Print Page | Sign In | Join NCRPA
The NC Recre8'er - News, Insight and Tips for Recreation and Parks Professionals
Blog Home All Blogs
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.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Wellness  Recreation  parks  NCRPA Wellness  50at50  NCRPA  Healthy Living  young professionals  Health  ypn  Wellness bulletin  healthy eating  #Ncrecre8  fitness  NRPA  Health and Wellness  Programs  Tips  Blogs  Community Gardens  DiscoverNCParks  professional development  Family  Organization  Youth Programs  Active Lifestyle  Awareness  Association  Community Building  conference 

Getting to know the NCRPA Summer Interns!

Posted By Matthew Carusona, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Thursday, June 9, 2016

This Summer NCRPA is hosting two AWESOME interns!  We asked  Hana and Andrea.a few questions to help our members get to know them. You can contact them at or 

1. What has been the best part of your internship so far?

Andrea: The most interesting part of my internship so far has been getting to go and sit in on an NCRPA board meeting! It was a great way for me to see all the moving parts of NCRPA behind the scenes.

Hana: I enjoyed visiting different departments while helping with NCRPA's events. Going to these events gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of parks and recreation professionals.

2. What are you most excited about moving forward?

Hana: It would be learning about how different recreation and parks organizations in our state operate and gaining knowledge to help me in my career decisions for the future.

Andrea: I am most excited to help out at the Football Summit that is partnering with USA Football and the Carolina Panthers. 

3. One cool or interesting fact people may not know about you?

Andrea: I've gone waterfall hiking in Honduras for the past two years while on orphanage outreach trips!

Hana: The past year I have been traveling all across the United States on weekends facilitating youth activities as part of an internship with Project YES!

Tags:  Blogs  intern  Local Parks  National Recreation and Park Association  NC State  ncrpa  NCSU  NRPA  Organization  Parks  Programs  Recreation  WCU  Western Carolina  Youth Programs 

Share |

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Hydration is Key

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 4th of July!


As we head into the hot summer months, it is important to continue to share information on how to stay healthy, hydrated and exercise safely in the heat! Drinking plenty of water is critical no matter if you are sitting in the sun, playing sports or traveling. 

As we all know water is vital for the body to function correctly, especially for the heart! According to the American Heart Association, the body well hydrated helps the heart pump blood through the vessels to all the muscles. Additionally, it also reduces the amount of work your heart has to do throughout the day. North Carolina summers can bring extreme hot temperatures, and no matter the age, dehydration can lead to problems ranging from headaches, swollen feet, low energy and heat stroke.

Because a lot of our park agencies host summer youth programs, it is essential that information is always shared of the importance of staying hydrated, and how during the long summer days! Water is the best substance to stay hydrated compared with other liquids. Even sport drinks can be helpful because they contain electrolytes which help people doing high intensity exercises in the hot weather. Sugary drinks can be hard on the stomach, especially if you have reached dehydration. The key is to drink water throughout the day, especially before, during and after activities.

So what are some tips to keep kids and adults hydrated in your youth summer programs? The YMCA shared some helpful tips to be shared among the North Carolina communities.

  • Freeze water bottles overnight. This will ensure the preparation of cold water for the next day instead of having the children drink warm water that has been sitting out in the sun.
  • If children want more than just water, then try adding some fresh limes or lemons in the water for taste. Adding flavor will hopefully motivate the children to keep drinking water.
  • Try to avoid caffeinated drinks which tend to lead to dehydration. Leaving those at home will help children drink water when they are thirsty rather than reaching for a coke.

Continue to share information among your community by using social media! Posting facts about staying hydrated on Facebook and Twitter will only raise awareness on staying healthy during the hot summer days. If you have any ideas on staying hydrated or sharing tips regarding youth summer programs, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here:




Tags:  Health  Hydration  Summer  Wellness  Youth Programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Healthy Snacks for the Summer

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy Monday!

As youth summer programs kick-off, it is important to consider snacks that are both healthy and well-liked by the children. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledges the health of today’s school and youth programs continues to improve, but there is still progress to be made. Currently, the Smart Snacks in School standards have helped ensure kids are offered tasty and nutritious foods during the school day. Some of the food requirements include a “whole grain-rich” grain product, or have as the first ingredient a fruit, vegetable, a dairy product or a protein food. If you aren’t doing it already, these food guidelines can easily be carried into youth summer programs to maintain a consistent message throughout the year. However, as busy we all are during the summer months, sometimes it is hard to consider healthy snacks and we resort to purchasing the fast, easy and less healthy options for youth programs.

Below I have listed healthy snack options, as well as a couple resources for youth programmers to gather ideas for more healthy options.

Healthy Snack options can include:

  • Apple slices spread with reduced fat peanut butter and sprinkled with raisins.
  • Applesauce with cinnamon
  • Banana sliced in half with reduced fat peanut butter.
  • Cut up vegetables with low-fat ranch dressing.
  • Popcorn with or without light butter.
  • Low fat pudding cups/ Low sugar Jell-O cups
  • Trail Mix: Chex Mix, mini-pretzels, raisins, chocolate chips, and mixed nuts
  • Red grapes and string cheese.
  • Rice cakes spread with reduced fat peanut butter.
  • Sliced Watermelon
  • Serving of dried cranberries and blueberries
  • Fruit Salad (sliced and diced fruit such as bananas, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, ect.)
  • Veggie tray: celery, carrots, and cherry tomatoes
  •  Animal crackers or graham crackers
  •  Yogurt with granola pieces

Listed are some alternative resources to find information on quick snacks or meals to prepare for children. Eat Smart Move More NC provides information on both snacks and drinks. This is great general information that everyone should know; such as portion control, planning ahead for the week, and specific food items that are the healthiest. KidsHealth has great recipes for kids with dietary restrictions; every child, no matter their limitations, should be able to enjoy their meals. The UNL Food Team, has quick, simple snack mixes that are creative, healthy and tasty. And lastly, be sure to check out NCRPA’s Healthy Snack Guidelines page for more information on increasing healthy snacks and food in sports, camps, afterschool and other programs!

As always, if you have any snack ideas or healthy eating programs, then please us or submit them on the wellness site here:  (, Happy healthy eating!


Tags:  Eat Smart  Eat Smart Move More  Healthy Eating  USDA  Wellness  Youth Programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Youth Camp Ideas

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, June 1, 2015

Happy Monday, is it June already? Last week Joseph Voska and Toni Webb, from the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department, presented our latest Wellness Webinar discussing youth program ideas for the summer months. This webinar has important information for brainstorming and incorporating new youth program offerings in your own community. Even though this summer is right around the corner, the ideas presented by Joseph and Toni can help enhance your future summer programs!

Joseph and Toni talk about the variety of camp programs offered to meet the needs and wants of the Raleigh’s diverse youth population. It is important to remember each individual kid has their own interests, so the parent will register their child for the best fit program. Raleigh’s Summer X-Press Program is a high quality traditional camp experience. The program offers organized activities including: arts and crafts, recreational sports and games, field trips and much more. Day Trippin’ Camp is another idea that was discussed during the webinar. This program is extremely popular, mainly because it is not your typical summer camp. Day Trippin’ campers have the opportunity to go on two field trips each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This way the campers have an opportunity to go swimming, fishing, boating, ice skating, bowling or visit museums and watch movies.

Joseph and Toni also discuss the challenges and successes of their programs. If you are still searching for unique program ideas, then please click the following link to view the webinar:

Lately the webinars have been discussing opportunities to help get kids actively involved in various programs, but do not forget about the healthy eating options! Even if your programs are set for the summer months, make sure to provide healthy snacks for your camp participants. It is not too late to change those chips to apples, carrots or celery! Check out NCRPA’s Wellness Activities and Education in After School and Camp Programs webpage. There you can read healthy snack guidelines and how you can incorporate it into your summer programs.

Your youth programs, whether it is summer or during the year, can become stronger by offering more opportunities to engage the youth, as well as providing healthy eating options. If you have youth program or healthy eating ideas, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  Healthy Eating  NCRPA  Webinars  Wellness  Youth Programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Summertime Youth Activities

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. Today will be our next Wellness Webinar hosted by Toni Webb and Joseph Voska, from the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. The webinar will discuss youth program ideas for the upcoming summer months. The webinar will be a great opportunity to gather notes on youth activities and opportunities for summer camps or daycare programs.  

Personally reflecting on youth programs, I couldn’t help but to think of my time spent working at Camp Walt Whitman, a residential summer camp located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Walt Whitman, offers sports, swimming, ropes course, and art activities. Furthermore, because this camp has ages ranging from 7 to 15 years old, the activities are catered to specific age groups to create an engaging, learning and fun atmosphere. One of the most memorable days of camp is celebrating the 4th of July with the children. The counselors lead special planned activities that the children partake in. I will briefly explain two of the more popular youth games at our camp.

Watermelon Roll Race is an amusing game to watch and participate in. Use baby oil or vegetable oil to grease up a large watermelon. Line up the children and their watermelons at the start line, after the starting whistle blows race the watermelons by rolling them along the ground towards the finish line! The baby oil makes it a bit more challenging, who likes an easy race anyways?

Another popular game is the Dodge Ball Obstacle Course. Create a race course with obstacles, such as cones, hula-hoops, gymnastic pads, jump ropes, and whatever else you may have on hand. Explain the course to the children, and split them up into teams; you can make it as creative or as easy as you want. The goal is for the children to get to the other side of the obstacle course. To make it more challenging for an older age group, you can add dodge balls! See how fast one team can make it through the obstacle course while the other group tosses dodge balls at them. Makes for an exciting obstacle course race.

These two games are just some of many youth games that can be incorporated into your summer program. Remember, the goal is to tap into their creative side, as well as encouraging them to actively participate.  Be sure to register for the Wellness Webinar today at 1:00pm, for more youth ideas regarding the summer months:

If you have any youth program ideas or activities, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  Physical Activity  Summer Camps  Summertime  Wellness  Youth Programs 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)