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Our Turley/NorthTulsa Park Receives Southwest Region Awards

On Feb. 29, both Ron Robinson, representing Turley and North Tulsa's A Third Place Community Foundation, and Linda Taylor, receiving a posthumous award for her many years at O'Brien Park and her community service with A Third Place and other organizations, both received awards at the Southwest Region Network conference of the National Recreation and Parks Association meeting in Houston, Texas. This followed on similar awards being received last fall on a statewide level.

Here is the award information used in introducing A Third Place and Linda Taylor during the Awards Dinner.:

Ron Robinson serves as a member of the O’Brien Park Advisory and Education Board, for the Tulsa County Parks and Recreation Department, Tulsa, OK.  Together with other community members Ron founded the “A Third Place Community Foundation and Community Center and Kitchen Garden Park.”  ‘Third Place’ is one of three places where community members find support and connections.  The “first place” being the home, the  “second place” may be work or a religious association and the “third place” represents community connections and diversity.

The group has purchased property and secured a grant to begin the Kitchen Garden Park. 
Linda Taylor, O’Brien Park Recreation Director for over 30 years, stated: “ Reverend Ron Robinson would never seek an award or recognition of any kind but there is no one that deserves it more.”

 The nomination for A Third Place and Ron said:
Since 2007, the projects have been many: providing meeting space for making new
friends, OU Community Medicine Center, a library, free internet center, food and
clothing pantry, art gallery, music concerts, game playing, festivals and celebrations,
saving pets of Turley, conservation and nutrition among others.
Then in 2011, he proposed a project that some thought was from a “crazy local
northsider” but he said,
“Consider this: at a bad economic time of recession, at a time when community centers
have been closed down in the lowest income areas, at a time when parks that are so
critical to the life and health of communities and families have had budgets slashed, at a
time when our state is dead last as the healthiest state - we have an opportunity to
connect incorporated and unincorporated urban neighborhoods of great ethnic and age
diversity in a place that is of the greatest poverty and lowest life expectancy in the Tulsa
With that challenge, the Third Place Community Foundation decided to BUY property!
And they also entered a contest.
Ron organized the group to participate in an online voting contest to win an orchard /
community garden. They won the vote and plans for the KitchenGardenPark
transformation began. Park preparation included cleanup of the site to clear trash and
debris from abandoned houses from one of the community's busiest thoroughfares
 to make room for the orchard and the garden beds. Besides the contest win of the 40 fruit
trees, Ron secured a $25,000.00 grant from Federal Home Loan Bank with the help of
Turley╩╝s Freedom Bank and the Tallgrass Resource Conservation District. The result is
the creation of a new place to grow healthy food together, meet and greet neighbors
and make connections to change the community for the better. State Representative Seneca Scott also partnered with the Third Place group and supports the development of the parks.

On June 26th, 2011, the Third Place Community Foundation was joined by the National
Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Edy's Fruit Bars, local media and community leaders for
the planting of the new orchard that was won in the national competition. The project
was called a “miracle among the ruins” and over time, as the orchard and
KitchenGardenPark grows, it is possible that food deserts and blight will be a thing of
the past in the Turley area.
Again Quoting Linda Taylor - Projects such as the KitchenGardenPark take a lot of
people but there is always someone who leads. Rev Ron Robinson is one of those who
leads selflessly and meets all criteria to receive an ORPS Citation for his leadership.
• A person who has made an outstanding contribution to the recreation, park or
conservation movement. Contribution may be in the form of supporting the movement
at all levels, serving as a board member, serving on a citizen's committee to raise funds.

About Linda Taylor's posthumous award designating her as a Distinquished Park Fellow:

Linda Taylor has a Bachelor's and a Masters Degree in Education. Before joining the
Recreation Profession, she was an educator and basketball coach.
She came to the Recreation Profession in 1976 as a Recreation Leader at O'Brien and quickly advanced to Activities Director. 

She chartered the O'Brien Advisory and Education Board, the longest running 501c3 support group in the County Park System.

For Tulsa County, she directed day camps, taught fitness classes, started gardens, lifeguarded,
arranged special events, organized basketball tournaments and even set up
boxing rings just to name a very few of her activities. Linda has been involved politically
as a liaison between her community. She has worked with State Representative Senaca
Scott through her activities in her community.
State Rep Jabar Shumate was was one of Linda's "kids" growng up at the Center.
When Rep Shumate was told about this nomination he said, “Linda is a
wonderful person and I admire her very much. I would like to assist in her receiving this
recognition. ” Besides her community involvement, Linda has also served on the
boards of the Tulsa chapters of Business and Professional Women and the American
Association of University Women.
Linda has been an Oklahoma Recreation and Park Society member since 1977. She
has served on several committees and as President and Historian. ORPS Sponsored
the Owasso - Catoosa Half Marathon during her tenure as Ways and Means committee
chair. On behalf of ORPS, she has assisted with the booth and introduced speakers at
the Oklahoma Municipal League Conference. She brought her environmental
stewardship to the ORPS conference when she was conference coordinator by
involving the Tulsa Metropolitan Environmental Trust recycling program. Linda was one
of the first to use the 1980
╩╝s NRPA “Life. Be in it.” marketing promotion and still has
the clip art characters from that program. In fact, one of the multi-use rooms 
at the Park has a wall mural of “Life. Be in it.” characters. She has been an avid supporter of National certification programs,
receiving the CLP (Certified Leisure Professional) in 1984
and remains certified as a CPRP (Certified Parks and Recreation Professional).
However, she is very proud of the CLP because as she puts it - “how many leisure
professionals are there? We are a unique group of people”
Linda is definitely unique. In the past, when ORPS socials consisted of Costumes, Linda
was the director of award winning skits. If you saw her you cannot forgot her as the
leopard woman in the “Kiss” Rock Group, winning a hula hoop contest and recruiting
Eddie Shackleford and Matt Meyer to wear tights and walk on their knees to portray
dwarfs in the “Just Say HO” take off of Snow White's story--with Jimmy Foster as Snow
 White. Many conference rehearsals were held in Linda's cabin at Western Hills. And 

when it came to the ORPS dances, many many times, Linda was the last one on the
dance floor.
Linda meets every criteria of the Distinguished Professional recognition.
• Over 10 years ORPS membership
• Over 10 years experience as leader, supervisor, administrator, professional member,
• Current Registered Society Member
• Multiple Contributions to the ORPS and NRPA
• Distinctive Leadership in pioneer activities for parks and recreation
• Outstanding service to the profession through arts, crafts, physical education, sports,
health and safety education, park maintenance and horticulture
• Fine moral character
• Elected officer of ORPS
• Multiple board work in ORPS and community agencies
• ORPS committee work
• Participation in professional conference
• Original contributions which has affected the philosophy of ORPS
No one is more passionate about Parks and Recreation and Education than Linda and
certainly no one is more deserving of the Distinguished Professional Award than her

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