July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 16

WE ARE PARKS AND RECREATION
Embracing Inclusivity and Community
in Parks and Recreation
By Brian Stapleton
P
ublic parks and recreation spaces play a pivotal role in local communities
across the country, offering residents a sanctuary for relaxation,
outdoor enjoyment, socialization and physical activities.
However, park and recreation departments have historically run
into a large issue - how to make these spaces inclusive and accessible for everyone
so that all community members can partake in rest and recuperation.
Accessible Park and
Recreation Spaces Enhance
Civic Experiences
While some park and recreation
departments eagerly seek resources
and creative ideas to improve their
spaces, making them more accessible
to the community, others may
underestimate their importance.
This lack of understanding could
limit diversity and discourage historically
excluded groups from visiting
their local parks, resulting in a
poor civic experience. To gain trust
and enable an enhanced experience
for the entire community, there must
be an increased focus on supporting
access for underrepresented groups.
There are many tangible benefits
of park and recreation spaces - not
only for resident enjoyment, but also
for mental, physical and environmental
purposes. Having an open space
to participate in physical activities,
like fitness classes, along with exposure
to nature has the potential to decrease
loneliness, strengthen community
connections and so much more.
According to the 2023 NRPA Engagement
With Parks Report (nrpa.org/
Engagement), more than 280 million
U.S. residents visited a local park or
recreation space during the past year,
and 88 percent of U.S. adults agree
16 Parks & Recreation | JULY 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
that local park and recreation departments
should be engaging with every
member of the community.
Creating an Inclusive
Space for All
It's time for park and recreation departments
to focus on meeting their
communities' yearning for more
inclusive spaces. The first step is for
local governments to get a deeper
understanding of these needs by engaging
directly with residents. Collecting
this data will help park and
recreation teams understand how
equitable their spaces are and think
through what's missing, including
necessary investments that need to
be made. To improve accessibility
and inclusivity, park and recreation
departments can invest in:
* Community engagement solutions
- When evaluating input
received from residents,
these
tools will help to streamline the
process of both obtaining and
analyzing the data - providing
the opportunity to hear directly
from those they serve.
* Inclusive programming technology
- Tapping into diverse communities
is difficult, but key to
improving inclusivity. Recreation
management technology can help
guide the programming for these
marginalized communities.
* Diversity, equity and inclusion
training - Park and recreation
staff must be properly trained in
diversity, equity and inclusion to
ensure the programming reflects
those values. This will enable inclusive
decision making, leading
to better service for all residents.
* Community outreach - Residents
can't participate in programs
or take advantage of facilities
if they don't know they exist.
Putting extra time and effort into
engaging with the community,
making them aware of what's
offered, will go a long way in creating
inclusive spaces.
* Accessibility strategy preparation
- Providing accessibility to
all residents requires a formal
strategy. Accessibility management
tools help park and recreation
departments fully plan and
activate strategies, ensuring spaces
are inviting for everyone.
Building Stronger
Communities
Public spaces should be universally
accessible, providing equitable open
spaces for every community member.
It's
imperative that park and
recreation departments embrace
engagement with residents, gain
insights into what their community
wants and needs, and formulate a
plan to start making a change.
Brian Stapleton is Vice President and
General Manager at CivicPlus.
http://www.nrpa.org/Engagement http://www.nrpa.org/Engagement

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Intro
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 4
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 5
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 6
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 7
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 8
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 9
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 10
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 11
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 12
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 13
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 14
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 15
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 16
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 17
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 19
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 20
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 21
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 22
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 23
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 24
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 25
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 26
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 27
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 28
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 29
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 30
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 31
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 32
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 33
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 34
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 35
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 36
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 37
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 38
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 39
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 40
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 41
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 42
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 43
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 44
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 45
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 46
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 47
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 48
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 49
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 51
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 52
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 53
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 54
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 55
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 56
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
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
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com