Feature Article - June 2019
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Parks & Recreation

A Look at Trends in Parks & Recreation


Parks respondents were slightly more likely than non-parks respondents to report that they provide programming of some kind at their facilities. While 96.2 percent of non-parks respondents provide programs, 97.6 percent of parks respondents do so.

The most common programs found in parks respondents' lineup include: holiday events and other special events (79.3 percent of parks respondents include them); youth sports teams (72.7 percent); day camps and summer camps (67.9 percent); group exercise programs (64.2 percent); adult sports teams (62.1 percent); arts and crafts (62.1 percent); educational programs (61.6 percent); programs for active older adults (60.3 percent); festivals and concerts (56.4 percent); and fitness programs (56.2 percent).

There were no programs offered by more park respondents in 2019 than in 2018.

Parks respondents were far more likely than non-parks respondents to report that they plan to add more programming options at their facilities over the next three years. Some 37.2 percent of parks respondents said they have such plans (down from 39.6 percent in 2018), compared with 26.1 percent of non-parks respondents.

The most commonly planned program additions in 2019 for parks include:

  1. Programs for active older adults (did not appear in 2018)
  2. Fitness programs (no change from 2018)
  3. Educational programs (up from No. 4)
  4. Group exercise programs (did not appear in 2018)
  5. Teen programming (down from No. 3)
  6. Mind-body balance programs such as yoga (down from No. 5)
  7. Environmental education programs (down from No. 1)
  8. Day camps and summer camps (down from No. 6)
  9. Special needs programs (down from No. 7)
  10. Holidays and other special events (did not appear in 2018)

Programs for active older adults, group exercise programs, and holidays and special events replaced adult sports teams, individual sports activities and sport-specific training in the top 10 planned programs.