Families have lots of options when it comes to youth sports. But as we know, park and recreation agencies offer high-quality youth sports programming that’s affordable, inclusive and fun – and particularly attractive to families seeking alternatives to travel and elite programs.
To support park and recreation professionals looking to recruit more families into their youth sports programming, NRPA has developed a suite of family-facing resources that showcases what sets park and recreation youth sports apart from the rest. The resources include:
- An interactive website that demonstrates the benefits of park and recreation youth sports;
- A downloadable conversation guide for families to connect with their children about which sports they might like to play; and
- Sample messaging so park and recreation professionals can easily share the new website and conversation guide with parents and caregivers in your community.
Getting families talking about what sport their child might be interested in — and why playing sports at your agency would provide a positive, memorable experience for youth — is the first step to getting families interested in your offerings. The new resources also highlight quotes and stories from real families whose children play sports at park and recreation agencies, which helps families build connections to the content.
1. Youth Sports Website
NRPA built this interactive site based on survey and focus group data that found parents want their kids to have fun and play sports in a welcoming environment. Our research also found that parents value the physical and mental health benefits of youth sports for kids. Geared toward parents, the website speaks to these values and highlights how park and recreation youth sports are the perfect balance of fun and rigor. Be sure to direct families to the stories page, which houses stories from families engaged in youth sports across the country.
2. Family Conversation Guide
Research shows that parents and caregivers are one of the most important factors influencing a child’s decision to play youth sports. Encourage parents to connect with their kids about all the reasons they’ll love park and recreation youth sports using this downloadable resource, which explores why kids might be interested in trying youth sports, what sports they might be interested in playing, and more.
3. Sample Messaging
Social media is a powerful tool to encourage parents and caregivers to register their children for your programs. According to Pew Research Center, 75 percent of parents who are active online are on Facebook. These sample posts and graphics can be used on any social media channel to share the new website and/or the conversation guide. If you have photos of kids playing youth sports at your agency, feel free to use those, as images of real people will help garner more engagement with your posts!
If you have questions or feedback about these resources, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teresa Morrissey (she/her) is an NRPA program manager of health and wellness.