2011 National Partnership Spotlight: Parks and Recreation: The Cornerstone of Connecting Healthy Americans and Communities

Article excerpt

THE NATIONAL RECREATION AND PARK ASSOCIATION represents all park and recreation agencies in America, touching the lives of more than 300 million people in virtually every community, from rural communities to suburban neighborhoods to urban centers. NRPA and its vast network of park and recreation agencies are committed to enhancing the quality of life for all people through innovative partnerships and quality programs. With support from its partners and funders, NRPA is focused on creating or expanding opportunities in: youth development and play, health and livability, and environmental conservation.

America's Backyard

What began as a simple premise--that parks belong to the people and that access to them and their protection are basic American values--has now become a grassroots initiative of NRPA--America's Backyard. America's Backyard is the public prescription for good health--free play, physical activity and sports, green spaces, and community gardens. With corporate and individual donor support, this project's focus is on preserving and saving America's parks and funds advocacy, research, education, and public awareness. Corporate supporters include: Coca-Cola NA, Hershey Company, Pitney Bowes, and Walmart.

Federal Partnerships Help NRPA Build Healthy Communities: ACHIEVE and CPPW

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The NRPA is committed to helping promote park and recreation agencies as community leaders that increase physical activity and healthy lifestyles, as well as improve community livability. NRPA's two federally funded programs, ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and Environmental

Change) and CPPW (Communities Putting Prevention to Work), encourage the development of collaborative partnerships in all sectors of a community. These partnerships focus on creating and improving policies that increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease exposure to tobacco to help advance the nation's efforts to prevent chronic diseases.

Food Research & Action Center

The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Together, FRAC and NRPA are supporting park and recreation agencies' ability to serve healthy snacks and meals to children in after school and summer programs.

Get to Know

NRPA is partnering with Get to Know, a program that invites young people to experience nature firsthand and then share their experience by creating works of art, writing, photography, music, or video. Get to

Know is committed to reaching a diverse youth audience, including many urban-based, underserved youth who may lack access to the outdoors and art and nature programs.

The Golf Course Builders Association of America Foundation (GCBAAF)-Sticks for Kids

Now in its fifth year of introducing the fundamentals of golf to youth, the Sticks for Kids program ensures that children, regardless of socioeconomic status, have an opportunity to play golf. Promoting health and wellness as well as connecting youth with nature through play, the program has provided junior golf clubs to over 500 granted communities,

Grow Your Park: National Recreation Foundation and J.R. Albert Foundation

Community-based edible gardens are a great way to get urban children and teens connected with gardening, provide them with tresn fruits and vegetables, and educate them on the importance of nutrition. NRPA is promoting edible gardens through the Grow Your Park program in partnership with the National

NATIONAL RECREATION FOUNDATION

Recreation Foundation and the J.R. Albert Foundation. The program includes a Community Gardening Handbook, specific to park and recreation settings, which is available on the NRPA website. This handbook provides a comprehensive outline on how to start a community garden and tips to overcome obstacles once the garden is established. …