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1956 Society

Legacy of the Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute

Members of the Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute have been making the annual trek to Oklahoma since 1956. Created to serve practitioners in the parks and recreation field, the Institute has strengthened itself through the years because it is an agent for evolution within its steadfast mission, providing institutional stability without squelching needed change.

In 1965, Dr. James W. Kitchen took over the role of program chairman. With Dr. Kitchen’s leadership and Dorothy Bentley’s assistance, the Institute flourished in a time when the need for parks and recreation services and an awareness of our natural resources was rapidly expanding.

The current logo for Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute symbolizes the migration of birds to the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was always one of the late Dr. Kitchen’s favorite places to visit. Rich in history and success, the Institute continues to promote educational opportunities and career enrichment for parks and recreation professionals as they flock to Oklahoma each year.

All organizations transition with various changes over time. Only through the study of history can people really see and grasp the reasons behind these changes, and only through history can we understand what elements of an institution, or a society, continue regardless of continual change. History helps us to understand present-day issues by asking deeper questions as to why things are the way they are. History can help provide us with a sense of identity.

The Institute recently entered into an agreement with Texas Tech University to archive the many documents and photos that had been collected and stored. The institute is now undertaking an initiative to formally document our history in the form of a professionally produced book.

Please help us preserve the Institute’s history and traditions with your donation to the legacy fund and become a 1956 Society Member, or a Legacy Guild Member.

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