It’s almost here again; an entire month dedicated just to parks and recreation (our world, not the TV show)! This is always a fun time to take the theme that NRPA creates and share content around that theme, and I love that the 2022 theme is We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation. At HydroApps, We Rise Up to celebrate Parks and Recreation Month!
With an entire toolkit filled with messaging, press release templates, and even social media samples, NRPA made it easy to celebrate Park and Recreation month at your agency.
NRPA reminds us: “Since 1985, people in the United States have celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation and to recognize the more than 160,000 full-time park and recreation professionals — along with hundreds of thousands of part-time and seasonal workers and volunteers — that maintain our country’s local, state and community parks.”
One of the things that I love about aquatics is the impact that it has on neighborhoods and communities around the US. In fact, getting pools open this summer is so important throughout the country that agencies have offered large sign-on bonuses, free lifeguard classes, and increased rates of pay. Just last week, Governor Jared Polis of Colorado announced a statewide grant program to help communities get more lifeguards in stands and more pools open.
It's easy to get tied up (or bogged down) as we all work through staffing shortages, new health guidelines, young swimmers who missed a significant amount of school and don’t seem to know how to behave, and – based on what I see you all saying – an incredibly significant amount of body fluid contaminations!
Fun Facts to Share with Your Community
The information NRPA offers to help prepare you for Park & Recreation month is pretty awesome, but we’d be missing something special if we didn’t share some facts with you that you can socialize with your community as we rise up for parks and recreation!
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, About 91 million Americans (about 31% of the population) over the age of 16 swim in oceans, lakes, and rivers each year.
- The CDC also notes that about 36% of children 7 to 17 years old swim at least six times each year.
- In 2012, the Census Bureau reported that swimming is the fourth most popular recreation activity in the US, and it’s ranked number one for children and teens (ages 7 – 17).
- More than 60% of fatal drownings of 0-4-year-olds occur in swimming pools. This is a great fact to share along with the number of pre-schoolers that participate in your Learn to Swim programs!
- In 2009, almost 24 million individuals in the US participated in motor or power boat activities. Do you offer boating safety or even basic water safety classes at your facility? Shine a light on how you’re teaching skills that keep your community safe!
- Programs like City Swim Project in Buffalo and organizations like Diversity in Aquatics are creating equitable access to swimming for every part of their community.
- Swimming for just an hour three times per week can have a positive effect on your heart health, weight loss, and flexibility, according to an October 2015 Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation study.
- Children benefit significantly from their time in the pool! Not only is it active time away from their screens, but studies also show that kids who regularly swim have increased cognitive skills, improved quality of sleep, and developed social skills!
But what about rising up the great people keeping our pools clean and safe?
We can’t forget our team! After all, that’s what this year’s National Park and Recreation month are all about. Here are some fun facts and ideas to get you started:
- Feature a Guard of the Week every week during July. Give them a special tube, t-shirt, or post their picture at your front gate! Check out how our friends at Columbia Parks & Recreation did it!
- Highlight your team on your social media. Whether you share pictures of your recently graduated seniors like the crew at Temecula Aquatics, make fun reels featuring guard skills like Farmer’s Branch, or just let your followers in on a little off-site team-building as they did in Hurst, it’s a great way to recognize and share the amazing people that work with us!
- Chandler Aquatics and the team at Round Rock gave their communities a glimpse of in-service training with some fun resources.
- Let your guards rep your local baseball team, and invite your community involved. Those Midwest Pool Management guards sure do like the Royals!
- And please don’t forget about your maintenance, concessions, and guest service teams! You can raise them up, too!
I can’t wait to see what amazing ways you all show your community that We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation! And on July 15, Park and Recreation Professionals Day, know that the team here at HydroApps will be thinking of you and all of the amazing things that you’re doing in our community!
Do you have a great idea you’d like to share with other aquatics professionals? We are now accepting submissions for guest bloggers to be featured in October, November, and December! Contact Kirsten at [email protected]