The Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) has elected Trisha Breitlow, CTRS, CPRP, Executive Director at the Maine-Niles Association Special Recreation (M-NASR), as its 2021 Chair-Elect. She will take office in January 2021 and will become IPRA’s chair in January of 2022. M-NASR was formed in in 1972, is an extension of six park districts and one village recreation department in the suburbs just north of Chicago and provides a full spectrum of recreation services to individuals with disabilities.
Trisha Breitlow began her career in 1999 at the Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA). After experience in direct programming, leisure education, inclusion and day camps, she held the position of Superintendent of Administrative Services where she oversaw the agencyâ€™s human resource program, personnel management, financial and payroll systems, risk management, safety operations, and agency building maintenance. Breitlow earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Winona State University in Minnesota. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and has held certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She is actively involved in professional organizations, having served in leadership roles with the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Section (ITRS) of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), Professional Development School Board of Regents (IPRA), a committee for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), and Director of ITRS. Breitlow received the ITRS New Professional Award and ITRS Director’s Award in 2004 and the ITRS Professional of the Year Award in 2013.
Breitlow is dedicated to promoting recreation for everyone and has spoken at state and national conferences about inclusion of individuals with disabilities into park and recreation programs and managing behaviors. Trisha believes in learning something from every experience, whether positive or challenging and taking something from those experiences to share with others for the future. She believes that continuing education and certifications are important, and that has led to her desire to learn more and educate herself. Equally important to her are the opportunities to mentor, train and teach other professionals outside of classrooms and conferences.
Reflecting on her upcoming role, “I am thrilled to continue to serve on the IPRA Board as Chair-Elect. Park and Recreation Professionals in Illinois are known for being at the top of their field nationwide, and we have continued to demonstrate that with the unimaginable challenges this year has brought. IPRA members not only provide outstanding services for their communities and residents, but an amazing network of support and resources for each other. It is an honor to have the opportunity to represent and help meet the needs of the membership over the course of the next three years” said Breitlow.
“We are so excited to have Trisha Breitlow as our incoming chair-elect. Trisha is well known statewide. She is a leader in the Therapeutic Recreation community in particular and her advocacy for our TR members will help us to better serve our them. Trisha has been a key leader on the IPRA board for several years, she has also been the IPRA Board liaison to the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation (IPRF) board for the last two years. She has been an integral part of our Salary Survey Task Force over the last few years and advocated strongly to make adjustments to this member benefit to add more jobs from the TR Community to the tool. Trisha has always been a detail-oriented board member who takes time to prepare, asks important questions, and weighs every vote with a careful eye for strategy, equity, and vision. I know her term of leadership will be a time of mission driven service to our members,” said Debbie Trueblood, IPRA executive director.