Park Partners

2018 Day Of Caring - Skills of Central PA

The Centre Region Park Partners Program is an initiative by Centre Region Parks & Recreation (CRPR) that encourages public and private groups to assist with various improvements to municipal park areas. That assistance has taken the form of volunteer or in-kind services and labor for park maintenance or project development. Indeed, volunteer projects have provided many valuable improvements to municipal parks over the years such as the United Way Day of Caring, the Park Partner Day each April, and other group projects.

The Park Partners Program is designed as a park adoption program; it encourages and promotes longer-term volunteer support and efforts at a selected park or pool site. Working with CRPR Parks Maintenance, groups can select an entire site, or a designated section or feature of a larger site, for a two-year period. An agreement is then completed with regard to program participation.

CRPR currently hosts 18 Park Partners and the parks these groups have adopted range from small neighborhood parks to the larger community parks.  Click HERE to see the current roster of partners.

Rules
At a minimum, groups are asked to plan, execute, and report on three required and organized group work days per year at the selected site, with the primary interest early Spring, mid-Summer, and late Fall. The work days may coincide with community-wide volunteer events such as the Park Partner Day in April or the Day of Caring in October.

A work day must consist of at least four (4) consecutive hours. Of course, group members would also be encouraged to visit the park for impromptu spruce-ups as needed between work days.  During the two-year agreement period, the Park Partners group agrees to work with CRPR Parks Maintenance to help keep their park site clean, safe, and attractive. Depending on the site, group responsibilities may include:

  • picking up litter, debris, and downed branches, 
  • maintaining paths and trails (such as pruning the sides or spreading woodchips), 
  • maintaining planting beds, raking leaves, and pulling weeds,
  • removing graffiti, 
  • assisting with any special program events held at that park site. 
  • working on any special projects that are identified in cooperation with CRPR staff, such as painting, clearing new trails, spreading wood mulch under play equipment, removing staples from picnic tables, etc.
  • Park Partners are also asked to identify and promptly report any safety hazards to CRPR staff.

Partner Recognition

  • A sign will be posted at the selected park site which indicates the name of the group involved with the site. The sign will be furnished and maintained by CRPR during the two-year partner period.
  • CRPR will waive the reservation fee for any picnic pavilions used by the Park Partners group on the scheduled work day (subject to previously-scheduled reservations by other groups). It is important to establish the work days early each year so CRPR can ensure that a pavilion is available to its Park Partner group.
  • Each participating Park Partner group will be awarded a Certificate of Appreciation at the successful conclusion of the two-year period.

Requirements

  • There is no fee to join the program, just a willingness to dedicate some time, effort, and a little sweat, three times a year.
  • Each group should designate one contact person for all coordination with CRPR.
  • Group Leaders must first complete a Park Partners Agreement, which outlines important details for both the group and CRPR.
  • Participants must supply their own transportation to the site, attend safety programs when offered, and be at least 16 years old or be supervised by adults.
  • Groups must agree to abide by all park rules and regulations during their work projects.

CRPR will provide trash bags as needed and pick-up full bags of trash after a project day. Since communication is the keystone of successful cooperative endeavors, all group projects involving anything other than routine maintenance must be approved in advance by CRPR Park Maintenance.

The use of all power tools and engine-powered equipment by volunteers is prohibited on park lands without the express authorization of the Parks Manager or the Parks & Recreation Director.

With proper advance planning, CRPR will be able to provide most of the materials, supplies, and hand tools needed for all routine projects and approved special projects. It may not be possible to provide on-site staff support during all project days, so planning ahead is very important. Please provide at least 2-3 weeks advance notice to the CRPR Parks Maintenance Department regarding your requested work day to assure that the park facilities, staff, tools, and materials are available.

Accidents and Injuries
SAFETY for volunteers, park visitors, and staff remains an important component of planning and performing every project in a public park. The Centre Region Council of Governments and the municipalities that own each park site do not offer medical insurance coverage to volunteers or to their families. 

In the event of an injury to a volunteer, all costs, including any deductible, are the responsibility of the volunteer. If a volunteer accidently injures a park visitor (who is not a project volunteer) or damages private property, COG liability insurance will be responsible for the injury or damage unless the accident involves a volunteer’s personal motor vehicle.

If you have an accident with your vehicle while volunteering, your personal insurance provides primary coverage as stipulated by state law. No COG coverage is available for damages to your personal vehicle. It is important that each volunteer be aware of these facts before any work is started, and that ALL injuries be documented and reported to CRPR Parks Maintenance. It is strongly recommended that each group have a first aid kit on-site during work days. Also, Group Leaders should be aware of how to contact local emergency services in case of an injury.

Park Site Selection
Requests for specific areas are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Every attempt will be made to match volunteer groups with their first choice. However, they may sometimes have to consider an alternate site.

Park sites are listed on the CRPR Interactive Parks Map.  Parks maintained by CRPR are eligible for consideration as potential Park Partners sites.

To become a Park Partner, please review the Park Partner Agreement; if you decide that your group would like to become a Park Partner, contact CRPR's Parks Maintenance Department to determine the best park for your group.  Then, when ready, you can complete the Park Partner Agreement, which is a PDF Fillable document; you can complete the form and save it to your computer.  You'll need to print the form and then have the appropriate representative(s) sign and date the form.