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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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Creating a Successful 5k Run/Walk Race

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Happy Tuesday,


I hope everyone is doing well on this Tuesday! Last week we had our January Wellness Webinar presentation conducted by Greg Walker, Fletcher Parks and Recreation, and mark Scott, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Asheville. The webinar focused on organizing a 5k run/walk in your own community and discussed the benefits of partnering with a corporate partner for a race.


Greg and Mark discussed key items when planning a 5k run/walk race that will help it become a successful and enjoyable event for your community. First things first, location and setup are critical for a 5k event to run smoothly and efficiently. The location should be safe and secure, and the course is a total of 3.1 miles. Typically, loops or “out and backs” are the easiest for runners. Remember, water stations about the halfway point is important for the proper hydration of competitors. Have a little fun and creativity and designate a place for a “cheering squad” along the route to help energize the runners. Another important topic that was discussed are the volunteers needed for a 5k, they are the true heart and soul of the event. Depending on the size of the 5k, you will need around 15-30 volunteers. Reaching out to local high schools, running clubs, and service clubs to recruit volunteers is a good place to start. Sponsorship can help cut the overall cost of your event as well, some examples include: local running stores, banks or restaurants. Be sure to allow sponsors a table for promotion and giveaway items to be put in race packets for optimal promotion! Greg Walker and Mark Scott also discuss the race day timeline and race planning resources in the webinar! For more information, click the following Vimeo link to listen to their webinar presentation:


Lastly, remember that NCRPA is hosting the first-ever statewide 5k race on April 16, 2016. There is still time for your department to get involved. Visit the race page:, or contact myself ( ) or matt ( for more information. Or watch the latest 5k webinar to learn more of how to organize your own 5k run/walk in your own community, click the following link:


If you have any information and advice on 5k races then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net


Tags:  5k Training  Active Lifestyle  Healthy Living  NC Recre8 5k race  Wellness 

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Month in Review: Wellness Initiative Blogs

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, December 28, 2015
Updated: Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Monday,

It is exciting to think we are only a couple days away from 2016! Today’s blog briefly reviews the past five blogs that discussed ways to enter the New Year fit and health conscious!

1.  Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays blog:  provides tricks and ideas to reduce calorie consumption without sacrificing all the treats. WebMD: Food and Recipes has 10 Healthy Holiday Party Tips to get you started! More healthy tricks and replacements can be found on the American Heart Association website. Additionally, check out our Local Produce page to get more healthy food options in the state of North Carolina.

2. Get Motivated With These Fitness Apps blog: focuses on creating incentives to stay health conscious through the use of free mobile iOS and Android apps. These health-focused apps track not only your progress, but creates an enjoyable and innovative experience for you to remain healthy. Additionally, these apps provide daily workout routines and healthy food options ideas and suggestions. 

3. Winter Workout Tips blog: discusses workout and nutrition ideas to build unity among your department and bring together coworkers for engaging activities. Be sure to share these ideas with your department and community to help keep everyone active during the festive winter season.

4. 2016 Program Ideas and Activities: focuses on five activities for adults, children, and families, as well as healthy concessions and vending opportunities. For more information and ideas for program opportunities during 2016 please listen to our NCRPA 8 Program Ideas webinar from last January:

5. Healthy Substitutions for Everyday Foods blog: offers some heart-healthy substitutions that you can incorporate both in your daily meal preparations or when cooking and baking for larger groups. Refer back to our Health Cooking/Nutrition Programs for more information on healthy eating practices. Don’t’ forget the January Wellness Webinar will be hosted by Greg Walker of Fletcher Parks and Recreation, and Mark Scott, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Asheville. The webinar will focus on organizing a 5k run/walk in your own community, as well as discussing benefits of partnering with a corporate partner for a race. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, January 12th at 1:00pm. To register please click the link:

This coming April 2016, NCRPA is hosting the first ever statewide 5k! If you have never organized a 5k race in your community, then participating in the 5k Webinar will be extremely useful information! For more information on how to get your department involved in our NC Recre8 5k race, visit the race page:, or contact myself ( ) or matt (

I challenge all of you during the rest of December to engage yourself in healthy holiday eating practices and to exercise regularly. Set a goal to ring in the New Year, and maintain these holiday nutrition and exercise tips throughout the year for a healthy lifestyle. If you have any healthy eating ideas or exercise tips during the holiday season then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net

See you in 2016!


Tags:  Active Lifestyle  Fitness  Healthy Cleaning  Healthy Live  Holiday Eating  NCRPA  Wellness 

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Creating Healthier Lives: National Nutrition Month

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, March 9, 2015

As we head into the second week of March, the signs of spring are finally appearing. Hopefully all of you have adjusted your clocks and enjoying the hour of extra sunlight in the evening.

Another important announcement, if you are not already aware, is that it is National Nutrition Month. During the month of March, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ADA) focuses their attention on increasing awareness of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The information provided will hopefully inspire year-round dedication to healthy habits and an improved lifestyle.

Let’s take this opportunity to teach our communities, departments and families’ easy ways they can start to make improvements to their nutrition that will lead a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some ideas:

·Use social media to send out daily recipes or exercise ideas to your community. Follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s social media channels, Facebook &Twitter, to gather more ideas and information.  Use #NNM hashtag if you send information via Twitter or Facebook.

·Encourage your department to share healthy recipes and exercise tips in updates, e-news or printed monthly newsletters. Reach out to local health professionals to create opportunities to inform your community on ways to develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Some great resources include the local cooperative extension, county health department or nutritionist from a local college to come and lead a staff training.

·Lastly, continue to motivate your department in making an effort to make physical activity a part of their daily routine. Some ideas include morning yoga, run groups, or daily walks, which will reduce the chance of chronic illnesses and increase energy levels throughout the day.  

I challenge all of you to take the lead and raise awareness for National Nutrition Month! Taking the steps to lead a healthier life can have positive results; some effects can include improving your mood, reducing stress, and increasing endurance and stamina. For more information please visit:

Also, good luck to the participants this weekend in the Tobacco Road Marathon & Half-Marathon, Cary, NC.  I’ll be one of many runners enjoying the scenery on the beautiful trails!

If you have any ideas for promoting National Nutrition Month within your community and department, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  active lifestyle  healthy eating  national nutrition month  wellness 

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Family Night Fun

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Monday,

Now that February is off to a great start, we can start planning March and April activities and hosting a Family Game Night is the perfect opportunity to bring together the community. Not only are you using your parks, but it also promotes healthy activities for both children and adults. The children will be physically engaged and making new friends while participating in the planned activity.

What’s Needed? First, select an ideal park location that can hold various amount of activities for children and adults. Plan activities for the children followed by a cookout or even a movie night. Some popular games include: Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer, Scavenger Hunt, Tag or an Obstacle Race Course. Depending on your target age with the children, you can adjust the competitiveness to the age group. Recruit family members to help run the activities during the event! Remember to contact local vendors to provide healthy food or snacks for after the evening activities. This is a perfect opportunity for vendors to get to know the community and for the families to know about vending offerings.

This month is full of good information, so stay tuned! If you have any new ideas for outdoor family programs, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,

Tags:  Active Lifestyle  Family  Health  Healthy Vending  Movie Night  Wellness 

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