Public Health/Parks & Recreation Summit 2020
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For the Sake of Gen Z - Shaping the Future of Health

When: Friday, February 28, 2020
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Where: Bison Ridge Recreation Center
13905 E. 112th St
Commerce City, Colorado  80022
United States
Contact: Jo Burns

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For the Sake of Gen Z - Shaping the Future of Health

They’re a whole new generation! Digitally savvy, never known a time without smart phones, meme obsessed, insightful, highly concerned about safety, calculated and thoughtful when taking risks and incredibly inclusive. This year we are bringing together Gen Z youth advisors and those who serve them to talk about the future of health. (If you have teens and young adults in your programs, centers, or clinics…that’s you.) We’re going to open the box on e-cigarettes, gaming, memes (maybe create a couple), digital connectedness and social isolation, pressures of social media and getting this generation outside.  Come be part of the conversations.

(Session descriptions and full agenda to come.)

Cost: $15 professionals, $5 students; includes lunch
(up to 5 volunteers can attend for FREE for working the whole day - includes lunch. Contact Jo Burns for more information).


Registration - Networking/Coffee and Tea Snack Break sponsored by MDH Law Group                                                             



Welcome and warmup activity

Jo Burns, PHPR Collaborative; Derrick Tripp, City of Commerce City and Carolyn Keith, Director Parks and Recreation

Meadows Park Action Coalition (MPAC) Leaders

9:10am- 9:55am - Keynote Speakers

“You are enough”: Increasing youth and adult belonging

Heather Kennedy, Center for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health and Nariah Smith, UpRISE

Description: Brene Brown says, “belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us”. However, in today’s fast paced, FOMO, success-driven, politically divisive world, both youth and adults feel disconnected. We are experiencing the consequences of this disconnection. In Colorado we have seen a dramatic rise in youth nicotine use and addiction, suicide is a leading cause of death for 12-24 year olds, and youth report feeling sad or hopeless far too often. Through stories, data, and poetry, we hope to shed light onto disconnection and provide strategies for youth and adults so they can enhance belonging in their homes, schools, and communities.

10:00am - 10:45am 

Lessons from a Black Girl - Adventures in Creating Safe Spaces for Youth of Color

Victoria Harwell, Denver Public Health Youth Advocacy Committee

Description: It is time to have a conversation about the adverse health effects that both stereotype threat and stress due to systemic racism has on youth of color. Once understanding the health effects of unintentional exclusive spaces, we can begin to talk about solutions. Our round table conversation will promote ways to create and integrate inclusive spaces for the youth of color.


Healthy Snack Break - Snack Break sponsored by MDH Law Group


11:00am- 11:45am 

What it’s Like Being Gen Z?!?

Brian Kates, Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation, Kevyn Glanton, Richie Harris and AJ Nelson, Meadows Park Action Coalition (MPAC) 

Description: Members of the Meadows Park Action Coalition (MPAC), all teenagers and members of the Gen-Z generation, will share vignettes pertaining to life as a teen in 2020, particularly as it relates to health, wellness and quality of life. Interactive in nature, time will be devoted throughout the presentation to field questions from and to engage with the audience on this and related topics.

11:50am - 12:20pm 

Promoting authentic connection: How fostering a relationship with nature can support the mental health of our youth

Julia Senecal, Institute for Human - Animal Connection and Kristen Greenwald, Mind Springs Health

Description: Learn and explore practical applications of the One Health approach and engage attendees in thinking critically about how the health and well-being of the environment and non-human animals is intrinsically linked to the mental health of our GenZ youth. Presenters will explore the importance of supporting our youth in building meaningful connections with the natural environment, and how this may translate to an increase in empathy, prosocial behavior, and feelings of belonging. This presentation will introduce the pedagogy and practice of humane education, and how it may be incorporated into participants’ programming as a mental health intervention to foster empathy, connection, and subsequently address significant issues facing our youth, including bullying, substance use, violence, climate change, suicide, anxiety, trauma, and depression.


Lunch & Networking ~ Catered by Mod Market   Sponsored by Tobacco Free 303

Get Moving Walk or Facility Tour 


Leveraging community partners and youth voice in tobacco prevention and cessation

Vanessa St Clair and Gretchen Smith, Boulder County Public Health; Naomi Amaha-Gollnick, American Heart Association 

Description: The latest data show that more than 1 in 5 high school students are using e-cigarettes (compared to approximately 1 in 10 just two years ago). At the local level, this data can be even higher. This session will bring together The American Heart Association and Boulder County Public Health’s Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership to present information on: the youth vaping epidemic, products and industry marketing tactics, and resources are available to help youth quit. This presentation will incorporate youth perspective and provide opportunities for the audience to discuss how Parks and Recreation and Public Health can partner to reduce youth prevalence of tobacco products by engaging in system and policy-level change and increasing access to cessation supports. 

2:25 - 3:10pm 

Youth and Social Media - Trends, Triumphs & Cat Memes

Jonathan Judge, Rise Above Colorado

Description: This session will explore the ways in which social media impacts teens and their health, sparking conversation to balance both the hope and concern inherent in this ever-evolving technology.

3:10 - 3:25pm 

Hokey Pokey/GenZJam and Networking Break

3:25 - 4:25pm 

Building the Foundation of our Future Today

Colter DeWitt and Alex Romero - Pueblo County Public Health/Communities That Care

Description: A double showcase and narrative of two projects in Pueblo County that empowered youth and the community to become healthier, connected citizens - as well as how the work can be replicated by attendees through engagement activities. Youth are already leaders - let's get to work.


Closing Remarks by Colorado PHPR Collaborative – Jo Burns and Derrick Tripp 

4:30pm - ??

Social and Networking – Location TBD

PHPR Summit Partners and Sponsors: City of Commerce City, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Parks and Recreation Association, GreenPlay/GP RED, Jo Burns Consulting, MDH Law Group, Tobacco Free 303 and Tri County Health Department

Share your photos and experiences on #PHPRSummit


CoPHPR Collaborative Website

Event Sponsors