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 Matt@ncrpa.net 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.
As a profession we often focus on the economic impact parks & recreation has on a community. But that is just a small piece of how our jobs can change lives and impact communities .
- Photo courtesy of Burlington Recreation & Parks
Did you know Operations and Capital Spending at Local and Regional Parks in NC created just over $3 Billion in economic activity in 2013 and supported 26,278 jobs in our state? The Economic Impact of Local Parks* study, provides estimates of the direct, indirect and induced effects of local and regional park agency spending on the economy. The spending in the study includes both annual operations and capital expenditures. The report includes estimates of economic output, value added (i.e., GDP), employment and labor income. This study allows us to quantify what this profession does in our state. NRPA has worked to put a numeric value on what we do. Thank you NRPA!
But our impact is more than just dollars and cents right?
Is it Increased self-esteem for youth participants?
What about better physical fitness for people of all ages?
Cleaner air and water?
It is all of those things, and so much more!
I’m pretty sure if I were to ask each of you how you make an impact in your community, I would find some similarities in answers. I also think there would be some unique answers which hold special meaning to just you.
The truth of this question is that we probably only know a small amount of the impact we have. There are so many untold stories of how a person’s life has been positively changed by this profession. The next time you are at one of your programs or facilities, take a moment and look at the people. Look at their faces. Notice the smiles. That is a result of positive impact.
While it may seem we are always focused on the economic impact of what we do for our communities, we cannot discount the everyday things we do as park and recreation professionals that enhance the quality of life for the people we serve.
Never forget this profession allows you the opportunity to give smiles. And when the stresses of the job seem overwhelming, look for the smiles and remember the passion you have for this profession!
Kendrick Mayes, Garner and Jay Tryon, Indian Trail discuss the 2014 NRPA Annual Conference in the above video blog interview from NRPA.
Viva Las Vegas! This year, the National Recreation and Park Association will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in the exciting city of Las Vegas. For students and young professionals, this year is not only memorable for the significance of the association celebrating 50 years, but also because of the location. However, with limited department funds how can a young professional ensure that they are able to attend NRPA Congress? #Scholarships! That’s right, applying for scholarships through NRPA and NCRPA can help you partially or even completely fund your trip. As a first-time attendee and young professional at the 2014 NRPA Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was fortunate to receive the National Recreation and Park Association Student Scholarship and the National Recreation and Park Association Ethnic Minority Society Scholarship which fully covered my conference registration, travel, lodging and meals.
As the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department I used a portion of my scholarships to attend the pre-congress workshop Brand+Aid Marketing Institute. Attending this session has helped tremendously with my professional development because I was able to sharpen my current marketing skills and also implement new techniques on the job to make the department better.
Before I attended the NRPA Congress, I remember reading an article at North Carolina Central University written by Ms. Tiffany Johnson from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation about the importance of networking and doing your research before attending Congress. I’m glad she wrote the article because in order to be successful at Congress you definitely need a game plan. The game plan should include options on which sessions you plan to attend, which networking events you plan to sit in on and also what you would like to gain from attending. Before I left for Congress, my Town of Garner business cards had not arrived yet, so I got creative in printing my own cards to pass out after sessions. This proved to be a wise decision, because the worst thing that can happen to a young professional is for them to attend a great session, ask questions, interact with the speakers and the moment comes to exchange contact information and the young professional does not have any business cards.
Along with my NRPA scholarships , I was also able to receive the North Carolina Recreation and Park Scholarship Foundation Fletcher Graduate Scholarship. I used the funds to towards covering additional educational expenses in my journey as a young parks and recreation leader here in NC. I strongly encourage my fellow young professionals to apply for the various scholarships that are available. This money is dedicated to helping professionals ( LIKE YOU!) to continue their education so they can advance in the field. Even if you feel like your resume or your community involvement doesn't compare to someone else, you would be surprised at how many people miss out on scholarships all because they did not take the initiative to apply.
Additionally, I would encourage all young professionals to consider getting involved with networking opportunities, whether it’s a group here in our state with NCRPA or nationally with the NRPA Young Professional Network, NRPA Ethnic Minority Society Network, the NRPA Administrators Network. By doing this, not only do they stay current on receiving scholarships, but they are also in the know about opportunities within the field.
Looking for opportunities to attend the NRPA Congress in Las Vegas? Here are some options: http://buff.ly/1bEQ5cZ
“Things don't have to change the world to be important.” (Steve Jobs). I recently saw this quote and thought about NCRPA. We made an investment in you and NCRPA during 2014 by asking you as members of our profession what you needed from NCRPA. You spoke and we listened. And now we are implementing change in our membership packages. These changes are not going to change the world, but they are important. Important to current and future members, and important to the vitality of NCRPA.
Beginning in July, NCRPA’s agency membership will have a different look. This revised Agency membership is designed to allow and encourage everyone who works in a parks and recreation agency to be a member of NCRPA. The Agency package will include all full-time employees, along with citizen board members, local elected and appointed officials and managers. Individual members will still have their same benefits, but now included with this package will be unlimited Career Connection postings, the ability to add or renew membership by one staff person with one invoice/payment, the ability to have one staff person register multiple individuals for conferences and workshops with one invoice/payment, SWAC Tournament participation, eligibility for agency awards such as Arts and Humanities and the Innovative Program Award, the opportunity to apply for grants through NCRPA partnerships (such as healthy equipment grant $100,000, Nourishing NC $300,000) and the opportunity for an agency profile in NCRPA NEWS magazine.
The fees for the Agency package are based on permanent full-time employees and varies with the size of the agency (see details). Every attempt was made to find a model that was equitable to agencies of varying sizes. Yes, some agencies may be paying more and some will be paying less when we switch from the paying a flat fee per person model we have used since the inception of NCRPA. We have been sharing this information with department directors since it was finalized and hopefully many agencies were able to make adjustments their FY 15-16 budgets. The individual membership is still available for those that deem this their best option for $65.
We also revised the Commercial membership package to be for an individual or for a business that wants to include all of their sales team or staff as NCRPA members. For our colleges and universities, we have a packaged membership that includes the faculty/staff and students. Students who attends a university that has not purchased a College/University package can purchase an individual student membership for $10.
Other than changing the membership year for everyone to July 1 – June 30, there were no changes other to our retired membership.
Updated technology has made these changes to our membership opportunities possible. And with technology there can be challenges. We will be implementing the changes, testing them and then releasing these new options on a staggered calendar. We want this transition to be as seamless as possible for you, the member, and us in the NCRPA office. We appreciate your patience and assistance during this process.
Your NCRPA Board of Directors and staff are excited about this opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you during the process and we hope you will encourage others in your department that may not be NCRPA members to join – especially if you have the agency package. If you have questions about this important change, please let me know.
Thanks for all you do to support the profession as a member of NCRPA
As parks and recreation professionals we are asked to fill many roles and be ready to change to better serve our communities at a moment’s notice. When it comes to marketing our parks, programs and events the scope of responsibilities can vary greatly. Sometimes our marketing and social media is coordinated by a dedicated marketing team, sometimes it’s a department director and other times it might be a programmer. If you are managing your departments’ social you have a variety of things to think about; when to post, what to post, and sometimes even how to post. Often these questions can be answered by asking our peers, reading various blogs and reviewing what industry leaders are doing. At NCRPA I use Buffer to help me manage and coordinate our social content. (Buffer is an app that helps you manage and monitor social media accounts.) In addition to being one of my favorite media management tools, Buffer does a good job of sharing research and tips on how to be a more proficient social media manager in an ever changing landscape. To get you started, check out this great blog and infographic from Buffer on posting frequency. https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-often-post-social-media
Don’t forget that if you are looking to take your marketing and social media to the next level you can join NCRPA at the 2015 Marketing Summit on April 14th in Durham, NC. http://www.ncrpa.net/event/Marketing
Stay tuned to the NC’Recre8’er blog all this month and April for more tips and tricks for marketing as parks and recreation professionals!
Welcome to 2015, the gyms are packed full of people who want to obtain their new year’s resolution of losing weight, becoming fit and most importantly living healthier. So, as a recreation professional, you already supply a weight room or workout area for the public, along with miles and miles of greenways, running and walking tracks, that will hopefully get used just as much in January when our resolutionaires, (yes, I made that word up), are putting in the work, as it does in June and July when those resolutions hopefully are still intact. However, what can we do to help our communities eat healthier as well? Maybe it’s our turn to take a stab at helping the citizens we serve not only reach their fitness goals but also empower them to be healthy in their food choices!
So, I have the perfect idea for you!
Let’s take all of the junk food out of our concession stands at all of our recreation centers and parks, most importantly our vending machines and stock pile them with all healthy foods and drinks.
Um...that's expensive, and what if everyone doesn’t eat it? We might lose money and the bosses don’t like losing money!
But if we go 100% healthy, everyone will have no choice but to drink our water and buy our healthy snacks!
Oh, wait, we decided already that not everyone wants those healthy things.
I know! What if we keep items like hotdogs and hamburgers, but offer them along with healthier options and healthier sides/snacks? This way we are not completely preventing our customers from the things that they want, hopefully in moderation!
So it’s settled then, we add healthy items to sell to those who are already health conscious, we eliminate the unhealthy items that don’t sell, keep traditional items like hotdogs and hamburgers and continue to turn a great profit on all of the items.
So clap along if you feel like creating a HEALTHIER community in which you work in!
TEN QUICK STEPS TO OFFERING MORE HEALTHY OPTIONS
1.Find out what items like traditional items like hot-dogs and hamburgers you community likes and keep them.
2.Find out what you sell the least and kick it
3.Offer free samples during big events to expose your community to healthier options!
4.Offer mutable fruit options, items you can freeze have added value!
5.Try offering Fruit Smoothies – you can use the frozen fruit
a)Yeah, I just saved you some money there too!
6.Offer nutrition facts about the health and the non-healthy items
a)You might inspire someone to change
b)But don't expect to change everyone and don't push them to change
7.Develop a marketing plan
a)Design signage that will appeal to your healthy eaters, leave it up!
8.Partner with others in your area that promote a healthy lifestyle for discounted goods or incentives.
a)Local Farms, athletic stores, Health Stores etc...
9.Search for a grants and funding that may help you fund some of the transition
10.Be healthy yourself, because the more motivation you have, the more motivation you’ll have to inspire change in others!
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: Matt@ncrpa.net 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.