Parks and recreation organizations have a great responsibility in the communities they serve. The mission of parks and rec groups is not only to provide opportunities for citizens to be active and to get outdoors, but also to increase their general wellbeing. The programming of these organizations has to be formulated with this in mind. In this blog post, we will discuss the top parks and recreation programs that your organization should think about and what makes them great.
Purpose of Parks and Recreation Organizations
With the purpose of parks and recreation programs being to increase the overall health, physical activity and involvement of the community they serve, it’s important to remember that we do this in many ways. Green areas and parks improve , while . Physical activity improves community member health and helps to prevent many diseases. The best parks and recreation programs combine these benefits with different ways, to attract the most visitors and members.
Health and Fitness
Health and fitness are at the forefront of importance in parks and recreation programming. At the end of the day, this is why we do what we do. Having different initiatives and campaigns that work to improve the health and fitness of your community will do a lot for people’s well being. Incentivizing people to be healthy can work, as long as it’s done in the right way. A good example is the city of Everett, Washington who held a summer campaign to get kids to be more active. Kids who were active for 20 minutes a day, three times a week, were granted free access to activities such as swimming, climbing, and ice skating lessons. Kids who completed four out of five days got free tickets to their local minor league baseball games.
Want an existed campaign your parks and recreation programs can build on? The Surgeon General’s “Step It Up” campaign is a great way to start, with supporting happening across America.
One of the best ways to attract longstanding members is to push lifestyle classes that members will actually enjoy. This keeps members coming back for more, because they inherently enjoy the class, instead of trying to meet an individual goal: for example, going to the weight training room only to increase muscle mass. Research also shows that an . Creating community around lifestyle activities such as jogging, hiking, cycling can be a great way to get people active. A club that meets regularly can do the trick, as can lifestyle oriented parks and recreation programs like martial arts and yoga.
Partnering with local lifestyle and fitness companies can be a great way to gain exposure for your parks and recreation programs. They have existing clientele that may already be interested in your group’s classes and are more easily encouraged to engage, as opposed to members of the population not already engaged in health and fitness. Learn more about partnering with local businesses, for further advice on potential parks and recreation programs.
Family Ties and Mothers
With a boost in Gen X and Gen Y families who value family activities quite highly, parks and recreation programs that are targeted towards these age groups are key. Family activities have been shown to be very popular, especially with teenagers. Also, with a high number of mothers in the population, there should be classes that are catered to pregnant women. Not only is this an important time for this demographic to stay active, this should be an easy area of growth for your organization, due to the greater focus on fitness and wellness with Gen X and Gen Y members.