Editor's Desk - March 2014
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Back to Basics

Here at Recreation Management headquarters, we spend a lot of time, and a lot of words, discussing innovations and creative ideas for recreation, sports and fitness facilities. Whether we're discussing new ways to emphasize your park or playground's theme, writing about clever and environmentally friendly ways to reduce the cost of running an aquatic facility, or explaining the latest and greatest programming ideas, we always try to bring something new to the table.

Hopefully, you find plenty of takeaways in each issue—fresh ideas and expert advice that will help you knock the ball out of the park.

But, every once in a while, a base hit moves the game along just as effectively. And no matter what kind of facility you operate, you can benefit from taking a step back and taking a simple look at your operations every once in a while. And when I say "taking a step back," I mean all the way to the beginning—back to the basic building blocks that are the foundation upon which all of the other innovations stand.

If it's a park, that might mean stepping back and making sure you've got the right furnishings and receptacles, as well as a smart maintenance plan to ensure the site stays clean and safe. If you're running a fitness center, it means pausing in your consideration of clever new group fitness classes to make sure your cardio floor has the right mix of machines. If it's a swimming pool, that might mean pausing as you consider clever new programs to think about how you might improve your team's ability to handle everyday issues, such as keeping the water balanced and safe.

While it's always good to get ahead of the competition and wow your members and visitors with something they've never seen or considered, it's just as crucial to provide the familiar things they're looking for. A treadmill. A walking path around a pond. A playground with slides and climbing elements. A well-lit, well-kept gymnasium. The list can go on and on.

And it's not just equipment and facilities that benefit from the attention you give to the basics. Your approach to programming and marketing your facilities also can get a boost. Sure, you'll be able to attract people with that new aqua-therapy program, but don't lose sight of how many people show up for swim lessons. And yes, that new group exercise craze is going to be a hit, but I'll bet plenty of people still show up for your basic dance aerobics session. Social media is a great tool to reach out to people, but that doesn't mean your basic outreach methods are obsolete.

As with every issue, we've got a great lineup of stories to give you ideas that are basic and way beyond basic to help you run your facilities a little smarter. We look at trends in locker room design, smart ideas for making more of your waterfront, expanding your dog park beyond a simple fenced run and programming ideas that will get teens out into the great outdoors, and much more.

Use these ideas to build upon the fine foundation you've established, and you're sure to knock the ball out of the park.

Be well,

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management