Thank Goodness for Outside

As I write this, many of the facilities we turn to for recreation and fitness—health clubs, campus rec centers, senior centers and more—are temporarily closed as the human race tries to flatten the curve and get ahead of transmission of COVID-19. But, there are still plenty of outdoor opportunities for fitness and recreation available to the American public.

For now, our parks and trails must serve as the places we can go to enjoy some recreation or get in a workout—as long as we keep our distance from one another.

The good news is that this current situation of distancing is not permanent. And so we can use this time to think forward. Some of the questions that come to mind include:

>> How can we better protect the health and safety of all of the people in our facilities—from the people who show up for fun or fitness to the employees who do all the behind-the-scenes work to keep things running?

>> How can we increase access to the outside—reaching more people in our communities with parks and the outlet they provide?

>> What can we do to ensure connection for people across generations, even when those people can't be connected in person?

I've seen plenty of stories about parks and recreation organizations on the front lines of the current crisis. Some are providing a place for homeless citizens to find shelter and respite. Others are offering up ideas to keep kids engaged and occupied while they try to adapt an entirely new way of learning.

We've been shaken. But this is not the first time we've been shaken. A new normal will emerge from the current chaos. It's OK to take a minute to be frustrated and frightened. But when you're ready, can you take some time to think about how we can be even better tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year?

When I am frustrated and frightened, I go Outside. I walk my usual walks. At the moment, there's a lot that's reassuring in that. The birds are returning. The green things are growing. As I said to a friend of mine earlier today as we discussed the many delights of gardening, "Life wants to live."

Be Well,

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management