July 4th is one of my favorite days of the year. I typically spend the day spending time outside with my friends and family, eating delicious cookout food, catching some baseball games, and of course watching my local firework display. As park and recreation professionals, you play a pivotal role in many of your community members’ July 4th festivities.
Growing up, my favorite part of July 4th was going to my local recreation department’s big Independence Day celebration. This got me thinking about all of the activity that goes on in our parks & facilities on and surrounding the 4th, and how they relate to wellness:
Spending time outside: Research has shown that spending time outside is beneficial to one’s health. Whether your community holds an annual Independence Day parade, festival, or firework display, there is no doubt that people are usually spending the holiday outdoors. If your department is holding an outdoor event, encourage attendees to stay hydrated and to use sun protection.
Fishing: July 4th is Free Fishing Day in North Carolina, meaning anyone can fish without a license for the day. While the act of fishing itself isn’t particularly strenuous, individuals are still spending time outdoors. Additionally, getting to where the fish are (via paddling, hiking, or biking) with fishing gear can be a good workout in itself! Encourage folks to come out and experience a free fishing day in your parks.
Cookouts: Cooking food on the grill can be healthier than many other methods of cooking! The trick is selecting healthy choices. Check out this link for some healthier ideas for July 4th celebrations. Your park may be experiencing a high number of shelter rentals for the holiday. Share some of these healthy recipes and tips in your facilities!
I hope you are able to promote wellness at your July 4th events! Have an awesome holiday.
Until next time,