Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Defining A Movement

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Defining A Movement

Article excerpt

NRPA is poised to become a key player in two health-focused initiatives.

Driving to work the other day, I heard "Alice's Restaurant," Arlo Guthrie's 1965 lament about being excluded from the army because of a prior "garbage dumping" charge. Others could be excluded, he suggests, by singing a bar of the song. One line says, "If 50 people walked in singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant... they think it's a movement!"

I was reminded of "Alice's Restaurant" when I reflected on how NRPA members have begun to sing the same song about two issues that could greatly impact parks and recreation, and for which we may be the key to the solution: childhood obesity and the emerging "nature deficit disorder" in kids.

As public awareness of this trend grows, there is also an emerging consensus that we all must do something about it. In fact, a recent White House event addressed childhood obesity-giving movement a boost of presidential recognition for the first time.

NRPA has been working to ensure that parks and recreation are essential partners in this movement. NRPA Step Up To Health seminars instructed 32 park and recreation agencies on ways to address obesity through programming.

In February, NRPA, along with the YMCA and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), launched a new initiative called the Partnership for Play Every Day that will ensure children have access to places to play, and the opportunity to engage in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. And in April, NRPA will bring together leading health advocates for a National Health and Livability Summit to discuss the essential role of parks and recreation in promoting healthier lifestyles. …

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