Jason Duff, Founder & CEO of Small Nation, recently traveled to Sandusky, Ohio, to give the Small Agency Forum keynote address as part of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association’s annual conference and trade show. The conference, held at Kalahari Convention Center, was attended by parks and recreation professionals from around the state.

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association is a non-profit organization representing over 2,000 recreation professionals and citizen members who are working to provide quality park and recreational facilities and opportunities. Prior to the full conference, the OPRA hosted a Small Agency Forum for small town departments and agencies in Ohio. The Small Agency Forum was designed to train front line employees in parks departments around Ohio.

Duff’s keynote presentation, titled “Small Town Ohio’s Comeback,” focused on the revitalization of small towns, projects accomplished by Small Nation in Downtown Bellefontaine, and how leaders in attendance can bring the ideas back and implement in their hometown. The presentation highlighted the importance of community parks and how they can be a key economic driver and strategy for success. Duff also talked about how Small Nation works with the city of Bellefontaine and the local Parks Department and the importance of public-private partnerships. In attendance was Bellefontaine’s Park Superintendent, Kris Myers.

“Having quality parks and building them around unique programming is a key driver for economic development growth and success,” Duff said. “Thanks to the OPRA for inviting me and a huge thanks to Kris and our local parks team for all they do.”

Myers oversees over 16 park facilities in Bellefontaine, included the 450 acre Myeerah Nature Preserve. “Jason’s presentation was inspiring to our professionals,” said Myers. “We were encouraged to collaborate whenever possible, always be willing to make the ask, and hustle hard for our communities and citizens. I am so excited that the success of our community and how we all work well together is inspiring to my professional cohorts.”

Woody Woodward, Executive Director of the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, introduced Duff to the attendees. Following the presentation, he commented that “Jason really inspired our small park agency leaders by encouraging them to think outside the box, taking chances to bring necessary change, and most importantly to build relationships that can change communities and make a real impact on quality of life”