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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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YPN Blog: Spring 2019

Posted By Meredith Batchelor, Special Events Coordinator, Town of Stallings, Thursday, June 20, 2019

Making a Statement

Everyone wants to make a statement, everyone wants to make a name for themselves. Why is it that we always feel the need to prove ourselves? For me, it came with my age and how I looked. Getting a middle management position right out of college is a fantastic accomplishment for some. I was ecstatic that I had been offered a position as the Recreation Manager for a department. What I soon found out was that no one wanted to listen to a 22-year-old kid right out of college, especially one that looked like she was 16 on a good day and “wasn’t from around these parts.” I faced a lot of challenges when it came to that, no one knew by looking at me that I had graduated from college with a degree in the field and no one knew that I had worked so hard to get to where I was.

Fast forward to today and that still is ringing true. I started as the Special Event Coordinator with the Town of Stallings in July of 2018. This was a brand new position created for the town, so I felt as though even though no one had held the position previously, that I still had some big shoes to fill.  I constantly am pushing myself to work harder so that everything I produce for the department can be the absolute best. I will beat myself up internally if something doesn’t go exactly as planned.

It’s not a bad thing to expect and seek perfection, for some it’s a good goal to set, especially as event planners. By nature, event planners are organized and consistent, hitting everything on a checklist and exceeding expectations is how we feel the job is done. I do know now after bringing new events and ideas to the town that I can step back and know I’ve done a good job. As Parks and Recreation professionals, our priority is the people. Special Events is how I can provide for the people and the community I serve. I make sure to take the time out of the event to talk to families that are there. I want to make sure they’re having a good time and the event is everything that they expected. I’ve also gotten a lot of good ideas as well as vendor contacts from talking with the community members. By doing this, I’m also setting up a relationship and a reputation. By being so young in the field, it’s important to build those relationships to carry on with me throughout my career.

For anyone who is also a young professional, don’t be afraid to step up. Take the challenge, ask questions, and be present! Make sure you’re creating those lasting relationship, who knows who you may be needing to call on years from now.

About the Author

Meredith Batchelor is the Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Stallings Parks and Recreation Department. Meredith received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community and Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2015 where she concentrated in Community Recreation and Special Events and minored in Political Science. Prior to her time in Stallings, Meredith worked in recreation with the Walt Disney World Resort before becoming the Recreation Manager in Boiling Spring Lakes, NC. She has had a passion for the field since becoming a camp counselor at the age of 16 and loves that she can bring that passion to her position in Stallings.

 Meredith can be contacted at or 704-821-8557.


Tags:  #Ncrecre8  Active Lifestyle  Association  events  Making a Statement  National Recreation and Park Association  NCRPA  networking  NRPA  Organization  parks  Programs  Recreation  Tips  UNCG  young professionals  ypn 

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YPN Blog: Winter 2019

Posted By Chamreece Diggs, Greensboro Parks & Recreation, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Lifestyle vs Labels

As an African American woman I find myself constantly at a cross section of my label and my lifestyle; a place where the imaginary list of things society says I do or do not do defines my likely life experiences. Assessments about who I am or where I will fit-in are sometimes made based on whatever group or label someone puts me in.  These judgements are not excluded to strangers or people whom exist outside of my “label”, but instead encompasses almost everyone. I have spent my lifetime with people outside of my friends and family looking at me strangely when I discuss something that seems to exist beyond my label, like my love for NASCAR for instance. But at the same time, I have had close friends and family give me the same strange look when I talk about wanting to buy a kayak. We have become so conditioned to make decisions about a person’s lifestyle based on what we assume about their label that we limit an opportunity to connect and discover. 

So what does this have to do with parks and recreation? ... A lot. Because social equity and equality are becoming increasingly important, it is necessary for us to explore and discuss some of the more nuanced ways equity and equality present themselves in our work. As parks and recreation professionals we have the benefit of exposure to a wealth of people with an assortment of interest and experiences; through community engagement, networking, programming, facility use, and even as a part of our work group. How we choose to engage with others is shaped in part by conclusions we have drawn about who they are based on a label. It is naive to suggest that we simply not make assumptions about others or ourselves based on labels; it is impossible, we do it every day, all day and without thinking. Rather, a better practice may be to acknowledge that the label exist, then be intentional about how we make decisions and plans based on lifestyle instead. 

To be intentional about focusing on lifestyles, we open to expose and open to explore. Being open to expose means, exposing others to opportunities despite a label. We use feedback from the community to create programs and events that are of interested to them. However, there is value in introducing a community to activities that they may not have considered or that may have been out of reach. This is where equality and equity in parks and recreation is important. An example of this is an outdoor program we offer for teens in high crime, high poverty neighborhoods in Greensboro. Offering a group of 12 to 17 year olds a chance to participate in kayaking, archery, fishing, or camping for the first time creates an environment of access and opportunity. These teens did not know lakes existed in Greensboro or that they were available to them. They did not believed people who looked like them or people who are living in poverty went camping or kayaking. Now, not only do those same teens have an appreciation for the outdoors, they are eager to experience new things.

Being open to explore is more personal and means we are open to exploring the “imaginary list” that may be associated with our labels and finding ways to recreate beyond it. In 2015 I had an opportunity to travel to Italy. As I was preparing for this trip I made a list of all of the things I wanted to do. I knew Mount Vesuvius was in Italy but never considered it to be something I would do. Why, because it was so far from my imaginary list of things I was supposed to do that I could not believe it was accessible to me. When I received my final itinerary for my trip, Mount Vesuvius was on it. On the day I visited Mount Vesuvius I stood at the top and looked over into the volcano, at that moment I thought about what an opportunity I would have missed, had I stuck to my imaginary list. If we as parks and recreation professionals expand our experiences to activities beyond our labels, we are then able to share those experiences with others. If we limit our experience to cultural norms, gender expectations, age limitations and other label “constraints” we are also limiting the experiences of the populations we serve. If I were not open to exploring the outdoors myself, I would not have been open to exposing teens who share my label to the outdoors. 

I challenge each parks and recreation professional who creates and implements programs to be intentional about thinking from a lifestyle first perspective. Acknowledge that a person may belong to a label, but that their label does not define how they choose to recreate. I also suggest diving deep into your own label and exploring how that may shape your experiences. Be deliberate in finding, participating and sharing your experiences in order to enhance how you engage your community.  Discussing how assumptions made based on labels can influence our interactions, is a start to addressing social equity and equality issues in parks and recreation. 

About the Author

Chamreece Diggs is a Facilities Coordinator for Greensboro Park and Recreation. Her experience includes working with special populations, youth, administrative, marketing, project management, recreation centers, and special events. Chamreece prides herself on being create, adaptable, resourceful, and progress driven while working in parks and recreation. She received her Bachelors Degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Recreation Administration and earned Masters of Business Administration from University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Tags:  #NCRecre8  Chamreece Diggs  NCRPA  NRPA  Social Equity  YPN 

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50 at 50 - August 18

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Friday, August 18, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Sometimes you find a hidden gem without looking for it. That was the case with this week’s park. I recently made a trip to the central part of our state and took an exit to grab dinner. By missing a turn, I found Joe C. Davidson Park in Burlington. What a nice surprise to find a ‘new to me” park by accident.

Joe C. Davidson Park is one of the most recently developed parks within the system. Designed with its primary focus being youth sports, it has fields for soccer, softball, and baseball. There is a playground plus tennis and volleyball courts. I saw a number people out on the 3/4 mile walking track that encompasses the perimeter of the park. The was also a large picnic shelter sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

Doing a quick Google search, I found out the park has its own Facebook page - although it is unofficial and not managed by the city. I enjoyed seeing posts from citizens who were out walking, playing with their dogs, and making recommendations on the playground and walking trails.

I chatted with Tony Laws, Burlington Parks and Recreation Director about the park and Joe Davidson. NCRPA has a plaque in our office with the names of our past presidents and I found Joe Davidson listed in 1963. Joe became the director in Burlington in the mid-late 50’s and served the department close to 40 years.

Opened in the early 1990’s, Joe C. Davidson Park is 42 acres and when it was built it was in a very rural area of town. Now it is only 0.8 miles from Alamance Crossings, the shopping center, right off of I-40 at the University Drive exit and there is an apartment complex across the street from the park.

There is a unique feature at the park, a water tower. This water tower was added after the park was built when the city needed an elevated location to add a tower that would increase the water pressure. With the addition of the tower, they lost the potential to enlarge an existing building that could have become a small community center. As part of the process, recreation & parks asked for the Burlington logo to be added to the tower and it now serves as a landmark for the park. I thought it was a nice icon in the middle of the park

For more information on Joe Davidson Park visit

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Tags:  #NCRecre8  50at50  Burlington  parks  recreation 

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50 at 50 - August 11

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Friday, August 11, 2017
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017
A short trip on I-40 led me to Chapel Hill for this week’s blog. The Town of Chapel HIll is 23.1 square miles and home to the University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill has 16 parks providing about 1000 acres for active and passive recreation and preserved open space. I had the pleasure of visiting parks with Parks and Recreation Director Jim Orr and Assistant Director Linda Smith. In addition to the visit to Umstead Park, I got to explore Bolin Creek Greenway.

Umstead Park is 19.5 acres and was built in the 1970’s on land donated to the town by the Umstead Family. This park has several shelters, a playground, and three sand volleyball courts. While the town provided the land and equipment to get the volleyball courts started, a community volunteer coordinated the fundraising to build and maintain the courts. He also runs programs at the courts and donates the funds raised to maintain the courts with plans to construct three additional courts. That is a volunteer dedicated to volleyball in the community!

From Umstead Park, we were able to access Bolin Creek Trail. This trail runs along the creek and is just over 2 miles long. When completed, the trial will be about 3 miles. This trail is constructed of concrete and not asphalt as the creek is very close by and is prone to flooding and when it does, the water is usually raging. With concrete being heavier than asphalt, it was the better choice for this trail. I had never really thought about the difference between these two materials before and it was nice to learn something new.

Currently, the constructed greenway ends under a road crossing. Besides the artwork added by citizens, there were handholds from rock climbing added to the walls and ceiling of this underpass. These were not added by the department and I could only assume they were added by climbing enthusiasts in the area.

On the return trip to Umstead Park, I was impressed to see an access point from the street that included stairs on one side of the bridge and a paved ramp on the other side - making the greenway accessible not only to persons with varying physical abilities but also with various forms of transportation.

For more information on Umstead Park visit or Bolin Creek Greenway visit

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Tags:  #NCRecre8  50at50  Parks  Recreation 

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50 at 50 - June 16

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Friday, June 16, 2017
Updated: Monday, June 12, 2017
Since the fall of 1985 when I enrolled at NCSU, I have traveled Hwy 70 East and West between Raleigh and the Rosewood Community (just west of Goldsboro) many times. I did it again this past weekend as I went to visit my family and see my great niece in person for the first time.

Early Saturday morning, I took the Buffalo Road exit and found my way to Brack Wilson Park in Selma. Brack Wilson Park is the largest park in Selma and is just over 12 acres. Like most parks, it has picnic shelters, a playground area and ball fields. There is also an outdoor basketball court. I’m not sure what the land looked like back in 1978 when the park was constructed, but today there are lots of huge trees providing shade to many areas of the park. As I walked around, I was pleasantly surprised to find PlayPrints at this park. With over 40 parks in NC receiving PlayPrints grants, I can’t keep track of all of them. Seeing the huge robot and sunflower on the walkway from the parking into the park was a great location to encourage people to move a little more.

The first phase of Brack Wilson Park was built in 1978 and partially funded by a LWCF grant in 1977. Over the years, 2 more phases have been completed to create the park as it is today. Joe Carter, Selma Parks & Recreation Director gave me a little history on this park. Brack Wilson owned a car dealership in Selma and leased the land for the park to the town for $1 per year with a 25 year lease. As the end of the lease agreement was approaching, Joe reached out to the heirs to find out about this property remaining a park. The family donated the land to the town and a rededication ceremony was held in the early 2000’s to celebrate the occasion.

For more information on the programs and facilities offered by Selma Parks & Recreation, visit

If you are traveling Hwy 70 between Raleigh and the beach, I encourage you to take the Buffalo Road exit and check out this park that has been serving the community for almost 40 years.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  #NCRecre8  50at50  parks  recreation 

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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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Pokemon Go

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, August 29, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 29th, 2016


Good morning! 


Have you heard about  Pokemon Go? This phenomenon is sweeping the nation and getting players outside and active!   Pokemon Go is an augmented reality smartphone app, which inputs virtual elements into our real world using GPS. The players’ location are tracked via an avatar on their phone screen, and fictional Pokemon characters are superimposed around them. Users are required to get active to explore their surroundings in order to catch Pokemon characters, battle other users, and collect items to be used in the game at “Pokestops” (which are usually well-known landmarks in many of our parks). The popularity of Pokemon Go has soared since its release in July.  Currently, it is the top grossing game on both the Apple App store and Google Play store. With more users than Twitter, Pokemon Go (and other games like it) has potential to become a major opportunity for wellness in parks and recreation.  

Because the game requires users to get outside in order to collect items and catch Pokemon, parks and recreation departments are often hotspots for Pokemon Go users. The game keeps track of how many kilometers walked, with players receiving rewards when distance milestones are achieved . Players collect “Pokemon Eggs” throughout the game, with an incubation time based on kilometers walked.  It changes the usually sedentary activity of video game playing into an an active event, getting players to go outside and walk. The health benefits of this have been noticed by many users who are experiencing an increase in their physical activity.  Fitness tracking apps, such as Cardiogram, noticed an increase in user activity in the weekend after the release of Pokemon Go. On the day the app launched, 45% of users were exercising for 30 or more minutes. Three days after the launch, 53% of users exercised for the same interval.

Pokemon Go has additional health benefits, including being used as a tool against anxiety and depression. Since Pokemon Go requires people to spend time outdoors and exercise, it provides an extra incentive for depressed individuals to explore the world around them and connect with other people - both important aspects to fighting against these afflictions.

Personally, I have experienced these health benefits while playing Pokemon Go. Instead of driving my car short distances, I am finding myself walking instead. I have also met people while playing the game in groups, and even reconnected with a few old friends.

So how can your department get involved with this emerging wellness trend? One simple way is to use social media to connect with Pokemon Go players in your area. It can be used as a medium to communicate park rules, Pokemon hotspots, and any other pertinent information regarding your park. Try something like our friends over at Greensboro Parks and Recreation, who have created a fun, informative Facebook video about the trend. Be sure to emphasize that your parks are a great place for people to come to get active and catch Pokemon.

For more information on how your department can get involved with Pokemon Go, please attend our next Wellness Webinar: “Get Going with Pokemon Go” on September 20th at 1:00 pm. This webinar will be hosted by myself and NCRPA Fellow, Nicole Miller.  We will discuss the phenomenon of Pokemon Go, show examples of departments that are successfully implementing Pokemon Go into promotions and programs how recreation departments can embrace it to encourage physical and emotional wellness, and more. This webinar will give you a roadmap to make the most out of Pokemon Go in your community. To register, please click the following link:

If your department is doing anything cool using Pokemon Go, we’d love to hear about it! Feel free to email me at, or submit it on our Wellness Hub here


Diquan A. Edmonds | Wellness Assistant
NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC  27605
919-832-5868 |

Tags:  #NCRecre8  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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Me in My Park

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy Monday, 

The past couple blogs have focused on inspiring your departments to promote active living and healthy eating challenges, such as the NPHW “We Can Do Better Contest” by the American Public Health Association and The Ellen DeGeneres #GimmeFive Dance Challenge. The warmer weather has made it perfect to help motivate your community to participate in activities that lead to healthier lives, not only through national challenges, but on a daily basis.

As we continue into warmer months, it is important to remind communities how becoming active outside, especially at community parks, can dramatically improve their overall health. The Trust for Public Land shared a video explaining why it is important for nation’s improvement of health. According to their statistics, 95% of adults, 92% of adolescents and 58% of children don’t meet the daily recommendations for physical activity. However, this trend can be reversed with “steps” in the right direction. It has been proven that the more parks there are in a community, the more people exercise, enhancing both their physical and mental health. Additionally features, such as sport fields, and playground equipment also attract more people to the area, allowing for better use and increased participation. So it is determined that parks are essential to the overall improvement of a communities lifestyle. 

To watch The Trust for Public Land video then pleas click the following link:

So here is the challenge NCRPA is asking from your departments! Last summer NCRPA started a social media campaign called Me In My Park, challenging people to upload pictures to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter of themselves, or groups of people, leading active lifestyles. We are reinstituting the challenge this summer, but with an added feature! Starting May 1st, 2015 until August 1st, 2015, NCRPA is asking your department, individuals, and communities to post pictures to social media while at their community park using the hashtag #MeinMyPark, bonus if you also use #Ncrecre8. This time we will be selecting up to 8 of the best pictures that represents a creative and engaging way of leading a healthy life while using park systems. We will select 2 photos for every month of the challenge, and the winners will receive a special NCRecrea8 prize package!

Let’s inspire our communities to become more active during the summer months by sharing health related information and how parks can empower change in their daily lives!  If you have any questions or ideas about the #MeinMyPark Challenge, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  #MeandMyPark  #Ncrecre8  Fitness  Healthy Living  Wellness 

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National Public Health Week

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, April 6, 2015

Good Afternoon, 

It seems that spring is finally in the air! In honor of the beautiful weather, and the first official week of April, my blog will be dedicated to National Public Health Week, April 6th – 12th. Every year during the first full week of April, American Public Health Association brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week, recognizing the contributions of public health and highlighting prominent issues that are important to improving the overall wellness of our nation.

For this week, NCRPA’s challenge to you is to discover creative and engaging ways to promote National Public Health Week.  Whether if that’s posting a picture or nutritional facts of ways your community is leading healthy and active lives to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or emailing us directly at: will be sure to share your creativity and help inspire others to join! Use the hashtags #NCRecre8 and #NPHW (no, the hashtag does not stand for Neil Patrick Harris Week…).

Additionally, the American Public Health Association creates new materials each year that you can use during and after National Public Health Week to continue to raise awareness about public health and prevention. If your department wants more of a challenge, then enter the NPHW “We Can Do Better Contest.”  The “We Can Do Better,” contest will show the nation how individuals, families, and communities are committed to making the U.S. the healthiest nation by 2030.

To enter, submit a photo, video, or event page demonstrating a health promotional changed in behaviors by Monday, April 20, at 5p.m. Submissions can be entered two ways:

1.Posting on social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, using the hashtag #NPHW contest.

2.Sending an email to with a subject line, "We can do better submission."

Need more motivation? All submissions will be recognized and/or uploaded to a dedicated page on Winners will be selected based on creativity, amount of impact created by the health promotional change submitted and correlation to this year's NPHW theme. For more information please click the following link:

If you have any ideas to promote National Public Health Week within your department and community, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,

Happy Health Week!



Tags:  #NCRecre8  #NPHW  Get Active  Healthy Living  National Public Health Week  Wellness 

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