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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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Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, Graduate Assistant - NC Recreation & Park Association, Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Parties are becoming more popular as we approach the holidays, whether if that’s celebrating with family or work. The endless amount of treats and desserts can challenge your commitment to healthy eating, but it can be managed! In this week’s wellness bulletin, I will provide some tricks to reduce the calorie consumption without sacrificing all the treats. Feel free to pass the ideas along to your department as you plan holiday gatherings and celebrations.

How can you prepare a healthier party? WebMD: Food and Recipes has 10 Healthy Holiday Party Tips to get you started! One easy step is using smaller plates and cups, which will result in smaller portions among the guest. Smaller plates will lend a hand in guest’s subconsciously reducing the amount of food intake during the meal. While smaller cups will downsize the amount of surgery drinks. Be sure to offer plenty of water for people to have a healthy and calorie-free drink option. Club soda is also a good and low in sugar solution to mix with alcoholic beverages. Additionally, creating a food-free space will minimize the unconscious snacking throughout the party. According to Eating Well starting the meal with soup or salad will help the guest fill up on something light and have less room for starchy and heavier foods. There are some easy and cheap options to encourage healthy habits during the party that can be easily implemented among work and family gatherings. More specific healthy holiday dessert recipes can be found on the Eating Well website.

If you don’t have a “healthy holiday recipe:” try making simple substitutions to your favorite recipes, which can help to reduce calories, fat and sugar. There are smart ingredient substitutions when baking your favorite holiday meals for parties and gatherings. First, instead of using butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no sugar added applesauce, a healthier option then using high-in-fat butter. Another easy idea is to use low-fat or skim milk instead of whole or heavy cream in recipes. An alternative trick is using half white and half whole-wheat flour instead of only white flour. Lastly, replace chocolate chips or candies with dried fruit, such as cranberries or cherries to achieve the sweet taste in your baked good. More healthy tricks and replacements can be found on the American Heart Association website.

The Wellness Initiative wants to add more ideas among the Healthy Policy Ideas, so if you have any healthy eating party ideas or tips during the holiday season then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,



Tags:  Health  Holidays  NCRPA  Parks  Recipes  Recreation  Wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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Tips for Staying Organized During Your Busy Season

Posted By Carlyn Sautter, Graham Recreation & Parks, Saturday, December 13, 2014
Updated: Friday, December 12, 2014
It comes at different times of the year for all of us: the season where we need 30 hours in a day. The time of the year when it doesn't seem possible that we are doing so much yet still keeping our sanity. How do we stay organized when our plates are so full? Below is a short list of tips to help you through your busy season:

1. Start early. It’s always something we intend to do, but it really does help. Even if it’s something small. Nothing beats opening a folder for an upcoming program and seeing that it already contains a list of necessary improvements, along with an updated registration form.

2. Create to-do lists. Start one for each program, and then make one each week (or even daily, if you’d prefer). Update as often as necessary. This will help give you a good idea of what tasks you’re up against, and you’ll be able to consciously balance your workload. Plus, doesn’t it feel amazing to cross something off a to-do list?

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Face it, you are going to need it at one point or another. Your busy season may not be so crazy for one of your co-workers. So ask! You’ll be able to return the favor one day! Bonus: it will give them insight on what you do on a daily basis.

4. Keep an organized office and desk. Think about it—if you walk into your office in the morning and see nothing but chaos, that’s most likely the mode your brain will function in all day. Stop and take a minute at the end of every day and clean things up a bit. This way, you won’t lose that to-do list that you worked so hard on—everything important is right there, reminding you it needs to be attended to.

5. Take time to regroup. This applies to you and your work duties. Every few days, take a look at the to-do lists you created in step 2 and re-evaluate. It will make you feel better to see that you’re actually getting things done. As for you—you can’t function at your most efficient capacity if you aren’t taking some time here and there to regroup. Take five minutes and meditate. Make sure you’re taking a lunch break. Have a good laugh. Whatever it is, just make sure you aren’t constantly under stress.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Some of you may have other tips and tricks to get by. We’d love to hear your ideas, be sure to share them on social media or via email with NCRPA! Good luck to everyone tackling their busy season right now!

Tags:  NCRPA  Organization  Recreation  Time Management  Tips  To-do 

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Jan Parker NRPA Congress Scholarship has Profound Impact!

Posted By Matthew Carusona, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Friday, December 12, 2014
Updated: Thursday, December 11, 2014

This summer Billy Wilkes, Assistant Director with Craven County Parks & Recreation was announced as the winner of the Jan Parker NRPA Congress Scholarship. This new scholarship was funded with revenue generated through the NCRPA Visa Debit Card in cooperation with the Local Government Federal Credit Union. Billy’s scholarship included congress registration and $200 towards travel and lodging expenses. NCRPA staff was able to catch up with Billy at congress and it was evident that he was both humbled and excited for the opportunity. In his application, Billy stated, “My passion for the parks and recreation field is really simple. I enjoy giving back to a field that has given me so much. From a young age, I played every sport imaginable, attended any camps and special events when offered and was a fixture at the local recreation center. Parks and Recreation truly kept me out of trouble. I love being part of a field that can positively affect the lives of people of all ages”. Many thanks to everyone who uses their NCRPA Visa Debit Card and helps us fund initiatives such as this. If you don’t have the NCRPA Visa Debit Card and would like more information on how to get yours, visit or contact the NCRPA office. 

Tags:  LGFCU  NCRPA  Parks  Recreation  Scholarship 

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Introducing The NC Recre8'er Blog

Posted By Matthew Carusona, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The NC Recre8'er  is the Blog for NC for 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, Camps, Leadership, Cultural Resources and more! If you are interested in being a guest blogger please contact me: 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 & Park Association as a whole. 


Tags:  Association  Blogs  NCRPA  Parks  Recreation 

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Where Are We Going?

Posted By Dale Smith, 2015 NCRPA President., Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“You cannot grow unless you are willing to change.  You will never improve yourself if you cling to what used to be” - Leon Brown 

I am an avid reader now that I am retired and regularly save different quotes that are meaningful and inspire me to be better.  That is exactly what Leon Brown’s quote does for me when I think about the future of our Association.  Whether it is apparent or not, NCRPA is at a crossroads and it is time to evolve or lose our relevance. Associations across the country along with ours are facing challenges that have diminished the effectiveness of Associations overall, however it is our goal to understand this climate and prepare NCRPA for the future.

Over the past few years, NCRPA has both adopted a Strategic Plan and worked with Pro’s Consulting to develop a Membership and Marketing Plan (Project Supercharged!).  After careful review of each plan and much discussion by the Executive Board, we have determined that the first step in this process is to review our structure.  Dr. Joy James, Associate Professor in Recreation Management, at Appalachian State University will chair a committee of 9 professionals that represent our diverse membership. This committee will review the Association’s structure to make sure that we have a sustainable working model for the future.  They have been given a great deal of information to review and are charged to provide a recommendation to the Executive Board by April 2015.

As this committee works diligently to understand the climate associations must operate in and makes suggestions for viable change, committee members will be blogging about their progress. These blog posts will help keep YOU the association members informed and engaged in this important venture that will eventually lay the ground work for the future of our organization.

Stay tuned, stay involved and stay supportive!  

Tags:  Association  Marketing  Membership. Board  NCRPA  Parks  Recreation  Relevance  Strategic Plan 

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Trying to Stay Healthy this Winter? There’s an App for That!

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, Graduate Assistant - North Carolina Recreation & Park Association, Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hello everyone,  

Can you believe its December already? As the weather becomes colder and the days shorter, it is important to find ways to stay active and healthy during the winter months. Today’s bulletin will focus on creating incentives to stay active and eat healthy through the use free mobile/iOS apps that will not only track your progress, but create a more enjoyable and innovative experience for you to remain healthy.

First, The Nike Training Club is a great personal trainer app, ranging with timed workouts from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. The workout program includes detailed instructions and audio support for over 100 featured dynamic drills, all designed to increase body strength, flexibility, agility, and stamina. Plus it tracks your training progress and workout history. Ab Workouts is an app focused on abdominal exercises with animations and a trainer’s voice guiding you through the exercises. The app includes a food list providing you with what foods are the healthiest to keep you fit.

Just because the temperature drops it doesn’t mean you can’t bundle-up and go for a run this winter! MapMyRun GPS is a great running app for any walker, jogger and competitive runner. This unique app tracks and logs your distance, pace, and calculates the total amount of calories burned. Nike+ Running and RunKeeper are also comparable apps and a great way to track your runs on a treadmill or outdoors. All of these apps allow you to build a running community by sharing your runs and routes with friends and coworkers.

So what should you eat after a workout to refuel your body properly? There are plenty of free educational healthy food apps that offer recipes and advice on eating. Foodily Recipes is one great source and is the world’s largest social recipe network. This healthy food app will allow you to find and share delicious and most importantly healthy recipes. Additionally, Fooducate is another great educational app. This app allows you to scan barcodes of products giving you a nutrition grade range from A to D. This is an informative app that will aid you in making smarter educated choices for food intake.

Exploring ways to be inspired and motivated is the key for staying healthy and fit, especially during the colder months. NCRPA and I challenge you to find a way to incorporate these mobile apps, or more, among your department. Whether that is connecting among coworkers through discovering new running routes or sharing healthy recipes you have discovered. Strength is in numbers when it comes to reaching a common goal! Whether it is with your peer group or your community sharing and supporting a common goal to increase the opportunities to become more active and health conscious is one we can all get behind. Most importantly, don’t think of staying healthy as a burden but an enjoyable learning experience that improves the overall health of our communities and state!

If you have any programing ideas or ways to incorporate mobile device apps among your department then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here (, For every idea submitted you will be entered to win a cool NCRPA T-shirt!


Tags:  Ab Workouts  Apps  Fitness  Fooducate  Health  NCRPA  Nike+ Running  Recreation  RunKeeper  The Nike Training Club  Wellness 

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