Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Impact of Programs. (NRPA Perspectives)

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Impact of Programs. (NRPA Perspectives)

Article excerpt

The NRPA Mid Year Meeting is always an exciting time. It's when our citizen members are empowered, and our legislators are listening. This year I was even prouder because I signed a Memorandum of Understanding for NRPA with the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The health programs of the National Recreation and Park Association are recognized as a key element in our nation's strategy for improving the health of all Americans. But what's more, this ceremony codified how NRPA's other programs can, and will, positively impact on our citizens' quality of life.

Our health strategy was simple: recognize successful health initiatives utilized in parks and recreation facilities, develop new ones to fill gaps, study their implications so we have sound science to support their efforts, and share these programs and findings with our members and decision-makers. Good programs, based in science, shared with our communities. It's a strategy that works. Our health programs are not only recognized by Dr. David Satcher, the former Surgeon General of the United States, but they are currently being used and expanded by hundreds of communities nationwide. NRPA programs and resources are contributing to achieving improved health for our nation!

And this is just the first step. Using this benefits-based approach to advancing our health agenda as a template, we can further develop our goals and objectives regarding environmental stewardship, quality sports, advanced technology, and youth development initiatives into strategies that are recognized nationwide as successful, diverse and progressive. We are excited about our cooperative agreement with the United States Disabled Athletes Fund (USADF), which provides inclusive opportunities through the BlazeSports program. Here, our goal is to improve opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities to experience the benefits of participating in organized sports. Targeted sports include wheelchair racing, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby. What began as a comprehensive adapted sports program in Georgia composed of year-round community-based instructional camps, clinics and education and training programs is now being introduced to new communities throughout America. The program was tried and tested with our state affiliate and will now be rolled out as a winner nationwide.

Another initiative I'm excited about is FunFirst Sports for Kids. This parent education resource reminds everyone that sports are meant to be enjoyed! The fun in sports should not be lost if a game isn't won or a bad call is made. …

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