In my three years working at R.O.C.K. (Recreation Of City Kids) Programs with the City of San Jose, the opportunity to implement nature focused enrichment in our daily afterschool program had yet to come up until this past Fall. My supervisor informed me that my school site Majestic Way Elementary was chosen to pilot the Wildlife Explorers Program through the NRPA.
Mary Hyland, just like millions of Americans struggling with arthritic symptoms, needed more physical activity to help cope with her arthritis. While she never considered joining a support group in the past, she discovered an enjoyable program being offered by the City of Apopka that encourages all people facing the same age-old challenge to get outside and walk.
A nutrition coordinator for a summer program helped provide six weeks of nutrition literacy as part of the 2016 Out-of-School Time Programs Grant from NRPA and the Walmart Foundation. Each week, the coordinator visited 8 playgrounds and recreation centers and engaged hundreds of children in learning about the importance of healthy eating.
It’s the summer of 1985, and the disco era is transitioning into dance-pop and rock. The outdoor roller skating rink at Durham Parks and Recreation’s W.D. Hill Recreation Center continues to flourish for skaters who have found a new way to dance on wheels with inline skates and rollerblades. The 15-year-old rink, layered with a Sport Court surface, is equipped with a concession building for skate storage and rentals that doubles as the DJ hub for tunes that waft through the neighborhood on summer evenings. The picnic shelter serves as a shaded area for admirers to observe talented skaters “doing their thing.”
It’s hard to imagine that in nine months’ time, a vacant lot in the Dutch Kills area of Queens was transformed into a lively community garden to enjoy nature, promote healthy living, and engage local youth. Soon after being licensed and registered as a GreenThumb community garden, Windmill Community Garden’s development was set into high-gear with the help of the 2016 Disney Parks Build Community program.
As a graduate from art school, and someone who was previously known for avoiding bugs at all costs, I never imagined myself as a leader in the nature-based Wildlife Explorers program. However, my perception and willingness to engage with the natural world has dramatically changed since the beginning of my employment about two and a half years ago at the Carrie Murray Nature Center, under Baltimore City Recreation and Parks.
"Please send me kids that can share my garden with the community," prayed Dana Caley as she stood on the soil that had previously not been successful as a community garden. Quincy Teen REACH was the answer to her prayer--a partnership which resulted in at-risk kids becoming gardeners and Dana's harvest being more than vegetables.
Bounce houses and balloon animals. Popcorn and painted faces. While this fair offered the traditional activities anyone would expect, what made our first Commit to Health Fair extra special was all the OTHER options available to the guests. The focus on healthy choices and physical activity was clear from the moment the doors opened until the last guest left.
Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks’ Therapeutic Recreation Division has continued to expand its strong partnership with Special Olympics Maryland. This partnership has allowed the Special Olympics program in Baltimore City to increase the number of athletes participating in community based programming and in programming geared toward individuals in day care programs.
The Park District of Forest Park decided to implement the Walk with Ease (WWE) program to give their residents the opportunity to better their health through a structured program. Walk with Ease is an evidence-based, six-week exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation and designed and proven to reduce arthritic pain and improve overall health.
The City of Atlanta was a recipient of the Troops for Fitness grant program supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association. Troops for Fitness provides funding to local park and recreation organizations to help inspire healthy, active lifestyles by training and employing military veterans to instruct community fitness and nutrition classes at local park and recreation agencies.
Elected officials and community leaders gathered a few weeks ago in a warm spring rain to celebrate Oregon’s immigrant cultures and welcome new refugee families. “Can you imagine what it means to leave your homes, schools, jobs, pets and loved lands without your fault?” asked Som Nath Subedi, Program coordinator for Parks for New Portlanders, which hosted the event at Bloomington Park.
The City of Fontana and the Fontana Unified School District has created opportunities for stakeholders in the community to collaborate to improve community services. One success story is being able to provide summer meals to youth (through the Summer Food Service Program) while being able to create and provide recreational opportunities that unite parties together.
You may have seen the popular YouTube video, 5 Extra Years, trending the past few years. If not, take a few minutes to watch. What’s the message behind this video? It’s simple and it’s brutally honest-- this might be the first generation of children to live shorter lives than their parents. Why? Childhood obesity.
Nestled in western Maryland is a nature park that is one of Frederick County’s true jewels. Catoctin Creek Park captures the imagination of visitors every day as guests enjoy not only historical elements in this one hundred and thirty-nine acre park, but also miles of trails and the County’s newest green energy efficient nature center.
Labor Street Park looks much different today than it did twenty years ago. Formerly part of a public housing complex, the park now sits on the border of San Antonio’s beautiful downtown amidst a neighborhood where almost everyone knows your name. In fact, part of the reason my family moved to this area was because of its sense of community.
According to a recent report by the City Budget Office, roughly 15% of Portlanders were born in countries other than the United States– that puts the Rose City right in line with about 50 other large U.S. cities. Unfortunately, for many of our newest Portland citizens, parks and community centers are literally a foreign concept. That is where one of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s newest programs, Parks for New Portlanders, steps up to welcome immigrant and refugee families into our public park spaces and programs.
On Saturday, January 16, Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, unveiled Palm Beach County’s first BrightGuard™ Sunscreen Dispenser at the South Florida Fair and encouraged fairgoers to protect themselves from the sun's harmful UV rays.