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The NC Recre8'er - is the Blog for NC Recreation and Parks Professionals. We will feature posts from NCRPA members and staff about all the latest news, insights and tips in our field and around the state. Topics will include but are not limited to: Health and Wellness, Outdoor Recreation, Athletics, Advocacy, Aquatics, Therapeutic Recreation, Special Events, Marketing, Parks and Greenways, Cultural Resources and more! If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact Matt at NCRPA or 919-832-5868. The opinions of The NC Recre8'er (NCRPA) blog contributors don't necessarily reflect the editorial position of North Carolina Recreation and Park Association as a whole.


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Winter Fitness!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5th, 2016


Happy December! December brings cooler temperatures and maybe even wintry precipitation to our North Carolina forecast. Personally, I love this wintry change but know others do not share the same sentiments. Planning recreation activities for the winter can be tough with the limitation of outdoor facilities. This wellness blog will give you some fun ways to stay fit during the winter.


Cooler temperatures bring the chance for your department to try some cool and unique winter-themed programs. A number of our departments have had winter programs featuring ice skating rinks & even artificial snow. These programs are fun for a wide range of people and promote active communities.


According to Orthopedic surgeon Angela Smith from, ice skating builds muscles, boosts balance, flexibility, quickness, and agility. There’s also health benefits from playing in the snow! Both sledding and other traditional snow activities burn calories and are fun ways to get people active in the colder weather.


Artificial snow is a great option for providing the required snow when the weather’s not cooperating. Many of our departments who hold snowy events use an artificial snow company named Snow My Yard. At these events snow is usually set up on a hill for sledding, or in a field for other snow activities. Even some of our departments from the coast have success with artificial snow! If your department is located near a ski resort, establish a contact with them. You could potentially hold partner events where more people can have fun in the snow.


The winter is also a time for some of my favorite outdoor activities. Birdwatching is made a bit easier against the backdrop of bare trees. Hiking the same old trails offer exciting new views in the winter when the leaves have fallen. Check out your department trails for any neat sights that are more easily viewed when the leaves have fallen. If you discover any new sights, make sure you post photos and distribute information to let your community know!


It’s very important to stay warm while participating in outdoor activities during the winter. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who do not have the means to obtain winter coats and other clothing. In order to help alleviate this problem, try holding a department winter coat drive. If you are holding some sort of winter event, set up collection containers at the entrance gates and encourage the community to bring their used winter coats.


There are some great resources online to assist in the planning and promotion of winter coat drives. This how-to from AARP gives a step-by-step plan for establishing a coat drive.


Indoor activities also make for a great option, especially in the winter. In September, the NCRPA Wellness Blog discussed online fitness. The post has some good options for utilizing whatever small space your department may have open to conduct online guided workout classes.

Hopefully, this wellness blog has given you some tips on how to make the most out of the colder weather that winter brings. Encourage your communities to stay safe and get outside this winter!


Until next time,


Tags:  #NCRecre8  NCRPA Wellness  wellness 

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YPN Blog: December 2016

Posted By TJ McCourt, Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, Thursday, December 1, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Everything You Need to Know about Generational Differences in the Workplace (...or Not)

Are you a Millennial?

 If you are like me, you bristle at this label.

But, if you are like me, you were born between 1981 and 1997 and that means—at least according to the criteria adopted by the Pew Research Center—that you are a bona fide, card-carrying member of the Millennial generation.

Of course, you have heard this before. How could you have avoided it?

There have been innumerable articles, op-eds, blog posts, and think-pieces devoted to the apparently inscrutable task of dissecting the Millennial mind. Entire consulting firms are dedicated to the (absurdly lucrative) business of helping employers figure out who we are, what we want, and how to get us to do good work. As a Young Professional yourself, it is likely that you have been recruited as a subject matter expert on the ubiquitous question, “What do Millennials think about ______?”

What do all of those consultants, the litany of expert opinions, and your personal views have in common? They are all essentially useless in determining anything about the individuals they purport to diagnose.

Labels are convenient. Like all theoretical models of reality, they are heuristic: they can help us navigate otherwise dauntingly complex situations, providing a cognitively efficient means of reaching a conclusion without having to go through the trouble of considering all the pesky details of the real world.

Labels are also fallible. When we use heuristics, it is important to keep in mind that we are taking an intellectual short-cut, which means we risk making false assumptions or overlooking subtle truths. Hopefully, it goes without saying that there is a whole host of potential errors and downright insidious results that can follow from making assumptions about individuals based on the class or group to which we assign them.

When it comes to making assumptions about our coworkers, bosses, or employees based on when they were born, the potential consequences are mostly benign. But when we habitually rely on generational labels to tell us something we want to know about somebody else, we risk more than just reaching the wrong conclusion. We risk missing out on the opportunity to get to know somebody as an individual.

The truth is, there is no silver bullet for effectively communicating with a Baby Boomer, or for understanding the motivations of a Gen-X’er, or for managing the emotions of a Millennial.

Some people prefer e-mail, some prefer meeting face-to-face. Some people thrive on collaboration; some work better on their own. Some people can only be persuaded with data, and some will not connect with an idea unless you have a personal anecdote to back it up.

None of these details can be found on a person’s birth certificate.

The sooner we stop relying on generational platitudes to give us quick-fixes and canned answers, the sooner we can get on with the business of actually getting to know each other.

The key to succeeding in an intergenerational workplace cannot be reduced to a pithy list of truisms or a 500-word blog post. Success requires taking the time to get to know the people you work with for who they are, as individuals.

Call it old-fashioned. Call it innovative. Maybe there is not much of a difference between the two, after all.

Meet the Author

TJ McCourt is a planner with the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department. He holds a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida as well as an M.A. in Urban Planning from Harvard University. TJ’s professional work involves analyzing the Parks Department’s goals and priorities from a systems perspective—exploring how parks, recreation, and open space fit into a broader context of city planning, community development, public health, and natural resource conservation. Personal fun-facts: TJ is an avid player of pseudo-sports (such as spikeball, pickleball, and goaltimate), regularly relies on the kindness of strangers, and isn’t really a big fan of cake.

TJ can be reached at 919-996-6079 or

If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at or 919-832-5868

Tags:  generational differences  Millennials  NCRPA  young professionals 

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Wellness Update: November

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Here is a quick review of our wellness content from November:


First, the NCRPA Wellness blog discussed North Carolina's food insecurity issue and ways our departments can help in providing food security for all. Next, we discussed establishing partners in park prescription programs. Thanksgiving rolled around, and the blog covered some tips on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving. We finished the month with guest blogger Dr. Marissa Tomasic, a psychologist who discussed how the outdoors promote health and well-being.


November also featured an exciting new wellness webinar! Culinary health coach Dilip Barman covered basics about healthy eating and developing cooking & nutrition programs in your department. To view a recording of this webinar, please visit our NCRPA Vimeo page.


I hope that you have enjoyed the content of the NCRPA Wellness Initiative thus far!  If you would like to contribute to any wellness content in the future, we are always looking to showcase new voices. Feel free to email me at with any inquiries.


Until next time,



Tags:  wellness update 

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The Great Outdoors and the Promotion of Health and Wellbeing

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 28, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2016

By: Marisa M. Tomasic, Ph.D.


The Great Outdoors and the Promotion of Health and Wellbeing


Lovers of the outdoors already know the power of nature in promoting relaxation, harmony, and inner peace.  It really comes as no surprise to most of us that being outside connecting with nature is uplifting and energizing. What you might not realize, however, is that science is backing up what we already know; the great outdoors has the capacity to fix, or at least improve, much of what ails us! Researchers in the areas of emotional health and well being have been investigating the ways in which nature works to lessen stress, reduce anxiety, and promote greater happiness.


Research continues to document the positive role that exercise not only plays in our physical health, but in our mental health and overall wellbeing as well.  Choosing the outdoors as the setting for our physical activity appears to offer some exciting and noteworthy health benefits. According to Prevention (2012), taking our exercise and other daily activities outside is a great way to experience these perks. The article further cites the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology’s (2010) finding that merely participating in five minutes of outdoor physical activity can supercharge our mood. Imagine only having to spend minutes in order to reap quality rewards!


Additionally, Fortune (2015), points to a study conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies which suggested that better physical, mental, and brain health are promoted by vacationing or residing near parks and green areas, which has implications for urban planning and development.  The Harvard Health Letter (2010) shared several top reasons for getting outside and experiencing nature:

  • higher levels of Vitamin D produced from sunlight exposure, which can promote better physical and mental health

  • more movement and physical activity, also associated with improved physical and mental health

  • enhanced mood

  • better focus and concentration

  • speedier recovery from certain surgeries


North Carolinians, as well as visitors and vacationers to our extraordinary state are fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful state and numerous state and national parks.  There’s plenty of time left this year to get out, get moving, and take in the splendor and health benefits of what our park system has to offer.  Perhaps the arrival of the coming new year will inspire us to connect with the outdoors and be our healthiest selves!


Meet the Author

Marisa McMillian Tomasic, Ph.D., was born and raised in Mount Airy, North  Carolina, and is currently a psychologist and freelance writer in Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania.  She is the mother of two and loves the beach, the Carolina  Tar Heels, and spending time with  family.  


If you are interested in being a guest author for the Wellness Blog, please contact Diquan at or 919-832-5868

Tags:  guest blog  ncrpa  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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Healthy Thanksgiving!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! The big turkey day is only a few days away! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. It does not get any better than spending time with friends & family, watching football, and eating delicious food. Thanksgiving also reminds me of all I have to be thankful for. With all the delicious food that Thanksgiving involves, it can be a challenge to stay healthy. This wellness blog will give you some tips on staying healthy during Thanksgiving.

Most dieticians maintain that the average Thanksgiving Day dinner is around 3,000 calories. This figure is way over the recommended caloric intake for an average individual for all meals in a day. Although this one day of over consumption of turkey and gravy will likely not be too detrimental to your overall health, there are some tactics you can use to minimize the damage further.

  1. Plan physical activity into your Thanksgiving Day traditionsThis physical activity can be as organized as your local  Turkey Trot, or as informal as a family walk before or after your meal. Even something as fun as an annual family (or friends) football game to get in the Thanksgiving mood can be a great way to get moving. The most important thing is to do an activity to get your blood flowing and to burn some calories.

  2. Try not to skip breakfast on the big day. Instead eat a light, healthy breakfast to start your day. Skipping breakfast (and meals in general) can lead to overeating later in the day.

  3. Eat your meal slowly. Eating slowly can help in a couple of different ways. First, research has shown that eating slowly will help you savor your meal - leaving your more satisfied at the end.  Eating slowly also helps you recognize when you are full with less of a chance of overeating.

  4. Eat everything… in moderation. Thanksgiving is a time of indulge. It is often the only time of year to eat experience certain foods. This is why I would like to encourage you to eat in moderation. Instead of a whole slice of pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie, try a half slice of each. This tactic will hopefully allow you to enjoy all of your favorite foods, without overeating.

  5. Instead of just the food, focus on the meaning of Thanksgiving. Spending time with friends and family and reflecting on what you have to be thankful for should not be overlooked. If you make these things the main focus of your day with the food being a backdrop, you may come out of the day even more fulfilled.

If your department is having a Thanksgiving celebration, try adopting some of these practices. You can still promote wellness in the workplace, while enjoying all that Thanksgiving has to offer. I hope you all have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time,


Tags:  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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ParkRx: Partnerships

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 14, 2016
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016

Park Prescription: Partnership

The National ParkRx Initiative is currently hosting a three-part webinar series about creating and sustaining park prescription programs in your department. I recently attended part one: partnership of this series and found the information extremely interesting. Today’s wellness blog will detail some of what I learned from attending this webinar.

In case you are unfamiliar with park prescription programs, I want to first cover the basics. According to the National Park Rx Initiative, “Park prescriptions are programs designed in collaboration among public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners to encourage people to utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health.”

Put in simpler terms, medical providers can prescribe individuals suffering from ailments including obesity, depression, anxiety, stress, social isolation, chronic disease, and inactivity  to spend time outdoors in their local parks in an effort to help cure the issues. The health benefits of park prescription are bountiful, and are discussed here.

In order for park prescriptions to be effective, good partnerships have to be established. Incorporating medical professionals like doctors, public health departments, medical groups & practices, and hospitals is vital to the success of your program  for a few key reasons:

  1. Medical professionals need to believe that the parks they are sending their patients to are safe, well run, and that the programs will be beneficial to their health.

  2. Medical professionals reach and identify potential candidates for park prescription programs and refer them to your department.

  3. Collaboration from medical professionals in the planning phase of park prescription programs will allow for more of a commitment in actually referring patients to the program.

For even more reasons why partnerships are necessary when establishing a park prescription program, please click this link.

If your department is interested in establishing a park prescription program, there are a few tips to help you create partnerships with local medical groups.

  • Compile materials to distribute to medical professionals.

  • Get creative when looking for potential medical provider partners

    • Use the internet, phonebook, and word-of-mouth when finding medical providers to partner with.

    • University medical programs, local hospitals, and private practices can be potential partners.

The webinar also stressed the importance of finding a “champion” in the medical profession. This champion should be an individual passionate about park prescription programs, and an advocate for the adoption of similar practices. Once found, this medical provider champion can be a great resource in recruiting other medical providers to try your program.

Park prescriptions are something that I have become increasingly interested in. In the future, I hope to dive deeper into park prescription programs and provide you with resources, potential partners, and more information on how to start a program. If your department has or is planning to start a park prescription program, I would love to find out more information. Please email me at to share!

Until next time,


Tags:  NCRPA Wellness 

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Food Security For All

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 7, 2016

Happy November! Believe it or not, we are just over two weeks away from Thanksgiving. With the holiday season upon us, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some ways your department can help combat against North Carolina’s food insecurity issue. This wellness blog will give your department some ideas on how to help provide healthy food access to everyone in your community.

According to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks, one out of four children in North Carolina are food insecure. This is an alarming statistic and ranks North Carolina as one of the highest percentages in the nation. The same source states that “Approximately 160,000 different people in NC receive emergency food assistance in any given week.”

With food insecurity being such an immense problem in North Carolina, a department sponsored food drive could help provide your local food banks with supplies to distribute out to those who need them the most.

One idea for food drive collection is to encourage program participants to bring nonperishable food items to your programs. If you are running any athletic leagues, consider holding a food donation day. Set collection bins near the entrance of your facility, and encourage attendees to bring a food item upon entry. Make sure you utilize your program instructors, coaches, and staff to advertise this donation day.

There are a lot of great resources out there to help in planning a food drive. The North Carolina 4-H Youth Development office put together a great toolkit with a compilation of resources and appropriate steps to take when developing a food drive.

Another idea to help provide food relief to members of your community is to hold a department volunteer day. Although programs are in full swing, volunteering for a good cause can be very rewarding and a great way to build chemistry among your staff. Find a local food pantry or soup kitchen, and reach out to set up a department volunteer trip.

The NCRPA Wellness Toolkit provides some additional ideas on how to offer accessible healthy food to your community. To learn how to provide healthy cooking and nutrition classes for your department, click this link.  Another great resource on the wellness toolkit is our community garden page. Community gardens can be a great way to provide accessible, healthy food for all.

The holiday season is a perfect time to begin initiatives to help combat against food insecurity in North Carolina. Hopefully, the resources provided in this blog can help you start a new food security program, or improve upon an existing one.

Until next time,

Diquan Edmonds

Tags:  Health and Wellness  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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Wellness Update: October

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Thursday, November 3, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Here is a quick review of our wellness content from October:


October was Health Literacy Month, a topic that our wellness blog covered in the first week of October. Then, we covered Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina and their quarterly team meeting. The NC State Fair rolled into town, and the wellness blog discussed ways to stay healthy at the fair or any carnival event. Next, we covered ways to stay healthy while traveling to a conference or any work event. Finally, the blog celebrated Halloween and some creative ways to use all of that leftover Halloween Candy.


I hope that you have enjoyed the content of the NCRPA Wellness Initiative thus far!  If you would like to contribute to any wellness content in the future, we are always looking to showcase new voices. Feel free to email me at with any inquiries.

Until next time,


Tags:  Wellness 

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YPN Blog: November 2016

Posted By Jared Mull, Transylvania County Parks and Recreation, Thursday, November 3, 2016
Updated: Friday, October 21, 2016

Hello, Young Professionals!

My name is Jared Mull, and I am a Recreation Manager with Transylvania County. I am the guest blogger for the November installment of the Young Professionals Blog. My post will discuss getting involved with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA).

NCRPA has been a part of my life since I entered the parks and recreation field full-time in 2010.  I was fortunate to begin my work with the City of Kannapolis, which had leadership that believed in the value of NCRPA and being involved as much as possible.  I talk about me being fortunate because finding a department that believes in professional development and NCRPA will help make gaining their support of you being involved with the Association much easier.

Why Be Involved?

1.  You get to learn and network with the best.  Take a look at who is on the board and who holds different leadership roles within NCRPA, and you’ll quickly see that these are typically executive management professionals with a genuine passion for what they do.  They are the best at what they do and getting to spend time working with them will only make you better.

2.  Let’s be honest…your resume likely looks like every other young professional's resume.  You have a Bachelor’s degree, possibly a Master’s degree, an internship, and you’re likely just starting your first full-time job.  What are you doing that will separate you from other young professionals that may apply for the next job that you want?  Adding NCRPA volunteer experience to your resume and holding different leadership positions will not only enhance your resume but will give you an edge over your peers.  NCRPA allows you to take on leadership roles that you likely aren’t getting with your current job if you are not yet at a supervisor level.

How to Be Involved

There are several ways to get involved with NCRPA.  I started out just attending region meetings and other NCRPA functions, so I could get a feel for what it is all about and see if it was something that I was interested in.  I’ll definitely forget some ways to be involved, but below are some ideas for young professionals that are looking to get their feet wet with NCRPA:

  • Present at a state conference.  I realize that for some of you this may take you out of your comfort zone, but you get to speak on an area of parks and recreation that you are passionate and knowledgeable about.  I presented on fantasy football impacting parks and recreation back in 2012, and I didn’t get booted off the stage so you have nothing to worry about!
  • Be a room host at state conference. 
  • Join NRPA and NCRPA Young Professional Network.  If it is something that you enjoy, try to then take a leadership position within the network.
  • Volunteer and nominate yourself to be on a NCRPA committee.
  • Region involvement.  I’m a big proponent of work that can be done within your geographic region.  Strive to be an active member in the region through attending meetings, networking events, and improving communication.
  • Contact NCRPA.  Let Michelle, Matt, and Wanda know some of your interests and time availability, and they will likely have some type of way for you to be involved.

Ultimately, you are the only one that chooses your personal and professional goals for your career.  If you are looking for ways to grow as a young professional and separate yourself from your peers, I can think of no better way to do so than to start getting involved with NCRPA.

 Meet the Author

Jared Mull is a Recreation Manager with Transylvania County Parks and Recreation. Jared was born and raised in Brevard, NC and received his B.S. degree in Recreation from Southern Wesleyan University and M.S. degree in Recreation Management from High Point University. Jared has previously worked for the City of Kannapolis and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation in various roles. Jared is responsible for the management of the recreation division including budget, athletics, special events, recreation programs, contracted instructors, and strategic planning. Some of Jared’s favorite things are: Food – Mexican, Hobby - Fantasy football and lifting weights, and spending time with his wife Jennifer and two boxers Max & Molly.

 Jared can be reached at 828-884-3156 or

If you are interested in being a guest author for the YPN Blog, please contact Nicole at or 919-832-5868

Tags:  involvement  NCRPA  young professionals 

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Healthy Halloween!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31st, 2016

Happy Halloween! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Dressing up in my costume and going trick-or-treating in my neighborhood will always be cherished memories. This wellness blog will give your department some tips to encourage healthy Halloween behaviors.

One way to get kids out and active for Halloween is to hold a Halloween walk. Pick a route in your town and encourage the community to come out to trick-or-treat. Set up stops along the route to hand out Halloween goodies. It is important to be strategic when choosing Halloween treats - with a mix of small sized candies but also non-food items such as toys. This can be a great opportunity to utilize your parks and trail systems, while getting people out and walking.  Last year, I had the pleasure of working the Town of Morrisville’s Trick-or-Treat the Trail event and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of steps I logged on my Apple Watch.

Halloween buy-back programs can also be a great way to encourage healthy Halloween habits in your community. After trick-or-treating, kids usually have way more candy than they can eat. This leftover candy can linger and cause over consumption. Halloween buy-back programs are typically used by dentist offices, but I think the concept can be translated to parks and recreation departments. A Halloween buy-back program in your department could work like this:

  • Leftover and unopened Halloween candy is brought into a specific location, between a window of dates

    • Chose a community center, park, or even your main office

  • Candy is weighed and assigned a “value” by the department

    • This “value” could be a discount from a town program, an exchange for a toy, or any other prize you see fit.

    • The weight of the candy designates how many prizes a child can receive, up to a predetermined amount

  • “Bought” candy gets donated and distributed for a good cause

The kids who sell-back candy leave with a prize, and the satisfaction that their leftover candy is being put to good use.

The concept of Halloween buy-back programs can also be applied to your department on a whole. If you have leftover candy from any Halloween events, donation can be a great way to make someone else’s day.

A major way to make Halloween healthier is a change of thinking. Halloween does not have to be all about candy. Instead, focus on fun Halloween games, costume, and healthy treats/non food prizes during your Halloween programs. Halloween crafts can also be a great way to get kids active and involved in the spirit of Halloween, without the unhealthy candy. I hope this helps you in planning your Halloween events for this year and in the future!

Until next time,


Tags:  ncrpa wellness  wellness 

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Conference 2016 Wellness Tips

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 24, 2016
Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 24th, 2016


In honor of our conference, this week’s wellness blog focuses on how to stay healthy when you are away from home.  These five conference wellness tips will allow you make the most out of your time in Charlotte!

  1. Utilize your hotel fitness room! Hit those treadmills for a few minutes before starting your day at conference. You would be surprised at how many health benefits just 30 minutes on a treadmill can burn. Both of our conference hotel locations offer fitness rooms for you to conquer this. Waking up a little earlier to walk on the treadmill in the morning will help you get your day started off the right way.

  2.  Get out and explore some of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County parks! Charlotte-Mecklenburg County has over 200 parks and facilities. Carve out some time from your busy conference schedule to get out and take a walk in a park of your choosing. For a list of all of the parks in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, please click this link.

  3. Take a stretch break in between conference sessions. Use this time to stretch those muscles and walk around. Stretching is important to do throughout the day, and it gets the blood flowing throughout your body. For some more information on the health benefits of stretching, and some tips to maximize your stretching, please check out this article.

  4. Make sure to get a full-night's sleep! This will give you more energy throughout the day. Determine what time you need to wake up to make the most out of conference, and plan accordingly the night before. It is recommended by doctors that the average adult needs 7.5-8 hours of sleep every night.

  5. Make healthy food choices! Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables everyday while at conference. If you have any fruits and vegetables at home, bring them along! They will serve as easy snacks to save money and incorporate some freshness into your hotel diet. Also, most restaurants offer menu guides on the healthy food options they offer. Use these to make healthy choices when eating out.

I hope these tips help you make healthy choices while at conference. I look forward to meeting you all during the next few days.

Until next time,


Tags:  Wellness bulletin 

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Being Healthy at the NC State Fair!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, October 17th


It’s finally State Fair time! If you did not know, the North Carolina State fair opened up in Raleigh on October 13th. The fair is a glorious display of everything North Carolina has to offer, and people from around the whole state come to the capital to partake in the festivities. A very unique cuisine can be found at the fair, including everything you can possibly imagine deep fried. This got me thinking about the wellness initiative, and how your program field trips to the fair, local carnivals, or amusement parks can encourage your communities to stay healthy.

One way to avoid overeating at a fair is to eat before you go. This prevents fairgoers from arriving with an empty stomach and huge appetite. I would suggest eating something healthy and filling before entering the fair, so that the not so healthy fair options aren’t as tempting.

Grazing on a variety of foods rather than eating the whole portion can also be useful tactic for fair eating. The Wisconsin State Fair holds a “Crazy Grazin’ Day” where they offer smaller portions of food for less money. Although our NC State Fair doesn’t hold a grazing day, you can take this idea and apply it to your own fair experience. Instead of eating the entire funnel cake, share it with your group! If your department holds a festival with food, this could be a good idea to implement.This not only allows you to eat less, but it affords the opportunity to try a variety of different foods.

There are also a variety of State Fair foods that are delicious and not as bad for you. Try replacing some of the unhealthy fair foods with healthier ones. Evergreen Health wrote a great article outlining some of these food swaps, and I thought I would share some of them with you.


“Unhealthy Food”

“Healthier Substitute”

Funnel Cake

Caramel Apple

Turkey Leg

Chicken or Steak Kabobs

Bloomin’ Onion

Roasted Corn on the Cob

Fried Snickers Bar

Saltwater Taffy

Ice Cream Sundae

Frozen Chocolate Banana


Another way to stay healthy at the fair is to increase your walking throughout the day. Try parking further away and walking into the fair. Although it may not seem like a lot, the extra walking can help burn calories. Parking further away can also save the stress on your wallet, as cheaper and even free parking options require you to walk. Walking will also be achieved inside of the fair grounds. Take a few laps around the fair before deciding which activities to do. This tactic will allow you to stake out the can’t miss activities and vendor locations, while also adding valuable steps to your trip.

Personally, my all-time favorite fair food are deep fried oreos. I know that I can only have this food at most once a year at the State fair, so I afford myself the chance. This brings me to my next tip: think about the food you want to try ahead of time. According to a WebMD article , the number one problem with fair food is mindless eating. If you must have unhealthy food at the fair, thinking about it ahead of time and zeroing in on it can help avoid this mindless eating. This will allow you to think strategically about your food choices, and cut out the unnecessary calories.

I hope that these tactics can help you and your programs at the state fair, local fairs and festivals, and amusement parks. If you are heading to Raleigh for the fair this year, I wish you luck and the willpower to make healthy choices!

Until next time,


Tags:  CRPA Wellness  ellness  ellness bulletin  ncrpa  ncrpa wellness  wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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Wellness Update!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Thursday, October 13, 2016
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016

Here is a quick review of the wellness coverage from August and September:


In August, the NCRPA Wellness blog covered the wellness benefits of Pokemon Go. The Pokemon Go coverage continued with our September Wellness Webinar: Get Going with Pokemon Go!

September also covered a wide range of other topics. First, we discussed September being “Better Breakfast Month”, and the importance of eating a healthy breakfast.  Next, we covered the idea of using fresh produce in concession stands. The blog finished up the month with two fitness topics: Fall fitness and online fitness.


I hope that you have enjoyed the content of the NCRPA Wellness Initiative thus far!  If you would like to contribute to any wellness content in the future, we are always looking to showcase new voices. Feel free to email me at with any inquiries.


Until next time,



Tags:  ncrpa  ncrpa wellness  Wellness 

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YPN Blog: October 2016

Posted By Nicole Miller, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Thursday, October 13, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hello Young Professionals!

My name is Nicole Miller, and I am the NCRPA Fellow. I am excited to share the first installment of the NCRPA Young Professionals Network Blog with you! This blog will feature a new post from a different young professional each month, and topics will include all things relevant to being a young professional in the field of parks and recreation.

This post will cover a topic that is currently very relevant for me: the transition from being a full-time student to being a full-time professional. Trading in your cap and gown for a suit and tie is a big change, one that personally took me several months to fully accept. Even though I graduated in May, it was not until August when reality really struck me. I was heading into my first day of work while students were heading back to campus for another year of school. There was no denying it; I was officially a young professional.

I have been working with NCRPA for about two months now, and as you can see from the picture, not much seems to have changed. However, the following are aspects of this transition that I have found the most noteworthy.

  • You are no longer the big man on campus (or in the workplace). You are now the newest employee in your office and have a lot to learn, both about your position and the office environment. Act accordingly, be respectful, and do not be afraid to ask for help from a veteran employee if you need it.

  • There is no syllabus. In school, every assignment and project had specific instructions and guidelines to follow. However, as a professional, you will often be assigned a project that does not have every little detail laid out for you. This is your opportunity to prove yourself and show your employer that they made the right decision hiring you.

  • Your performance is no longer just a reflection of yourself. If you do not complete a project, you do not just run the risk of receiving a bad grade or failing, rather you run the risk of being let go. At school, poor performance only hurt you, but on the job, your poor performance can harm the organization. Your actions and behaviors are a direct reflection of your organization.

  • It is up to you to make the most of the opportunities provided to you. This is one of the main similarities between professional life and academic life. You are given countless opportunities to get more involved, network with peers, take on new roles. However, it was not your professor’s job to make you take advantage of these opportunities, just like it is not your boss’s job. Put yourself out there; it can only make you better.

  • Your life outside of the office makes a difference. Take time for yourself outside of work. Exercise, relax, enjoy life. Learn how to focus on yourself in the real world.

Overall, with a few simple changes in my mindset (and several more substantial changes to my sleep schedule), the transition has gone smoothly, and I am settling into work here at NCRPA. I am excited to continue my journey as a professional and to continue learning along the way!

Be sure to be on the lookout for the November edition of the Young Professionals Network Blog! If you’re interested in being a guest blogger or just have a great topic idea, email me at We are always looking for more young professionals to contribute to the blog. 

Don’t forget to check NCRPA YPN webpage for all of the latest YPN events and information!

Tags:  college  student  young professionals 

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Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, October 10, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Recently, I attended the Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina quarterly meeting in Raleigh. Eat Smart Move More North Carolina (ESMMNC) is a statewide movement that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play, and pray. I learned a lot of valuable information at this meeting, and thought I would share some of it with you.

The meeting’s main topic of discussion was the North Carolina Plan to Address Obesity: Healthy Communities 2013-2020. According to the ESMMNC Obesity Prevention Plan In North Carolina, “more than two out of three adults, and 30% of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese. The report goes on to state that overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancers.”

It is the belief of ESMMNC that in order to combat against this issue, individuals from different disciplines should engage in the Community Coalition Action Theory. This theory requires a collaborative effort and commitment from agencies in different disciplines within a community. Participating agencies pool their resources and knowledge together in order to work towards a common goal.

ESMMNC has identified six core behaviors to address overweight and obesity in North Carolina:

  1. Increase Physical Activity.

  2. Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

  3. Decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

  4. Reduce consumption of energy dense foods.

  5. Decrease television viewing and screen time.

  6. Increase breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity..

It is important to note that ESMMNC does not consider these behaviors to be a “magic bullet” which fixes the problem overnight, but rather evidence based solutions to gradually reduce overweight and obesity.

In order to encourage the adoption of these six core behaviors, ESMMNC is looking for agencies and individuals to participate in a few key strategies. They have categorized these strategies by setting including: individual & family level, childcare level, college and university level, work site level, local government level, and more. You can find all of these strategies in their entirety in the  ESMMNC Obesity Prevention Plan, but I thought that I would share some with you now:

  • Individual Level: Reduce Screen Time

  • Family Level: Support the efforts of family members striving to be healthy.

  • Childcare Level: Implement policies that ensure the amount of time toddlers and preschoolers spend sitting or standing still is minimized.

  • College Level: Provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to volunteer with community coalitions that address obesity.

  • Work Site Level: Use point-of-decision prompts to encourage the use of stairs, drinking water, and eating healthy.

  • Local Government Level: Promote joint use/community use of facilities

Hopefully, your department can continue to adopt these tactics in order to help combat against this issue. If you are interested in learning more about ESMMNC, please visit their website. There are a lot of great resources that would be very useful to parks and recreation professionals like yourself.

ESMMNC is also looking for more team members. If you are interested in joining this free organization, please visit this link. I think that it would be great to have our departments on board!

Until next time,


Tags:  ncrpa  NCRPA Wellness  wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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