How Are You Safely and Creatively Engaging Your Community This Summer? — Episode 068

By Cort Jones and Roxanne Sutton | Posted on June 30, 2020

Community Engagement podcast blog 410

Today’s episode of Open Space Radio is all about what park and recreation professionals have been doing to creatively and safely engage their communities in the past few months and their plans for the summer ahead. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many park and recreation agencies have had to come up with innovative ways to not only implement virtual programming options, but also make sure the people in their communities continue to have access to essential items like food, shelter, proper healthcare, social connection and the benefits of nature.

With major events like Park and Recreation Month and the Fourth of July right around the corner, we reached out to our followers on Instagram to learn about some of the creative ways park and recreation professionals are safely engaging the people they serve. One great idea came from The Summit in Grand Prairie, Texas, where staff put on a parking lot parade for the older adults in their community to drive through — complete with motivational signs, gift bags, and Roxanne’s personal favorite, staff performing choreographed dances!

A few of our listeners sent in audio clips of what they’re doing in their own communities, so be sure to tune in to the full episode below to hear from:

  • Rachel Robertson – Recreation Supervisor, North Highlands Recreation and Park District in California
  • Lindsay Labas – Marketing Director, Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation in Indiana
  • Anthony Iracki – Recreation Supervisor, Whitefish Bay Recreation in Wisconsin, and
  • Robert Lloyd – Recreation Programmer, Loudoun Valley Community Center in Virginia

Thanks to these park and recreation heroes for sharing how they’re continuing to provide opportunities for their communities to experience the many benefits of parks and recreation, even during a time like this. Tune in to learn:

  • How agencies are using social media to stay connected with their communities;
  • How agencies are providing digital programs and virtual recreation centers including everything from cooking classes to virtual fitness classes to art classes and more;
  • How agencies have had to pivot from traditional marketing and communications approaches to digital platforms; and
  • How agencies are assigning a theme to specific days of the week so participants in virtual programs know what to expect on certain days, and more!

And, as part of NRPA’s upcoming Park and Recreation Month celebration, make sure you’re following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram throughout the month of July as we’ll be recognizing other park and recreation heroes who are making an impact in their communities — and be sure to share your own park and recreation story using #WeAreParksAndRec.

Another way that cities across the world are showing their appreciation for park and recreation professionals is by #GoingGreenForParks. Today, June 30, World Urban Parks encourages park and recreation agencies to light up their civic and iconic spaces and places green at sunset to thank the professionals who are helping communities remain active, healthy and connected during COVID-19.

Listen to the episode for the full story.


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