Half a century…nearly 50 years. That’s how long Parks Foundation of Hendricks County Board Member Leon Younger has been involved in the park and recreation industry. So, to say we are fortunate to have him as a board member would be an understatement. Not only does Leon bring decades of experience to PFOHC, but park and recreation work is truly his passion, and it shows!
“I started the Indy Parks Foundation when I was the Parks and Recreation Director some 28 years ago and have helped many other communities establish a parks foundation through my work, so I thought I should help the park foundation in the county where I live,” said Leon.
Leon has led park systems as a park and recreation director throughout the United States, including serving as the director of Indy Parks. Today, he lends his expertise to hundreds of parks departments through his firm, PROS Consulting. Over the last 25 years, PROS Consulting has worked with more than 1,400 park and recreation agencies across the US and five countries, helping communities manage their park systems in building system master plans, strategic plans, business plans, feasibility studies and operational plans. Leon believes all “great” cities and towns have excellent park systems.
“Having worked with so many communities in my career, I can honestly say that there are no “Great” cities or towns that don’t have great park systems that frame a community’s lifestyle, livability and connectedness. Parks, trails and community facilities frame lifestyles and how a community celebrates living in that community,” said Leon.
It’s also why Leon chooses to donate to PFOHC and other initiatives that support quality of life for families and community members.
“If you believe in the value of parks, open space, trails, community recreation facilities and what it brings to a community in livability then it starts with both public and private investments to make it work well in a community or the county,” said Leon. “Parks are here in perpetuity and there are very few government elements that can say that, so I feel the value of parks, trails and community facilities are worth the investment.”
When he’s not working on making our parks and trails better, you can find Leon enjoying park amenities with his six grandchildren. He especially loves the B&O Trail and has a vision that it will one day connect even further east and west and mimic the impact the Monon Trail has had on communities that run north and south through neighboring counties.
This July, Leon hopes you will join him in celebrating National Park & Recreation Month.
“Park and Recreation facilities during the summer months bring thousands of people and families together to enjoy the scenic beauty, activities, and trails that create lasting memories,” said Leon. “The celebration of our national parks and local parks helps to bring awareness and importance of these amenities in our daily lives and it is a good reminder of their value across our country whether it is a local, county, state or national park.”