2016 will definitely be a year to remember. The Rio Olympics. Brangelina splits up. NRPA goes to the Emmy’s! Brexit. The Chicago Cubs are the World Series Champs! Donald Trump is the next President of the United States. Personally, I was pretty surprised by some of these 2016 headlines — I mean come on, who would have thought the Chicago Cubs would finally win the World Series?! But as exciting as 2016 was, many of us are looking forward to a new year, a clean slate and another chance to set goals and achieve them! That’s right—it’s New Year’s resolution time!
The end of the year is a great time to make a plan and work towards a healthier and happier 2017 and perhaps this year you’ll consider something new! Why not think about setting resolutions that you can achieve in your local parks and rec? Local parks and recreation offer so many great opportunities to enhance your health, get outdoors, connect with nature, volunteer and engage in social program. They add value to your life and are the livelihood of your community.
Parks and recreation offer something for every member of your family — nature play, sports leagues, green space, gardens, aquatics facilities, walking trails, social clubs, volunteer opportunities, afterschool programs and more! With all of these great benefits and opportunities, parks and recreation provide the perfect opportunity to achieve your New Year’s resolutions!
This year we asked some of our NRPA staff members and partner organizations how they are planning to achieve their 2017 resolutions in their local parks and rec. Here’s what they had to say and hopefully they will inspire you to set some of your own.
Zarnaaz Bashir, Vice President of Health Initiatives at NRPA, has resolved to spend more time in the great outdoors in 2017. She plans to achieve this by going on more hikes with her family this year at their local parks so they can connect with nature and get healthy together!
Hayley Herzing, Membership Programs Manager at NRPA, is looking forward to exploring new dog parks in the area operated by local parks and recreation. She plans to research all of the dog parks in the Northern Virginia region and take her puppy, Ripley, to visit them on the weekends. Hayley and her husband love getting outside and watching their dog run around with his friends!
Daniel Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, shared that he wants to make social media more affirming and encouraging. He suggests that you can Instagram pictures of your family recreation adventures and tweet fun activities that are happening in your park! Are you inspired by beautiful foliage or an interesting animal? Share those positive messages with the world and don’t forget to add #CommittoHealth when you post!
Jenny Cox, Conservation Program Specialist at NRPA, has decided that in 2017 she wants to save money while still spending time with friends and family! Saving money is always a challenge, but a great alternative to spending money on entertainment is right in your local community! Jenny plans to find activities that she can participate in at her local parks and get the benefit of connecting with nature, rather than going out for entertainment. A great option is checking to see if any of your local parks offer free exercise classes outdoors or concerts in the park.
Ava DeBovis, National Network Manager at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, is resolving to limit herself to 30 minutes or less of television and mobile device time in the evenings. After a long day at work, she knows that it is so important to unplug and unwind. She plans to find some new walking trails in her community to replace screen time with outdoor time. Ava will commit designated time each day to explore new parks and recreation facilities, including those with lighting for when it’s dark outside or indoor tracks for when the next “snowmaggedon” hits. Another thought? She may even put her phone into “airplane” mode so she can truly unplug each day!
Kellie May, Director of Health and Wellness at NRPA, is looking forward to 2017 so that she can achieve her resolution of trying new fruits and vegetables! She knows that a great way to learn about new fruits and vegetables and discover new recipes is through NRPA’s Foods of the Month curriculum. Although designed for out-of-school time programs, the Foods of the Month curriculum features monthly newsletters that contain healthy (and delicious) recipes and are perfect for adults (and kids) who want to expand their palate!
So there you have it. If you’re interested in spending more time outdoors with family, making social media more affirming and encouraging, exploring dog parks, saving money, reducing time spent on screens or trying new fruits and vegetables, you can do all of that and more in your local parks and recreation!
Take this time to think about how you can get healthier and happier in 2017 and let us know how you’ll do it in your local parks and rec. Comment below with your resolution or share it with us on Twitter.
Allison Colman is NRPA's Program Manager.