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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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Community Health & Wellness Workshop

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, May 22, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

In case you did not know, the NCRPA Wellness Initiative is holding a Community Health & Wellness Workshop on June 8th in Greensboro, NC! The workshop is designed to give you tools to improve the health of your community. This wellness blog will detail the workshop’s sessions and speakers.


The idea for the Community Health & Wellness Workshop stemmed from the NCRPA 2016 Education and Workshops Survey. The survey was distributed to NCRPA members and asked a variety of questions regarding workshops and topics that our members are interested in. In the survey, we asked the question “Would you be interested in attending a wellness event, workshop, or summit?” and the overwhelming majority of respondents selected “yes”. Because of this interest, planning began for a wellness event.


When determining the layout for a wellness event, I began exploring relevant health and wellness topics in North Carolina. This exploration involved analyzing the 2016 NCRPA Park Directors Agency Wellness Assessment, as well as researching current trends in wellness. Through my search, I discovered the elements for our workshop sessions which are included below.


A separate wellness specific survey was sent out to North Carolina Park Directors in 2016. The Park Directors Agency Wellness Assessment found that healthy eating programs were lacking in our departments. To address this shortfalling, we recruited Dr. Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Haynes-Maslow, nutrition and public health expert, has put together a session that will “explore how your agency's out-of-school programs can implement Healthy Out of School Time Standards.” Healthy eating objectives are a major part of these standards will be discussed in depth. Additionally, Dr. Haynes-Maslow will discuss how the NC State Cooperative Extension can help in the implementation of these standards.


In researching current trends in recreation for health programs, the concept of park prescriptions was a major topic area. To address this trend, Dr. Jason Bocarro and Dr. Myron Floyd from NC State University, and Sangamithra Krupakar MBBS, MSPH from the Division of Public Health will  present a session entitled “Thinking Outside the Pillbox: Positioning community parks and recreation to grow healthier communities.” This session will “explore how community parks and recreation services can play a much larger role in providing both prevention and treatment, offering an alternative and a more cost effective and efficient preventive medical approach.” Additionally, attendees will be introduced to the research behind park prescription programs and be given ways to implement these practices into their communities.


A common thread in implementing recreation for health programs that I found were partnerships. These partnerships take individuals from different backgrounds with different skill sets and brought them together to create recreation for health programs. The idea of partnership inspired our next session: the Community Health & Wellness expert panel. This panel of recreation and health care providers will help facilitate a roundtable discussion centered around recreation for health. This roundtable discussion will help attendees gain skills to form community partnerships, give attendees resources to help implement health programs, and more! Our panelists include Alice Keene - Special Projects Coordinator from Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation, Jason Urroz - director of Kids in Parks, and Dave Gardner - Worksite Wellness and School Coordinator with the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Each panelist’s track record has demonstrated a passion for community health & wellness and will bring a wealth of knowledge to our group.


Our is taking place on Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Library in Greensboro, NC. The speakers are extremely engaging and will help you in improving wellness in your community. If you are passionate about positively impacting the health and wellness of members of your community, please register today! We would love to get a big turnout to help create a network of health and wellness advocates in our state. Space for the workshop is limited, so please register today!!


Until next time,


Diquan


Tags:  healthy eating  Healthy Living  ncrpa  ncrpa wellness  workshop 

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Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Posted By Diquan Edmonds, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, March 13, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 6, 2017

With Saint Patrick’s Day approaching, your department may be gearing up for an annual Saint Patrick’s Day event. I can remember attending my hometown’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade every year growing up. This wellness blog is intended to give you five healthy ideas to help you celebrate the day.


1. Healthy “Green” Smoothie


A great alternative to green colored adult beverages is a healthy green smoothie. Just throw spinach, pineapple, mango, and bananas in a blender with a little bit of water and you’ll have a great, healthy smoothie to enjoy. Whip up these smoothies and serve them in small, sample-sized cups to attendees to your morning programs.


2. Saint Patrick’s Day Gold Hunt


A cool active activity for Saint Patrick’s Day is to hold a Leprechaun “gold hunt”. Similar to an Easter Egg Hunt, hide plastic gold coins around your facility. Participants dressed in their favorite green attire can take their “pot-o-gold” and set out to collect the most gold coins. Participants can then take home their bounty, or exchange it for other appropriate Saint Patrick’s Day items. This activity is a fun way to get active and is an easy activity that does not involve unhealthy foods.


3. Leprechaun Walk/Run Event


Another way to get your community active is to hold a leprechaun walk/run event. Pick a route through your local park or community, and encourage people to come out in their favorite Saint Patrick’s Day outfits. Market this event in your community centers, parks, social media pages, and more to get the community out.


4. Four Leaf Clover Craft


In your children’s programs, a simple four leaf clover craft is a great activity for Saint Patrick’s day. After the craft is complete, take a trip outside to visit patches of clovers. Have children look for their own real life four leaf clovers! This craft gets you outside and is an alternative to unhealthy Saint Patrick’s Day foods.


5. “Green” Potluck Staff Lunch


Saint Patrick’s Day is all about green. This brings a great opportunity to incorporate healthy green foods into your diet. Have a healthy potluck lunch with your staff, where each person brings a different “green dish.” Encourage these dishes to be comprised of mostly green vegetables, and other nutrient-rich green foods. If you need some inspiration, click this link.

 

I hope that you have a happy and healthy Saint Patrick’s Day!


Until next time,

Diquan


Tags:  healthy eating  wellness 

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June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month!

Posted By Matthew Carusona, North Carolina Recreation and Park Association, Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer is here and the weather is warmer, especially this past weekend. Thankfully you can grab a fresh slice of orange or watermelon to cool you down! June is Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month and this week’s blog will highlight a few resources to get more fruits and vegetable on your plate whether it be at home or at work as part of your programs!

Buy in Season, Buy Local: Have you ever wondered, what’s in season? Well the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services makes it easy with their NC Produce Availability Chart. This chart can be used for finding the freshest and best tasting produce available. Buying your produce at a local farmer’s market, or grocery store that sources locally further ensures your produce is fresh; better yet, see if you can buy direct from a local grower. Additionally extra fruit and vegetables can be frozen and used later for anything from smoothies to fruit desserts.

Grow a Garden: Teaching citizens about healthy eating is important, but they cannot put that knowledge into practice if they do not have access to healthy food outside of class. Community gardens are a fantastic way to promote healthy eating. They can help teach people where their food comes from, and give them a chance to connect with their neighbors. Gardens can be small or large, but even a small garden can have a large impact on the health of your community. Check out our Community Garden Page in the wellness toolkit for more info.

Set Healthy Snack Guidelines: Parks and recreation agencies provide a lot of programming for children. Often that programming involves food, which can often be unhealthy. Providing fresh produce can be a great way to keep things healthy and expose participants to different fresh fruits and vegetables. Our wellness toolkit has some great guidelines and resources for increasing healthy snacks and food in sports, camp, afterschool, and other programs. Check out our Healthy Snack Guideline Page in the wellness toolkit for more info.

Quick Ideas: While large-scale projects are great, don't be discouraged if you don't have the resources to tackle a large project right away. Here are some easy things you can do to promote fresh fruits and vegetables along with wellness in your agency right now!

  • Healthy snack day at community center (provide fresh fruit and vegetables to each participant, or work with a local vendor to have a fresh fruit and vegetables food week)
  • Short health lesson with a healthy snack, consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables in after-school programs.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables at staff meetings.
  • Fruit Fridays! Bring a different fruit to staff one Friday each month for a snack. Include a healthy recipe if you wish.
  • Pick up veggies from the farmer’s market (or harvest them from your garden) to share with staff.
You can also check out our webinar: 10 Ways to Improve Wellness in Your Department Now!

Tags:  Community Gardens  Health  Health and Wellness  Health Eating  Healthy Cooking  healthy eating  Healthy Foods  Healthy Lifestyle  Healthy Living  Healthy Snacks  Healthy Snacks Program  Live Healthy  Local Vendors  ncrpa  Recreation  Snack Nation  Wellness  Wellness bulletin 

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Eat Smart: Black Mountain's Community Gardens

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, February 15, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Monday,

Last week we were lucky enough to have Jill Edwards, Black Mountain Recreation and Parks, host our February Wellness Webinar. She discussed their Eat Smart Black Mountain program. Black Mountain has been extremely successful in creating, and maintaining their community gardens, as well as offering healthy eating education. This week’s blog discusses Black Mountain’s community gardens concepts and ideas to aid your department in implementing similar programs.

Black Mountain’s Eat Smart program includes three community gardens, two youth gardens, a demonstration garden and their largest garden, the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden. Between these various gardens, the Black Mountain community has an estimated annual produce yield of roughly 13,000 pounds. The fruits grown include, but are not limited to: apples, blackberries, blueberries, pawpaws, strawberries, and watermelon. Some of the vegetables grown are: asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, onion, peppers, potatoes and spinach.

Their success with community gardens stems from the asset based community development (ABCD) concept. ABCD is a process by which neighborhood regeneration can be achieved by locating all of the available local assets and connecting them with one another in ways that multiply their effect. ABCD’s breakdown includes five categories: associations, individuals, institutions, local ecology and local economy. Briefly, associations include groups that are powered by individuals. Mainly focusing on how individuals can motivate groups of people to come together for a common goal and to empower communities to produce and eat healthier foods. Next, individuals, which includes residents and volunteers, also have a strong impact on creating and maintaining community gardens. Volunteers are the heart and soul of community projects, like gardens. Institutions, like businesses, non-profits, and public organizations can play a part in offering options and getting community members involved in these type of developments. The next category, local ecology, is what the land around you has to offer, it is important to understand what sort of fruits and vegetables can be grown around you. And lastly, the local economy, including arborist, garden shops and various sponsors, can establish local community goals and missions to inspire people to come together and grow a healthier community. Jill also discusses resources, such as American Community Garden Associations, NRPA Grow your Park, as well as our NCRPA Community Gardens page, which offers suggestions, tips and ideas when establishing your own community garden,

The Eat Smart Black Mountain program works to promote healthy eating and active living through hands-on gardening and nutritious programs.  If you missed out on this informative webinar, click the following Vimeo link to watch: https://vimeo.com/154759752

Lastly, NC Recre8’s statewide 5k is excited to announce registration is now live! The race will take place on Saturday, April 16, at various locations across North Carolina. Click the following link for more information and to check if there are any race locations by you: www.ncparkrun.com

If you would like to share your ideas regarding community gardens, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

Colleen 

Tags:  Community Gardens  Healthy Eating  Wellness 

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Reach Your Health Goals in 2016

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy New Year!


I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe New Year! This year holds a lot of exciting events for the Wellness Initiative and we cannot wait for all of you to be part of it. With the New Year goals set to live a healthier and active lifestyle, it is important to find inspiration to keep strong and confident throughout the year.


First, set reasonable goals. Do not overdo it during the first month. Make sure your exercise routine and eating habits are balanced and within your own control. You do want healthy eating and exercise to become a chore, but something that you truly enjoy doing. Secondly, make sure you reward yourself. Healthy eating requires portion control, so allow yourself to eat the occasional favorite dessert or meal. Third, keep track of your progress with a calendar or journal! Setting dates will help you reach your goals, but make sure it is done in a healthy and realistic manner. Lastly, invite others to join your healthy lifestyle. Friends, family and co-workers can serve as a great support system which helps maintain your motivation, as well as theirs! Motivate others by sharing healthy tips, advice and suggestions through the use of social media, such as: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Remember, the next Wellness Webinar will be hosted by Greg Walker of Fletcher Parks and Recreation, and Mark Scott, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Asheville. The webinar will focus on organizing a 5k run/walk in your own community. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, January 12th at 1:00pm. To register please click the link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3187996952281022465

 

This coming April 2016, NCRPA is partnering with departments statewide to host the first ever statewide Recre8 5k! If you have never organized a 5k race in your community, then participating in the 5k Webinar will be extremely useful information! For more information on how to get your department involved in the Recre8 5k race, visit the race page: http://www.ncparkrun.com/, or contact myself (colleen@ncrpa.net ) or matt (matt@ncrpa.net).

 

I challenge all of you during the first month of the year to engage yourself in healthy eating practices and to exercise regularly. If you have any healthy eating ideas or exercise tips to share feel free to email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.nethttp://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

 

Happy New Year!


Colleen 

Tags:  Health  Healthy Eating  Inspiration  Motivation  Smart Living  Wellness 

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Heart-Healthy Food Substitutions

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, December 21, 2015
Updated: Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Monday,


We often find ourselves cooking more during the festive winter season! This blog discusses some heart-healthy substitutions that you can incorporate in your daily meal preparation or when cooking for special gatherings.


First, flour is a very common ingredient. So instead of white, processed flour try to incorporate whole-wheat flour into your baking. Whole grains contain the entire grain, and are more fibrous than their white, processed counterparts. Secondly, unsweetened applesauce, or any fruit puree, can often replace butter or oil, as well as reduce the amount of saturated fat in your meals. Chili, pasta sauce, and heavier foods with red meat are common during the winter months. Reducing your consumption of red meat is a serious step in reducing your chances of heart disease, so consider replacing your red meat with ground turkey! This way you can still have your favorite winter meals, but a healthier version. Another healthier substitution for common ingredients is using egg whites instead of whole eggs. When it comes to baking, egg whites can generally replace the need for a whole egg.  Losing the yolk helps to cut cholesterol intake without cutting the flavor. For more healthy baking substitutes be sure to read the 9 Health Substitutions for Everyday Foods by the American Heart Association. Additionally, refer back to our Health Cooking/Nutrition Programs for more ideas and information on healthy eating practices. Don’t forget to share this information with your department and community using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


Coming up in January the next Wellness Webinar will be hosted by Greg Walker of Fletcher Parks and Recreation, and Mark Scott, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Asheville. The webinar will focus on organizing a 5k run/walk in your own community. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, January 12th at 1:00pm. To register please click the link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3187996952281022465

This coming April 2016, NCRPA is partnering with departments statewide to host the first ever statewide Recre8 5k! If you have never organized a 5k race in your community, then participating in the 5k Webinar will be extremely useful information! For more information on how to get your department involved in the Recre8 5k race, visit the race page: http://www.ncparkrun.com/, or contact myself (colleen@ncrpa.net ) or matt (matt@ncrpa.net).


I challenge all of you during the rest of December to engage yourself in healthy holiday eating practices and to exercise regularly. If you have any healthy eating ideas or exercise tips during the holiday season then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.nethttp://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)


Colleen

Tags:  Healthy Cooking  Healthy Eating  Holiday Season  NCRPA  Wellness bulletin 

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Living Healthy On The Road

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Monday,


Thank you to all those who attend the 2015 Carolinas Joint Conference last week! The NCRPA team, as well as professionals and students from across the states of North and South Carolina assembled together at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The conference was jam packed with educational, networking and social event opportunities that many took advantage of! Even though conference is over, we thought now would be a good time to share some tips on how you can stay active while on the go! When you are traveling it is essential to be mindful of staying committed to living a healthy and active lifestyle. While I was away at conference, it made me realize how important it is to continue to be healthy to remain energetic and alert during the long day. This blog discusses some active and healthy eating recommendations for when you are away from home.


Begin the day with a morning walk! Hotels usually have suggestions of trails or parks nearby, or even a gym within the building. Conferences are full of sitting during presentations and meetings, so get your heart rate going by stretching the legs and going for a quick walk. Even squeezing in a quick walk during lunch can help your mind take a break and enjoy the fresh air. Another idea is to always take the stairs rather than the elevator, getting those extra steps in will make a difference.


USA Today provides great suggestions on eating healthy when traveling for business. Begin your day with whole grain cereal instead of donuts or bagels. Another idea is to grab a cup with low-fat yogurt and a banana. Pack snacks that are easy to eat while you are on-the-go! Pretzels, sliced apples, oranges, chopped vegetables, and protein bars are a perfect source of healthy ingredients and a smart alternative to fast food. For lunch, select lean meats, vegetables, spinach wraps and whole grain breads. A side salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, or broth-based soups can be a lot healthier than fries or chips. Lastly, for dinner, select simple appetizers such as a salad or fresh vegetables. There are plenty of healthy entrees that include fish, lean meats such as chicken or turkey, or vegetarian options without the heavy cream sauces. Also, remember, staying hydrated during the conference is vital. Water is the best way to go to keep yourself focused and well hydrated. Another option is to drink unsweetened coffee, tea, and sparkling water during the presentations, it is a healthy substitute compared to the high-sugar, high-calorie drinks. It is up to you to discover healthy and delicious foods while you are on the go! You can share these ideas and suggestions with your department and community!


Please note, our next webinar will take place on Tuesday, November 10th at 1:00pm. Aaron Davis and Kristen Herndon from Graham Recreation and Parks Department, will be hosting. The topic will focus on the Graham Walks program, which is a 5 week incentive-based walking program held during the spring and fall. Programs like Graham Walks generates inspiration within the community for members to reach the recommended exercise goal times per week. Please register for the webinar to learn more of how you can start programs like Grahams within your own department: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/991624618466824193


If you have any advice or tips on living a healthy and balanced lifestyle at work conferences then we want to hear from you! Email us your ideas or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.nethttp://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)


Colleen

Tags:  Conference  healthy eating  NCRPA  Wellness  Work Meetings 

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Encouraging Healthy Habits

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, August 10, 2015

Happy Monday!


The past few blogs have discussed ways to implement healthy eating in your community and department. However, it is important to also think about ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle in a manner that is positive and motivating. Many times children can be picky when it comes to eating new or healthy food options that they may have never experienced before. PBS Parents discuss ways to engage children about healthy food choices in a positive and encouraging manner. These ideas can be shared among your department and family members in your community!


First, involving kids in planning meals, going grocery shopping, and preparing food will help them become invested in the process and more likely to eat the food purchased. They will feel included and will be more willing to try something new if they have ownership in the process. Second, teaching kids where the food comes from will help increase their knowledge of why eating certain foods can be healthier for their bodies. When possible take advantage of local farmers markets rather than a supermarket. Other examples include going berry or apple picking, visiting a dairy farm, and volunteering at a local community garden. Going straight to the source will help children see where their food comes from and how it is made. Next, giving them freedom of choice during meals encourages them to make their own healthy decisions. Start by cooking a suitable base meal, like rice, beans or pasta. Then let kids dress it up with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, salsa, peppers and other fresh toppings.

 

Remind your department and community that leading by example is the best way to encourage children to eat healthy!  PBS discusses that recent studies have shown that children’s food tastes are significantly related to foods their family members like and dislike. Check out our Healthy Cooking/Nutrition Program page to learn more about how to create more access to local food and produce in your community.


If you have any ideas of encouraging healthy food choices, then please share by submitting or emailing your ideas on the wellness site here:  (colleen@ncrpa.nethttp://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

 

Colleen

Tags:  Healthy Eating  Wellness  Youth Development 

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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:  (colleen@ncrpa.net,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub). Happy healthy eating!


Colleen  

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

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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: https://vimeo.com/129028558

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

Colleen

Tags:  Healthy Eating  NCRPA  Webinars  Wellness  Youth Programs 

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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: https://vimeo.com/126809429

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

Colleen 

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

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The #GimmeFive Challenge

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of National Nutrition Month, Let’s Move has announced the #GimmeFive challenge, encouraging families to come up with five new meals to help nourish their family and friends. Let’s Move is also using social media to spread the task by challenging communities to share their creations by using the hashtag #GimmeFive on social media outlets, such as: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

So how can we become involved? Our challenge for you is to continue to encourage your department and community to take part in National Nutrition Month. You can start within your department and create a #GimmeFive competition among your staff members. Or even reach out to your community to take part in the #GimmeFive challenge for the last half of March.

Motivating our communities to take part of the #GimmeFive challenge is a perfect way to inspire new creations and nutritious meals. Ask individuals in your department or community to share their favorite meals and post it to social media to increase awareness, you can even create a recipe book of all the submissions! Remember to reach out to local farmers markets and vendors for recipe ideas and tips. USDA’s MyPlate is another resource providing tips and advice on the proper proportions of produce, protein, and low-fat dairy to include in recipes. Make sure to check out NCRPA’s Healthy Cooking and Nutrition Programs page for more ideas.

This month is full of great information and ideas. If you have any #GimmeFive program ideas, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net,http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)

Colleen

Tags:  #GimmeFive  Healthy Eating  Let's Move  Wellness 

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Creating Healthier Lives: National Nutrition Month

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, March 9, 2015

As we head into the second week of March, the signs of spring are finally appearing. Hopefully all of you have adjusted your clocks and enjoying the hour of extra sunlight in the evening.

Another important announcement, if you are not already aware, is that it is National Nutrition Month. During the month of March, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ADA) focuses their attention on increasing awareness of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The information provided will hopefully inspire year-round dedication to healthy habits and an improved lifestyle.

Let’s take this opportunity to teach our communities, departments and families’ easy ways they can start to make improvements to their nutrition that will lead a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some ideas:

·Use social media to send out daily recipes or exercise ideas to your community. Follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy’s social media channels, Facebook &Twitter, to gather more ideas and information.  Use #NNM hashtag if you send information via Twitter or Facebook.

·Encourage your department to share healthy recipes and exercise tips in updates, e-news or printed monthly newsletters. Reach out to local health professionals to create opportunities to inform your community on ways to develop sound eating and physical activity habits. Some great resources include the local cooperative extension, county health department or nutritionist from a local college to come and lead a staff training.

·Lastly, continue to motivate your department in making an effort to make physical activity a part of their daily routine. Some ideas include morning yoga, run groups, or daily walks, which will reduce the chance of chronic illnesses and increase energy levels throughout the day.  

I challenge all of you to take the lead and raise awareness for National Nutrition Month! Taking the steps to lead a healthier life can have positive results; some effects can include improving your mood, reducing stress, and increasing endurance and stamina. For more information please visit: http://tinyurl.com/luajrzp

Also, good luck to the participants this weekend in the Tobacco Road Marathon & Half-Marathon, Cary, NC.  I’ll be one of many runners enjoying the scenery on the beautiful trails!

If you have any ideas for promoting National Nutrition Month within your community and department, please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (colleen@ncrpa.net, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)


Colleen 

Tags:  active lifestyle  healthy eating  national nutrition month  wellness 

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