meet the staff

APRA supports over 2,500 members across the state of Arizona, with only two full time staff members. Thankfully, the association and staff are supported by countless volunteers, dedicated to the execution of events and programming; without them, success would not be possible.  

Executive Director

Kade Nelson

Kade is an accomplished professional with a background in recreation management and event coordination. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Parks, Recreation, Tourism, from the University of Utah and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP). Kade has served in pivotal roles throughout his career in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors and is eager to bring his diverse skill-set to the role of Executive Director.

Most recently Kade served as the Young Professional Chair for the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association (APRA) and worked for the Town of Fountain Hills as the Senior Recreation Coordinator. He considers himself fortunate to have been a part of the incredible team there that won the National Gold Medal in Parks and Recreation in 2022. During his time in Fountain Hills his sport programs were recognized with APRA awards in both 2021 and 2022.

As an avid Arizona sports fan, you will find Kade rooting for the Valley and playing a variety of sports in his free time. Kade also loves to travel and explore new places with his wife and their one year old daughter.

Deputy Director

Krista VanderMolen

As the Deputy Director for Arizona Parks and Recreation Association, Krista supports special projects, programming, daily operations, and membership.

She has enjoyed 17 years in education, serving as teacher, club sponsor, camp director, dean of students and assistant principal. She has taught and mentored hundreds of students as they navigated their way through academics, activities and the many social-emotional aspects of the high school experience. 

Krista considers herself a people-person with strong organizational skills and attention to detail, which served her well in her transition into municipal government. Prior to joining APRA back in 2018, Krista worked in Gila Bend as the Project Coordinator in Community Development working with homeowners, businesses and contractors to build a stronger Gila Bend and then as Director of Parks and Recreation, successfully engaging residents through well executed special events, celebrations and experiential play. 

Her educaton includes a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations, a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Secondary Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration. 

Krista has a love for horticulture; currently designing her own small backyard oasis. She has a penchant and talent for all things DIY and hopes to one day open an Etsy shop.

12950 N 7th Street  |  Phoenix AZ 85022


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software