Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Visit a Park Day

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Visit a Park Day

Article excerpt

APRIL 8TH MARKS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF VISIT A PARK DAY--a newly minted day to set aside unnecessary obligations and head to your local, regional, or national park. The mission of Visit a Park Day is to encourage people to learn more about their local, state, and national parks, as well as to provide for education and recreation opportunities within the parks to foster future enjoyment and visitation.

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The purpose sounds nice, but what does that really mean to you and me? The Student and Young Professional Network's purpose in creating Visit a Park Day is simple: involve community members with their public parks. And we expect this to happen through the passion and organizing power of individual members or small groups who belong to the Student and Young Professional Network.

As the organizing committee developed the mission for Visit a Park Day, we highlighted specific visions to ensure pursuit of our mission. Our vision statement includes the following goals:

* Getting people out to parks on the designated day.

* Providing service and learning opportunities for people visiting parks on this day

* Create and foster relationships among participants and park managers for future engagement with the parks.

* Expose marginalized populations to recreational and park programs.

To help individuals, groups, and agencies plan for their participation in Visit a Park day, we developed a list of expected outcomes.

* Involve local schools, groups, and individuals in planning activities for Visit a Park Day.

* Develop ongoing specific projects for continued care and sustainability of the parks.

* Learn about various recreation and service opportunities in the parks.

* Foster relationships among the public, park staff, and governing board.

* Learn about various issues and opportunities within parks.

To state it simply, Visit a Park Day is an opportunity. It is a chance to create special park programs, draw attention to ongoing park efforts, and increase visitation to our parks. While it is vital that we understand and position ourselves in the local and regional communities, it is equally important to educate the public as to the life-enhancing benefits of parks and recreation. The Student and Young Professional Network seeks to plant the seed of this idea in community members, leaders, and various groups across the country, allowing this special day to grow. …

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