Make Your Park and Recreation Month More Exciting: How Grand Prairie did it!

By Kelly Eddlemon | Posted on June 10, 2013

Tags: Operations

Are you excited for Park and Recreation Month this year?  We sure are and hope your answer is “YES!”  We thought it would be fun to showcase how Park and Recreation Month can really be a great opportunity for your agency to engage with the community and generate awareness for all that you do to create healthy, happy, and prosperous communities.

Kelly Eddlemon from the City of Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department in Texas, writes how the agency took one promotion idea during the 2012 celebration of Park and Recreation Month and turned it into a great marketing and engagement strategy in their community that paid off in more ways than one.  

When NRPA told the nation to “Get Wild” last July during national Park and Recreation Month, we did just that.  And, what’s more wild than giving away chances to win $10,000 in cash along with thousands of additional prizes? It was all based on a “Get Wild Jackpot Machine” and our Prize Patrol Team that went throughout the city promoting parks and recreation.

The first step was to get our staff on board with the campaign. Staff shirts were made with the “Get Wild” theme tied in with our department branding. 



Grand Prairie staff members from all divisions show their commitment to building awareness about the park and rec profession during Park and Recreation Month 2012. 


The Jackpot Machine was rented for the entire month of July from SCA Promotions who held the risk for the $10,000 jackpot prize in the event of a winner (which we didn’t have, dangit!).  

To capture people’s attention and reinforce the branding for the department and Park and Recreation Month, each reel of the slot machine was custom printed with the various prizes, department logos and our mascot, Rascal. The graphics on the front of the machine were also branded with the “Get Wild” theme.



The prize machine "reeled" people in for Park and Recreation Month! 


Once we had the promotion in place, we put together a calendar with all the places Rascal and the Prize Patrol Team (dressed in their Get Wild t-shirts, of course) would visit throughout the month. In addition to various city facilities, we partnered with private businesses to host the promotion at their location. Usually the visits were during higher traffic times, such as lunch or dinner times at restaurants. The promotion was also at several AirHogs baseball games – Grand Prairie’s independent baseball team that plays at QuikTrip Park.  

In order to spin the reels, we asked that each participant fill out a form to enter our e-mail club, The Grand Fun Club, which we use to send out information on special events, ticket giveaways, etc. 

By the end of the promotion, thousands of people were engaged through social media as well as in-person, and our team gathered more than 500 new emails! Unfortunately, no one hit the jackpot, but everyone had a good time. Lots of Get Wild t-shirts, water guns, beach balls, tattoos, rounds of golf, cabin stays, pavilion rentals, swim passes, sno-cones (from one of our partners), AirHogs tickets and more were given away and we informed participants more about parks and recreation. Overall, the promotion was a huge success!

Our department is planning on having a bunch of fun with this year’s theme, I [Heart] My Park & Recreation, with lots of social media and in-person engagement through various promotions. 

Being in the profession, we know how much parks and recreation improve our community, but we want to hear those personal stories.  And, we need others who don’t understand how essential parks and recreation are to a successful community to hear them as well.  We’re looking forward to another successful July and hope that we can play our part in educating the nation on the importance of our profession.

What are some ways that your agency is planning to celebrate Park and Recreation Month this year?  How do you engage with your community to get them aware of the important role parks and recreation play in conservation, health and wellness and social equity?  What successes have you had in the past by celebrating Park and Recreation Month? 

Editor’s Note: Tons of resources are available to help you get involved in Park and Recreation Month and raise awareness in your community – all for FREE!