Last year, one of our most popular articles on the blog was around this time of year.
It reflected on the Thanksgiving tradition of talking with friends and family about what it is you are thankful for and of course, we suggested (and still suggest) that everyone add local parks and recreation to the list.
Well, just as you may serve up those traditional family favorites year after year at your holiday meal gatherings, we thought it would be fun to bring back our list of why we are thankful for parks and recreation.
So here are the 10 reasons why we are thankful for parks and recreation this year and every year.
1. Parks and recreation allow us to become healthy and stay fit for adults AND our youth making the connection that getting active and eating healthy is fun and good.
2. Parks are places to see wildlife and experience nature, breathe in fresh air and appreciate what is natural and wholesome around us; they pass on the benefits of conservation and stewardship and cultivate a new appreciation for nature among the next generation.
3. Parks and recreation are great places to walk, hike and bike, maybe even pick up a new activity like skateboarding or pickleball.
4. Parks are places to enjoy a picnic – who doesn’t love to eat al fresco!
5. Parks and recreation bring generations together. Not only that they bring all types of people together no matter age, race, income and ability. Community parks and recreation is one of the highest and best forms of ‘public good’—the right to enjoy your life, your health, and your liberty.
6. Parks are places for festivals, concerts, art displays, music, craft fairs and community events. Where else can you find all that?
7. Parks and recreation provides places for sports—teams, individuals, practice and tournaments. Many elite and even some pro athletes got their start at the local park and rec.
8. Parks can revitalize underserved communities transforming them into vibrant destinations. Parks can even boost local economies – from improving property values to attracting new businesses.
9. Parks and recreation provide a safe place for kids and are one of the largest providers of care during out-of-school times (after school, before school, weekends, holidays and the summer).
10. Parks and recreation offer the opportunity to volunteer and give back to our communities, the environment and others. On the flip-side, they are where we can go if we need help – many of our local parks provide low- to no-cost meals, enrichment programs, senior care and therapeutic recreation opportunities.
We also heard through social media from many of you and have a fresh batch of reasons to be thankful for parks and recreation.
Of course at NRPA, we are very thankful for all of you, our members and the dedicated park and recreation professionals, staff, volunteers and those that support parks and recreation. Without you all of this wouldn’t be a reality.
I’m still thankful for parks and recreation and I hope many of you are too.
Here’s to you local parks and recreation – we say THANKS!
Why are you thankful for parks and recreation? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @NRPA_News!
Lauren Hoffmann is NRPA's director of marketing and communications and in the great debate over cranberry sauce her allegiance is with the canned kind!