February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 23

typical peers whenever and wherever
possible. As a program provider,
you aim to have a strength-based,
not deficit-based focus, providing
opportunities for their talents, interests
and hobbies to be developed
and nurtured, thus giving them an
opportunity for a socially valued
role (tinyurl.com/369vshb2) in
your recreation community.
Strategies to Bring Your
Whole Team Aboard the
Inclusion Train
In your journey toward organizational
commitment to inclusion, it
is likely that you may encounter hurdles
along the way. Let's tackle these
commonly encountered hurdles
through providing best practices and
strategies for overcoming them.
Hurdle: Staff does not understand
what inclusion really is.
Strategy: Embrace and practice the
six principles of inclusion (tinyurl.
com/42hazyym). Share this information
with your team and create
a personalized development plan/
approach to address/discuss at
team meetings. Make it a collaboration
of thoughts, ideas and actions.
Make your team feel included in
the process; it is not one-size-fits-all
for every recreation program and is
based on location, staff, resources
and individual participants.
Hurdle: Staff don't understand
they are responsible for inclusion,
demonstrate low performance in
this area or refuse to participate
in inclusion practices.
Strategy: For new staff,
uate the job description
evaland
onboarding
process to ensure
inclusion-related
job
responsibilities
and expectations are clearly
stated. For existing
staff, ensure
there is an inclusion component
in each position's goals and review
during
performance evaluations.
Hurdle: Buy-in
isn't
strong, or
staff display a " this can't work "
attitude or point out past bad experiences.
Strategy:
Be heard! Praise what you
see, like and want to increase. Start
by finding your " champions " and
give verbal commendation within
earshot of others. In staff meetings,
point out great examples of inclusion.
Remember, cultural change
is a shift in mindset and may take
time. Attitude is infectious.
Hurdle: Inclusion specialists are
not confident typical staff can do
this work.
Strategy:
Hurdle: Management sees inclusion
as a " check-box " item.
Strategy: Present at a board/senior
executive meeting on the benefits of
inclusion. Share photos, tell stories,
show what's
possible. Invite
key
decision-makers to observe successful
inclusive participation. Ask families
to share written testimonials or, better
yet, invite them/the individual with a
disability to the meeting.
Inclusion specialists
should be given the time and support
to observe programming in real
time and provide guidance to recreation
staff. If inclusion is an expectation
of all groups, then the choice
to not use inclusive practices is
eliminated. Create sustainability by
" teaching " - not " doing. " Demonstrate
strategies or interactions. Delegate
responsibility to build more
confidence while also letting them
know you are here for them.
Build in dedicated disability inclusion
training. If you have inclusion
specialists, they should lead or
co-lead this session. Keep inclusion
training at the forefront. Create an
inclusion toolkit or resource binder
for group leaders and instructors to
access. Offer a " tip of the day " or
" inclusion thought of the week "
posted on a public bulletin board.
Provide opportunities to discuss
during formal and informal staff
gatherings. Share a video or social
media clip with your team that emphasizes
the benefits of inclusion.
Hurdle: You still have holdouts
who don't believe inclusive practices
work.
Strategy: Help them to see where
inclusion is working to overcome a
negative perception based on an isolated
previous experience. Build up
empathy, invite a family member or
a person with a disability to speak at
your staff meeting to share how your
inclusive efforts have impacted their
lives. Is there a staff member on your
team who has dealt with this personally
or a nearby recreation program
that has had success? Ask if they
would be willing to share.
Fundamentals for Building
a Solid Foundation
If you follow this guideline for
perception
and implementation
for disability inclusion, your foundation
will be stronger, ultimately
creating the perfect formula for
cultural change and sustainability.
Inclusive practices should be used:
* In all settings, places and spaces,
including all groups, all ages,
both members and employees
* For all participants, those with
and without disabilities as strategies
are beneficial to all
* By all staff, coaches, instructors
and volunteers, and all should be
trained, not just inclusion staff.
Lisa Drennan is the founder of MERGE Diverse Abilities
Inclusion Consulting (lisadrennan@mergeconsulting.org).
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | FEBR U AR Y 2 0 2 4 | Parks & Recreation
23
http://tinyurl.com/369vshb2 http://tinyurl.com/42hazyym

February 2024 - Parks and Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2024 - Parks and Recreation

February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Intro
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover1
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover2
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 1
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 2
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 3
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 4
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 5
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February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 50
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February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 54
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - 55
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February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover3
February 2024 - Parks and Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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