August 2021 - 23

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
park and recreation professionals
pushed forward their role as stewards of
community wellness hubs.
and physical well-being.
These essential spaces, programs
and services not only supported
physical health and wellness, but
also mental, social, emotional, educational,
cultural, environmental
and economic wellness. In short,
park and recreation professionals
pushed forward their role as
stewards of community wellness
hubs - trusted gathering places
that connect every member of the
community to essential programs,
services and spaces that advance
health equity, improve health outcomes
and enhance quality of life.
This new way of framing the integral
services park and recreation
agencies provide is vital to ensuring
continued support and investment
from elected officials, philanthropic
partners, like-minded organizations
and the public.
Parks and Recreation Is
a Strong Service Delivery
Partner
One of the greatest challenges within
many of our systems and institutions,
including our public health,
healthcare and social-service systems,
is actually somewhat straightforward
- struggling to reach
people. We know what makes us
healthy and we know what resources
people need to thrive. Although
we have a long way to go to address
the inequities that exist within our
systems, there are many evidencebased,
evidence-informed,
and
proven health and social service
interventions out there. But if these
programs are not reaching community
members, they are not viable
nor scalable solutions.
Parks and recreation has proven
that it offers a solution to that
challenge. Throughout COVID-19,
park and recreation professionals
have leveraged their role as accessible,
trusted and welcoming spaces,
and led and supported efforts to
ensure that community members
had access to the services, resources
and programs that they needed.
Models have emerged that have
co-located needed services in existing
settings that meet community
members where they are.
Take vaccine distribution efforts,
for example. For the past several
months, park and recreation agencies
in city after city have leveraged
their recreation facilities and their
parks to support COVID-19 vaccination
programs. In fact, some
of the largest vaccination sites in
the country have been in our public
parks. Interestingly, given the
proven and vital role communitybased
organizations have played in
promoting and advancing public
health this year, the White House
and our nation's highest ranking
public health officials are launching
a new initiative specifically targeted
to parks and recreation, faith-based,
youth serving and other community
organizations as we head into
summer and the back-to-school
transition - the opportunity
to
host pop-up vaccination clinics in
their community-based locations.
There is a reason why some of our
most intelligent public health minds
are pursuing this strategy - the
co-location and delivery of services
in trusted spaces is key to reaching
people. Parks and recreation is
a viable partner and a solution for
service delivery, ensuring that all
people have access to and can benefit
from needed healthcare, health
programming or social resources.
Expanding investment in parks
as an upstream
and recreation
solution, both in terms of the built
environment and the programming
and services offered, has the potential
to catalyze health and wellness
and address so many of our existing
and future public health, environmental
and social challenges.
If we take the lessons learned from
COVID-19 and let them guide us
moving forward, we could be in
a very different place in the near
future. Think about this: if every
neighborhood and every person
had access to a community wellness
hub in 2030, where would we
be? I'd venture to say we'd be well
on our way to a healthier, happier
and more just world.
Allison Colman is NRPA's Director
of Health (acolman@nrpa.org).
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | A UGUS T 2 0 2 1
| Parks & Recreation
23

August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of August 2021

August 2021 - Intro
August 2021 - Cover1
August 2021 - Cover2
August 2021 - 1
August 2021 - 2
August 2021 - 3
August 2021 - 4
August 2021 - 5
August 2021 - 6
August 2021 - 7
August 2021 - 8
August 2021 - 8a
August 2021 - 8b
August 2021 - 9
August 2021 - 10
August 2021 - 11
August 2021 - 12
August 2021 - 13
August 2021 - 14
August 2021 - 15
August 2021 - 16
August 2021 - 17
August 2021 - 18
August 2021 - 19
August 2021 - 20
August 2021 - 21
August 2021 - 22
August 2021 - 23
August 2021 - 24
August 2021 - 25
August 2021 - 26
August 2021 - 27
August 2021 - 28
August 2021 - 29
August 2021 - 30
August 2021 - 31
August 2021 - 32
August 2021 - 33
August 2021 - 34
August 2021 - 35
August 2021 - 36
August 2021 - 37
August 2021 - 38
August 2021 - 39
August 2021 - 40
August 2021 - 41
August 2021 - 42
August 2021 - 43
August 2021 - 44
August 2021 - 45
August 2021 - 46
August 2021 - 47
August 2021 - 48
August 2021 - 49
August 2021 - 50
August 2021 - 51
August 2021 - 52
August 2021 - 53
August 2021 - 54
August 2021 - 55
August 2021 - 56
August 2021 - Cover3
August 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/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