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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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What is your Impact?

Posted By MICHELLE WELLS, NC RECREATION & PARK ASSN, Thursday, February 4, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2016



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?


Stress reduction?


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!



*The Economic Impact of Local Parks, commissioned by NRPA and conducted by George Washington University –

Tags:  Awareness  Blogs  Community Building  Family  Healthy Living  NCRPA  Parks  Programs  Recreation  Youth Programs 

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Growing Communities

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Monday,


I hope everyone is staying warm on this Monday! Amongst the cold, it is always great to discuss outdoor program opportunities for the warmer months ahead. This week’s blog will be focusing on community gardens. Before the start of spring, it is important to start planning how your department can promote a healthy community.


We have had plenty of blogs discussing how to teach people about eating healthy. But what about ways to increase your communities access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables? Community gardens are a fantastic way to promote healthy eating and to unite people with a common mission! Not only does community gardens teach people where their food comes from, but it also gives them a chance to connect with their neighbors and encourage children to get outside. Gardens can be all shapes and sizes, even a small garden can still create a large impact on the health of your community. Gardening not only produces fresh healthy food, but it also provides a place for people to engage in physical activity.  For more information, please check out our Community Gardens page.


Following the theme of community gardens, our next Wellness Webinar will be Tuesday, February 9th, hosted by Jill Edwards and Diana McCall, Black Mountain Recreation and Parks. Jill and Diana will be discussing their Eat Smart Black Mountain program. Black Mountain has been extremely successful in creating and maintaining their community gardens and offering healthy eating education. The Eat Smart Black Mountain program works to promote healthy eating and active living through hands-on gardening and nutritious programs. Register for the webinar to learn more how you can impact your community with a garden like Black Mountains:


If you have any then information or ideas on community gardens please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net



Tags:  Community Building  Community Gardens  Heal 

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International Walk to School Day

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Monday,

Fall is in full swing and a new month is almost upon us! Since October is only a few days away, the Wellness Initiative is highlighting the International Walk or Bike to School Day taking place next Wednesday, October 7th.

Walk to School Day was organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America beginning in 1997. First established as a one-day event focusing on building awareness for the need for walkable communities. The event was recognized internationally in 2000 when the UK, Canada and USA combined their efforts and created the first International Walk to School Day.

What are the benefits of Walk to School Day? One of the primary benefits is involving your community, as well as your children. The common goal of improving walking and bicycling conditions brings together families, neighbors, schools and community leaders. It is a great way to start off the day with exercise and conversation about a common goal. Walking or bicycling to school also promotes regular physical activity that children and adults need every day. According to Walk Bike to School website, regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints, while decreasing the risk of obesity.

So, how can you connect Walk to School Day with your department and community? Last month the United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy released a Call-to-Action on Walking and Walkable Communities titled “Step it Up.” The “Step it Up” movement is focused on inspiring communities across the nation to become more active through a variety of activities, especially walking. This information is an awesome source to share in your community to inspire them to take advantage and participate in the Walk to School Day. More information on the benefits of walking and increasing physical activity can be found on the Surgeon General’s homepage. Remember to promote this information by using social media, such as: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Note that Walk to School Day falls on the Wednesday of the first full week of October, but the full month of October is considered International Walk to School Month. You can pick any day of October to promote this event. Please share your ideas if you are able to institute this event in your community. Stay active and promote wellness in your community! 

One last note, our next webinar will take place on Thursday, October 8th, at 1:00pm. Derek Dunn and Sharon Williams, Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department, will be hosting. The topic will focus on creating a more inclusive outdoor recreation environment for persons with disabilities. It is important to offer equal opportunities for everyone, and as practitioners, part of our tasks is creating the ultimate recreation experience. Please click the following link to register:

If you are participating on Walk to School day or have a program that aligns with the events goals we want to know! Email us your ideas or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  Community Building  Healthy Living  International Walk or Bike to School Day  NCRPA  Step it up 

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Planting Seeds for Success

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Monday,

Last Wednesday we had the privilege of hearing Beth Farrell from Thomasville Parks and Recreation to present our monthly webinar. The discussion was focused on the challenges and success of community gardens. Last May, NCRPA partnered with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) foundation to provide Health Eating Equipment grants to park and recreation agencies across the state. Thomasville was one of the departments to receive funds for equipment to create a community garden at Memorial Park.

Beth’s webinar discussed the positive contributions to a community when implementing a community garden. One of the key components when establishing a community garden is promoting community building. It brings together the youth, adults, and seniors in the community, working together to create healthier eating options. Ultimately, it also encourages exercise and healthy food access. One of the highest impacts on the community includes the educational component of establishing a community garden. A good program to grow from your community gardens is youth afterschool programs. Involving these programs gives youth the opportunity to learn healthy cooking techniques and expose them to a variety of fresh vegetables.

If you would like to hear more from Beth you can view her webinar regarding community garden benefits, please click the following link:

For more information regarding community gardens, then please refer to NCRPA’s Community Gardens webpage. Remember, gardens can be small or large, no matter the size they can have a large impact on the health of your community.

If you would like to share your community garden ideas or information, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  BCBSNC  Community Building  Community Gardens  Healthy Eating  Thomasville Parks and Recreation 

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