Editor's Desk - February 2010
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Let's Give Them Something to Text About

You know how it is when you read about the latest statistics—on childhood obesity, on the increase in type 2 diabetes, on the number of people who don't exercise, and so on and so forth. It's almost always a bit of a shock. (34 percent of adults are obese now? Wow.) But after a while, your eyes start to glaze over and it seems there is nothing that can shock you further.

Well, I felt the same way, until I came across a little nugget of news from the Kaiser Family Foundation. According to a study released late last month, today's 8- to 18-year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day—more than 53 hours per week. (Time spent reading books? A paltry 25 minutes per day.)

Think of it this way. Drew Altman, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "The amount of time young people spend with media has grown to where it's even more than a full-time work week."

You read that right. And get this: On average, 7th to 12th graders spend a little more than an hour and a half every day sending and receiving texts.

(I don't know about you, but boy do I wish I had that kind of free time. At the very least, the weeds might not be about to make the next move in their bid to conquer the universe.)

Say what you will about the kids these days (I can remember hours spent on the telephone, still attached to a wall at that point, when I was in high school), at least they're communicating, however incomprehensible some of that communication may seem to those of us whose thumbs are less agile.

Well, why not give them something to text about?

This month on our pages, you'll find plenty of stories that might give you a way into the teen and preteen demographics' hearts and minds.

On page 18, you'll find a feature on maintaining sports fields. And now is the time of year to start thinking about your game plan for keeping your fields in top playing condition all season long for teens and players of all ages.

But what about those kids who aren't drawn to traditional sports? You can satisfy them, too. Turn to page 12 to learn more about current trends in skateparks, including the idea of removing the chain-link fence and letting kids put their skills on display.

And while teens and preteens may be one of the most difficult demographics to capture with programming, you should consider ways to get them involved. And not just with one another. Turn to page 22 to read a story that takes a closer look at some organizations from across the nation that are not only designing programs to suit multiple generations, but are also working to get the older folks and younger ones involved in programs together through an intergenerational approach.

One way to get all the generations working together is through a community garden. These oases offer work for youths and unite communities around their central purpose—growing food and fun. Turn to our back page to learn about one organization that is working to provide food security, youth employment and more through its community gardening and other efforts.

And, as always, we feature the latest news on products for your facility, from fitness equipment to playground equipment and more.

How are you getting more teens and preteens away from the screen and into your parks, sports fields and fitness facilities?

Write us at editor@recmanagement.com to tell us your good news.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director


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