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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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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 to share!

Until next time,


Tags:  Family  Family Time  Health  NCRPA Wellness 

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Outdoor Family Adventures

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Monday!

It is the last official week of July but there is still plenty of summertime left! Being able to enjoy the time outdoors is important to reduce stress and improve your overall health. This week’s blog discusses ways to encourage the families in your community to stay active by giving them ideas of outdoor family gatherings. According to, studies have shown that family time can help boost kids’ self-esteem, enhance social development, and create strong relational bonds. 

One idea is to promote or create events as at community gardens in your city/town. Encouraging families to become involved is a fantastic way to promote eating healthy. Not only does it help sponsor a healthy lifestyle, but an hour of light physical gardening can burn as many calories as spending an hour walking 3.5 miles! A couple hours at a community garden is a great way for family bonding while enjoying the outdoors. Check out the NCRPA Community Gardens page to learn more about community gardens. Another idea is to help set up a family scavenger hunt. Not only do scavenger hunts bring together the families in your community, but it takes advantage of your parks, walking trails, and greenways! Encourage families to check out a different park each weekend and discover what they have to offer. Read my past blog Capture a New Outdoor Program for more ideas of how to create and promote a summertime scavenger hunt in your community. Lastly, suggest an outdoor recreation location in the area that rents out kayaks, canoes, or paddleboats by the hour, many parks already do this! Your department can help provide a day itinerary that gives ideas for a healthy lunch and activities by a nearby beach or park after the kayak/canoe or paddleboard adventure.

All these ideas can be promoted and suggested over social media! Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to motivate and inspire the families in your community to spend more time together! The ultimate goal is to live a healthier lifestyle.

One last note, remember this is the last week for the National Recreation and Park Association 80’s challenge. NCRPA is asking your departments to share if any of your community members participated during the month of July! Please submit any photos or information on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net



Tags:  Family Time  Healthy Living  Wellness 

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