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Parks Baton
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The Parks Baton 

Play (verb)engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation

Merriam-Webster may have one set definition of play, but NCRPA knows that parks and recreation professionals find new, innovative ways to define play. Join us this July to celebrate Park and Recreation Month by showing us how you play and Get Your Play On! by participating in Parks Baton.

The Parks Baton is a collaborative photo project to show the world (and to remind ourselves) how amazing recreation and parks people and places are, through Instagram. This project is a month-long takeover of NCRPA’s Instagram to celebrate Park and Recreation Month by showcasing the the many different ways parks and recreation departments bring play to their communities.

For July 1-31, we will feature a new baton carrier every Monday-Friday. If you are interested in carrying the #ParksBaton, please review the instructions/rules below and fill out the sign up form. We can’t wait to see what you will share!


Photographers can range in expertise from amateur to professional—we don’t care. We just want to show off all the amazing things you do!

Once you register, you will receive an email with the date you will carry the Baton and instructions for accessing the account. Please use form at the bottom of the page to register!

Rules and Guidelines

[Updated 5/21/18]

By signing up to carry the Parks Baton, you agree to follow these rules and policies: 


1.     Spread the word. On the week of your baton day, we’ll send you an image of our logo that you may share, if you like, on your personal Instagram account to inform your followers you’ll be posting to our account. Encourage them to follow NCRPA on Instagram, so they can see your Baton posts!

2.     Post 6 to 8 photos only! And certainly no more than 10. No videos, please.

3.     Only post photos taken the day you are carrying the Baton. All photos should be taken with your phone.

4.     Show us your life. Keep selfies to a minimum and try to diversify your subject matter.

5.     Edit your photos. Feel free to use Instagram’s many filters or edit your photos with other apps, but please don’t post more than two photo collages, multi-photo posts or Boomerangs. Screenshots and text added on top of your images are prohibited.

6.     Caption & sign your photos. Write a caption as long as you like to describe your photo, and add as many hashtags as you see fit. All photos should include #NCRecre8. End each post with “Photo by @[yourusername] - [your department]. We highly encourage including #PlayOnJuly and #ParksBaton 

7.     Add geotags to your photos. Geotag your photos if you can - this helps our followers find your parks and facilities.

8.     Watch your work spread. Every time you post a photo to Instagram, it will automatically post to our  Facebook and Twitter accounts too. Sometimes posts will take a few minutes to show up.

9.      Highlight #PlayOnJuly. In going along with the "Get Your Play On!" theme for Park and Recreation Month, we are asking that one of your photos/captions includes this theme. You can use this as an opportunity to highlight an innovative way that you and your department bring play to your community. Get creative!



1.     Be rude. Don’t post immature photos or words, nudity, vulgarity or profanity. Be respectful of our followers. Be sure to check out Instagram’s Community Guidelines too.  Remember, this is NCRPA’s account and not your personal account.

2.     Follow or unfollow anyone. The Parks Baton account is NCRPA’s account – you are using it as a guest.

3.     Change any settings of our Instagram account. We spent a long time perfecting them so Parks Baton works smoothly.

4.     Post your photos to any of NCRPA's other social media accounts. Your posts will automatically get shared on our Twitter and Facebook. Just focus on Instagram.

5.     Delete your photos. It messes things up, trust us. 

6.     Post videos. See policy below. 
7.     Post more than 2 total Boomerangs, photo collages & multi-photo posts. See policy below. 

8.     Post photos that were taken 
        - with a device other than a smartphone,
        - on another day, 
        - by someone other than you. 

9.     Post screenshots of other apps or images from apps like Tweegram. We don’t mind if you use other smartphone apps to edit your photos though.

10.     Do not change the password.


11. Sign out after you finish your day!


Instagram’s Community Guidelines: Above all, we ask that you don’t do anything that could get us kicked off Instagram, so please review their guidelines.

Copyright policy: You retain the copyright for all photos you post in Parks Baton, but we reserve the right to publish them in future NCRPA and Parks Baton projects, exhibitions and materials. You’re welcome to post your Parks Baton pictures to your own feed.

Video policy: Instagram recently unveiled video capabilities. We firmly believe Parks Baton should remain a photo-only project, just as it was when we started it. So, please do not post any videos.

Boomerang, photo collage and multi-photo post policy: Through Instagram and outside apps, you can now post Boomerangs, photo collages and multi-photo posts. We ask that you post no more than 2 total of these three post types.

Instagram Story policy: Instagram recently unveiled Instagram Stories. Though this feature is pretty cool, we believe Parks Baton should remain a posted photo-only project, so please refrain from posting anything to our "story."

Participation: NCRPA and the Parks Baton project reserve the right to deny anyone access to the Baton at any time for any reason. Possible reasons could include misconduct or non-adherence to these rules and policies. 

Promotional content: We strongly prefer that individuals participate in Parks Baton, not departments. We ask ALL of our participants not to use the platform as a promotional tool. Instead, we prefer each individual to post under their personal Instagram username and to only post photos showcasing the area with a personal narrative. We are happy for folks to post 1-2 photos about where he or she works and what he/she/the company does, but we prefer that the Baton carriers keep their posts more focused on their daily routine and their favorite things about their park department, local park and what they do. The Baton is a lot more interesting when there is variety in the types of photos posted.

Mature content: Though we wholeheartedly respect artistic integrity of photos, we have to keep our Instagram account and the content within it in line with Instagram’s terms and conditions or our account could be deleted. In other words, please do not post nudity or mature content of any kind.

Comments: Though we encourage healthy conversation through Instagram comments and social media on any of our posts, please refrain from being rude. Parks Baton is a friendly project where our participants and followers should feel safe and comfortable sharing their views through photos and comments. It is not an appropriate place to abuse, attack, harass or impersonate others. We will block all trolls and meanies and they will be denied access to our account. 

Content Guidelines: Over the last year, we have learned a thing or two about what our followers like to see on Instagram. Photos and captions that tell a story and showcase Parks and Recreation and how you support and enhance your community. A favorite place to eat lunch at a local park or someplace beautiful — tend to receive more positive attention; attain more likes and comments on Instagram; and are shared more times on Facebook and Twitter. Photos depicting chain stores, signs, selfies, and groups of people, children and pets typically do not garner the same attention or spark positive conversation. We intend this as a suggestion, but we hope you’ll plan your day accordingly and think critically and thoughtfully about every shot, caption and comment you post to our account. If posting photos of others, ASK PERMISSION!   

Editing: If a photo or comment does not adhere to our rules, we reserve the right to delete it. We may also delete a photo or comment at any time for any reason. Possible reasons could include misconduct or non-adherence to these rules and policies. 

If you believe you will have trouble following these rules, policies and guidelines, we’d suggest not participating in Parks Baton. We very much value what is written here, and we believe this will help keep Parks Baton a safe & fun place for everyone.