opportunity for recreation and parks representatives from across the country to engage with policy makers, share our passion for recreation and parks and have invaluable conversations about our collective impact on health, wellbeing, and quality of life.
Left to right: Past SPRA President Jody Boulet, the Honourable Kelli Block, MP, Dawn Haworth, Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, and Christa Costas-Bradstreet, CPRA Director, Partnerships and Policy.
Throughout the day, we met with various Members of Parliament and Senators. Jody and I took the opportunity to leverage these conversations and voice the concerns we’ve heard in Saskatchewan and have the greatest relevance Federally. These include:
Addressing our aging recreation and parks infrastructure, and;
Support for staffing within the recreation and parks industry
We shared the realities of what these concerns look like in communities. Pools might need to reduce hours or not run swimming lessons if they can’t find or pay for qualified aquatic staff. Local curling or skating rinks are no longer safe for residents and need to be decommissioned. Stories like these resonated with the decision-makers we met with, as they all had lived experiences in recreation and parks. They understood what the impact of being without quality infrastructure and staff would mean to the future of our communities, families, and individual health.
Senator Marty Deacon spoke of her summer job in the parks department, and how 40 years later she takes pride in seeing the trees she planted tower to the sky. She recounted her other roles as a recreation counsellor and director and how, “these experiences with parks and recreation gave me a sense of connection, of belonging, of pride and of community that was deeply missing in my life.”
Left to Right: Mike Scott, NWTRPA, Laine Wilson, Rec MB, the Honourable Blaine Calkins, MP, Red Deer/Lacombe, Todd Shafer, SPRA CEO, Susan Laurin, ARPA.
All of these experiences have helped shape her as an ambassador for recreation - and I’m confident we left Advocacy Day on the Hill with more allies and advocates for our industry.
This was the first event of its kind for CPRA, and it won’t be the last! I’m excited to continue to build on the connections made, and further explore the opportunities that may exist for us provincially. If you have any ideas or connections that you feel could assist with future activities like this, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
For highlights from Advocacy Day on the Hill, check out CPRA’s video recap.