As a profession we often focus on the economic impact parks & recreation has on a community. But that is just a small piece of how our jobs can change lives and impact communities .
- Photo courtesy of Burlington Recreation & Parks
Did you know Operations and Capital Spending at Local and Regional Parks in NC created just over $3 Billion in economic activity in 2013 and supported 26,278 jobs in our state? The Economic Impact of Local Parks* study, provides estimates of the direct, indirect and induced effects of local and regional park agency spending on the economy. The spending in the study includes both annual operations and capital expenditures. The report includes estimates of economic output, value added (i.e., GDP), employment and labor income. This study allows us to quantify what this profession does in our state. NRPA has worked to put a numeric value on what we do. Thank you NRPA!
But our impact is more than just dollars and cents right?
Is it Increased self-esteem for youth participants?
What about better physical fitness for people of all ages?
Cleaner air and water?
It is all of those things, and so much more!
I’m pretty sure if I were to ask each of you how you make an impact in your community, I would find some similarities in answers. I also think there would be some unique answers which hold special meaning to just you.
The truth of this question is that we probably only know a small amount of the impact we have. There are so many untold stories of how a person’s life has been positively changed by this profession. The next time you are at one of your programs or facilities, take a moment and look at the people. Look at their faces. Notice the smiles. That is a result of positive impact.
While it may seem we are always focused on the economic impact of what we do for our communities, we cannot discount the everyday things we do as park and recreation professionals that enhance the quality of life for the people we serve.
Never forget this profession allows you the opportunity to give smiles. And when the stresses of the job seem overwhelming, look for the smiles and remember the passion you have for this profession!
*The Economic Impact of Local Parks, commissioned by NRPA and conducted by George Washington University – http://www.nrpa.org/parkeconreport/