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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 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.

 

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Holiday Family Health and Wellness

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, November 27, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time for you and your department to promote family friendly health and wellness in your community. Children are out of school for winter break and their parents/guardians likely having a few days off. This creates a great opportunity for family health and wellness! This wellness blog will give you a few easy ideas to promote family health and wellness in your lives as well as your community.


According to a PBS article, “Children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if parents are sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too.” The article goes on to state “However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons.” Participating in health activities as a family is a great way to promote health and wellness to children, and may help create long-lasting habits in a child’s life.


Have you heard of the #OptOutside movement? Each year, REI (and a few other retail stores) close for Black Friday, and encourage the public to get outside  and active. This movement uses the social media hashtag #OptOutside and encourages people to post pictures of their outdoor experience. Although your department will likely not start a national campaign, encouraging families to get outside during their vacation time can be an easy and effective way to promote health and wellness.


First, select a park, trail, or activity that is family friendly in your community. Make sure that your location is appropriate for people of all ages. Once your ideal family-friendly location is selected, start spreading the word to your community by using social media, flyers, and other ways of communication. Be sure to emphasize that this is a great way to spend quality family time together during the holidays. Sometimes, it just takes a little push to get people outside and active! Create a local hashtag for family’s to use to share their experience on social media!


Additionally, your department may be holding seasonal events to celebrate this time of year. Whether you are holding a holiday themed 5k, winter wonderland, New Years celebration, parade, or other special event, there are some easy ways to encourage family health and wellness. Set up a table at the event that includes family friendly and healthy holiday recipes.


Below, are a few additional ways to promote family health and wellness in your community this holiday season:

  • Family Scavenger Hunt: One way to get families active and engaged in your parks is to create a family scavenger hunt! Write holiday related clues for 10 to 15 objects in your park or facility and print out a few copies of the objects. Families can then complete the scavenger hunt by taking photos of the objects. Once the hunt is completed, a small prize can be given out.

  • Family Fun Night: Family fun nights are a great way to get the whole family engaged. When planning a family fun night, choose games that are appropriate for the whole family. Simple games like capture the flag and obstacle courses come to my mind. Most importantly, provide a safe space and opportunity for active family fun.  A past wellness blog post discussed family fun nights in depth.

  • Family Cooking Courses: Family cooking courses can be used to introduce fun, easy and healthy recipes that are appropriate for the whole family. There are a lot of good resources online for finding family-friendly healthy recipes. Try Food Network or All Recipes for help.

  • Family Walking Group: Walking groups are a different way to get families active. Start a walking group geared towards families! Children, teenagers, and parents can connect with each other while walking in safe and fun locations. The NCRPA Wellness Webinars have covered running and walking groups in the past. Check out recordings of these webinars for extra help!

I hope that this blog post has given you some ways to promote family health and wellness in your community! If your department has a great family wellness program, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at diquan@ncrpa.net to share!


Until next time,


Diquan


Tags:  Family  Family Time  Health  NCRPA Wellness 

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August is Family Fun Month!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, August 7, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I can’t believe it is already August! If you did not know, August is Family Fun Month. Family Fun can be a great way to incorporate fitness into your department. This wellness blog will give you five ways to incorporate fun and healthy family fitness programs into your department.


It is universally known that parents encourage behaviors in their children. According to a PBS article, “Children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if parents are sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too.” The article goes on to state “However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons.”


Family Fun Month is the perfect time to hold healthy family-friendly events in your community! Below are five ideas to celebrate Family Fun Month:

  1. Family Scavenger Hunt: One way to get families active and engaged in your parks is to create a family scavenger hunt! Write clues for 10 to 15 objects in your park or facility and print out a few copies of the objects. Families can then complete the scavenger hunt by taking photos of the objects. Once the hunt is completed, a small prize can be given out.

  2. Family Fun Night: Family fun nights are a great way to get the whole family engaged. When planning a family fun night, choose games that are appropriate for the whole family. Simple games like capture the flag and obstacle courses come to my mind. Most importantly, provide a safe space and opportunity for active family fun.  A past wellness blog post discussed family fun nights in depth.

  3. Parent/Children Athletic Camps: Does your department hold any athletic skill development clinics? If so, inviting parents to participate with their children is a great way to encourage family fitness. Staff members teach and oversee the drills, and parents help in facilitating to their children. This works especially well with younger children and allows the parents to get in on the activity.

  4. Family Cooking Courses: Family cooking courses can be used to introduce fun, easy and healthy recipes that are appropriate for the whole family. There are a lot of good resources online for finding family-friendly healthy recipes. Try Food Network or All Recipes for help.

  5. Family Walking Group: Walking groups are a different way to get families active. Start a walking group geared towards families! Children, teenagers, and parents can connect with each other while walking in safe and fun locations. The NCRPA Wellness Webinars have covered running and walking groups in the past. Check out recordings of these webinars for extra help!

I hope that this blog post has given you some ways to promote family fitness in your community! If your department has a great family fitness program, I’d love to hear about it. Email me at diquan@ncrpa.net to share!

 

Until next time,

 
Diquan

Tags:  Family  Healthy Living  NCRPA Wellness  Wellness 

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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?

 

Smiles?

 

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 – http://www.nrpa.org/parkeconreport/

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

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"Run" Your Community

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, March 2, 2015

Good Morning,

Last Wednesday NCRPA was fortunate enough to have Scott Knox, from Morrisville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, provide us with information regarding run groups and training for a 5K race. Scott emphasized that greenway trails can be perfect for recreational and wellness use, but many are not aware of their existence, or their ease of access. Run/Walk groups are a perfect way to educate communities on their park’s system, as well as the importance of health and wellness. Scott went over key points, such as getting started, who to reach out to in your community, and other helpful information of organization run groups and 5K training.

The first goal is to establish a base of interest. Social media, flyers throughout the community, and reaching out to people who would be interested in participating is a perfect place to start. The idea is to cater to families and individuals to contribute to the diversity of the running group, which will allow to meet the needs of all types of runners! The next step is to each out to an organization or special interest group that have similar interests or objectives as what you have set for the group. The groups can consist of healthy food vendors, sport equipment stores, or other sponsor groups. It will be easier to promote the run group if your department has external organizations reaching out to the community as well.

Now, where do we start? The key is to pick a time and place that will best suit your participants. Once again, it is important to promote the run group to all sorts of experienced runners. The next step is to provide the participants with something to follow, such as a 5K training program guide giving them a goal to achieve. Finding a way to instill motivation and inspiration among participants is critical for the success of a run group program!

Scott was extremely helpful with all the fruitful information that he provided. If you want to learn more about run groups, you can view a video of Scotts Webinar here: https://vimeo.com/121048064 

Please email or submit any run group or training for a 5k information that you may have so we can add it to our wellness toolkit! (colleen@ncrpa.net, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

 

Colleen 

Tags:  5K Training  Community  Family  Health  Parks  Programs  Run Groups  Trails  Wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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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: (colleen@ncrpa.net, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub

Tags:  Active Lifestyle  Family  Health  Healthy Vending  Movie Night  Wellness 

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Capture a New Outdoor Program

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, Graduate Assistant - NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, January 26, 2015

This week’s blog is a quick preview of our next Wellness Webinar: 8 easy program ideas for 2015. As we prepare ideas for the spring months, one simple program ideas is to hold a Family Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. Not only does this event bring together families if your community, but it takes advantage of your parks, walking trails, and greenways. A scavenger hunt will get your community out an about in your park and allow you to increase awareness of other programs and facilities!

How can you set up an Outdoor Family Scavenger Hunt?

1.)    First, what equipment and staff will you need? Request families upon signing-up to bring a device that takes pictures, such as a digital camera or a camera phone. Other items may include: pens, pencils, and timers to keep track of the duration of the activity. On the day of the event, provide 2 or 3 programmers/volunteers to assist with questions and help families during the scavenger hunt.

2.)    Second, provide a specific park location and a scavenger hunt list. Here are some ideas of what the list can include: a smooth stone, a colorful bird, a butterfly, a rabbit or deer, a pond, or even a family-selfie in front of a park sign! Be as creative as you would like, the options are endless.

3.)    Lastly, on the day of the event, make sure a meeting spot has been designated. Explain the instructions to the family and agree on an end time to the scavenger hunt. At the end of the event, you can provide fun prizes or a healthy snack for the children.

There are many advantages to an Outdoor Family Scavenger Hunt! It ultimately gives a reason for families to spend time together and to explore a park in your community. It is low-cost, and uses resources that you most likely already have.

Click the link for more scavenger hunt ideas provided by “My Kids’ Adventures” an online magazine: http://www.mykidsadventures.com/photo-scavenger-hunt/

Don’t forget, you can still register for this week’s webinar. The presentation will focus on 8 easy program ideas for 2015 conducted by the NCRPA staff on Wednesday, January 28th, at 1pm; Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/171568608

If you have any new ideas for outdoor family programs, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

Colleen 

Tags:  Activities  Family  Greenways  Nature  Outdoor  Parks  Wellness 

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