September 19th, 2016
Fall has practically arrived! Athletics are in full swing, as well as the harvest of fall produce. With the change of the season, we can also look forward to a change in our weather. This change can make getting outside and active a lot more tolerable. This week's wellness blog will give you some ideas to experience fall fitness for yourself and your recreation programs.
Fall foliage is one of the most beautiful things our state has to offer. The autumnal colors of red, yellow, and brown make for something special and are a great opportunity for outdoor recreation programs. Promote fall foliage walks throughout your parks. Find out when the peak time of fall foliage is in your area using these maps, and spread the word. This can be done using flyers and social media posts. Have participants take pictures of their walk and share them with your department.
With the fall foliage comes the clean up of those leaves once they fall. This offers a unique, fun wellness activity. Try reaching out to local community groups such as boy & girl scout troops to get their help raking leaves. As a cub scout, I remember yearly trips to a local park to help out with the maintenance. This is a fun way to get outside and active, and has some surprising health benefits.
Visiting local family farms could also be an interesting wellness activity for fall. Whether it’s walking through a corn maze, or picking apples and pumpkins, these fall activities can offer fun wellness activities for the whole family. Some farms have volunteer opportunities for “gleaning” where volunteers can gather leftover produce after harvest. Try establishing partnerships with these family farms. These partnerships would be mutually beneficial for both your department and the farm. This could be a great field trip idea for fall track out camp programming! Your department could even work to establish a fall festival day at a family farm to get even more people there and active. For a list of pumpkin patch farms in your area, please use this map.
Fall produce is another great aspect of the season changing. I know that I have shared the North Carolina Produce Availability Chart in past posts, but this thing is truly amazing. Local produce is often cheaper, more readily available, and in my opinion tastes fresher. Apples, corn, and of course, pumpkins are some of the produce coming into season all across North Carolina. You may be able to get cheap produce to give out during your recreation programs. Take advantage of the season and stock up on all the produce fall has to offer!
If you are looking to spend more time outdoors during the fall, consider that the days are shorter and the nights are longer. Be sure that you are not caught out in the dark!