We Got Game: NRPA [National Recreation and Park Association] Launches Year-Long Celebration of Sports Via Partnership with Sports Illustrated

Article excerpt

July is Recreation & Parks Month, and hundreds of park and recreation agencies are celebrating the theme of "Enhancing the Quality of Sports through Parks and Recreation" along with NRPA and Sports Illustrated.

NRPA is launching a year-long nationwide celebration of sports and health in America as Sports Illustrated commemorates its 50th anniversary. America's Sports Illustrated: 50 Years, 50 States, 50 Sports will encompass a wide-ranging multimedia program, and is the most ambitious initiative in the history of the franchise. The grassroots effort launches this month and continues through July 2004. (Sports Illustrated's official 50th anniversary date is Aug. 16, 2004.)

The Sports Illustrated Anniversary program will feature:

* 50 weekly state-specific sections in Sports Illustrated.

* Four special 50th anniversary double issues.

* The Toyota Presents Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Tour.

* A comprehensive interactive Web presence on SI.com.

* A community sports outreach program with NRPA and America's YMCA to enhance the quality of sports in America. By the end of the year-long celebration, America's Sports Illustrated will have visited all 50 states.

As part of the partnership to celebrate America's Sports Illustrated: 50 Years, 50 States, 50 Sports, NRPA will:

* Implement Sportstown, a grassroots effort to identify one community in each state that enhances the quality of sport through parks and recreation.

* Produce a series of ads promoting the health benefits of parks and recreation.

* Assist in The Toyota Presents Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Tour.

* Develop a Community Sports and Health Fund to sustain high-quality resource development.

You Can't Win If You Don't Play

Two hundred fifty park and recreation agencies from all 50 states responded to the mid-winter invitation to join the celebration of the Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary by seeking the unique designation of Sportstown. One community in each state will be selected by Sports Illustrated and NRPA as the 50th Anniversary Sportstown. The 50th Anniversary Sportstown applicants will be judged on philosophy, education/training, policies, youth development, innovations for community involvement, scope of programming and community commitment to parks and recreation.

"The response was overwhelming, considering the very busy time of year agencies were asked to submit a very detailed application," says NRPA's Kathy Spangler. "A very special thank you goes to all of the applicants for illustrating the commitment to quality sports reflected in parks and recreation nationwide."

To maintain the excitement of the year-long celebration, Sports Illustrated and NRPA will announce winners weekly to correspond with the state-focused editorial schedule in Sports Illustrated. Winners will be featured on SI.com and nrpa.org throughout the year. The state announcement schedule is available on www.nrpa.org.

In addition, the winners from each state will be profiled at length in Parks & Recreation in the month following their selection. Look for the first profiles in next month's issue, with four or five winners to follow every month through the July 2004 issue.

NRPA On the Road With Sports Ilustrated

As part of the year-long celebration, The Toyota Presents Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Tour will touch communities nationwide by visiting many of the sporting events featured in the magazine, as well as a variety of other locations. Launched in Newport, R.I., with an elaborate kick-off celebration on July 11, and culminating in California with a dramatic event in July 2004, the tour will crisscross the country, beginning in the nation's smallest state and ending in its most populous. With stops ranging from regattas and rodeos to downhill skiing and mountain biking, the tour will reach more than 2. …