July is Park and Recreation Month–and Plan4Health is celebrating this national health observance with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Partnering4Health coalition. The observance is an annual spotlight on getting people out into their local parks for play and exercise. Play provides tangible mental and physical benefits for those who partake.
NRPA has provided an informative and comprehensive toolkit to help community organizations to provide education and awareness about the benefits of play to their communities. The toolkit and related resources can be found on the NRPA website. For children and adults, play is a vital part of mental wellbeing, physical health, and social interaction. This July, NRPA is issuing a challenge for everyone to get their play on with their local parks and recreation organization. It can be summer camp, adult intramural sports, weekend programs, or exploring nature’s trails and waterways, play is out there.
Here are 5 easy ways to get started with Park and Recreation Month:
- Grab some Park and Recreation materials – Print the poster, share the infographic on social media. It’s easy to spread the word.
- Share the message on social media – Tweet about it, answer the challenege, start a challenge among your friends and family. Talk about the importance of play to get your network excited. Don’t forget about the hashtag #PlayOnJuly
- Proclaim it – Request a proclamation from your local officials about Park and Recreation month. The website has a sample proclamation template.
- Submit your local events to the NRPA website.
- Use the Outreach Toolkit to submit information to your local papers and news outlets.
Beyond Park and Recreation Month, NRPA also has several initiatives that build on their mission to ensure all people have access to parks and recreation where they live, play, and work. NPRA works to impact communities through conservation, health and wellness, and social equity.
It has multiple initiatives that work through these lenses:
- Commit to Health – supports the implementation of Healthy Eating Physical Activity (HEPA) standards at local park and recreation sites.
- Healthy Aging in Parks – campaign to improve and maintain the health and well-being of older adults by increasing opportunities for physical activity through parks and recreation.
- Meet Me at the Park – a collaboration between NRPA and The Walt Disney Company to bring the magic of parks and recreation to children and families with new opportunities for play and physical activity in local park across the United States.
- Park Improvements – supports park improvements to ensure that people have inviting places to gather and enjoy the outdoors. These projects also increase opportunities for physical activity and active play, particularly in underserved communities.
- Great Urban Parks Campaign – aims to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green infrastructure projects in local parks.
- Wildlife Explorers – turn-key initiative that connects youth to nature by utilizing local park and recreation spaces to encourage nature discovery.
- Safe Routes to Parks – campaign to implement environmental and policy strategies that create safe and equitable access to parks for all people
For more information about Park and Recreation Month or the great work being done by NRPA, go to their website.