Feature Article - June 2012
Find a printable version here

Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


The most common programs found in parks and recreation respondents' facilities include: holiday events and other special events (78.5 percent of those who offer any programs); youth sports teams (70 percent); day camps and summer camps (66.7 percent); arts and crafts (63.6 percent); educational programs (62.8 percent); adult sports teams (62.1 percent); programs for active older adults (57.1 percent); sports tournaments and races (57 percent); fitness programs (56 percent); and festivals and concerts (55.2 percent).

This represents little change from last year's response, with slightly fewer respondents offering all of these types of programming, with the exception of youth sports teams (offered by 69.9 percent last year).

Slightly more parks respondents in 2012 reported that they had plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years. In 2011, 34.2 percent of parks respondents had such plans. This number increased to 36.3 percent in 2012. The most commonly planned programs include:

  1. Environmental education (up from No. 2 on last year's survey)
  2. Teen programming (down from No. 1)
  3. Fitness programs (no change)
  4. Programs for active older adults (no change)
  5. Educational programming (up from No. 6)
  6. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates or martial arts (down from No. 5)
  7. Holiday events & other special events (no change)
  8. Adult sports teams (up from No. 10)
  9. Performing arts such as dance, theater and music (down from No. 8)
  10. Day camps and summer camps (did not appear on last year's list of top 10 planned programs)

Falling off the list from last year were special needs programs, while environmental education continued its rise from the third most commonly planned program in 2010.