Editor's Desk - January 2015
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Center of Attention

It's always nice to see parks and recreation, sports and fitness facilities make it into headlines for good reasons. Whether they're helping people reach their fitness goals or providing a venue for fun and relaxation, these kinds of facilities have the potential to deliver a lot of good things to the world.

But sometimes, recreation, sports and fitness facilities end up in the news for not-so-pleasant reasons. From drownings at poorly maintained pools to fights breaking out on the ballfield, from playgrounds that become dangerous overnight due to vandalism to parks that are more eyesore than eye candy, many of the negative stories we come across about our facilities have a lot to do with safety—or a lack thereof.

Making your facility safer for everyone means staying on top of all the latest developments, whether it's knowing the newest science on head injuries and protective surfacing or understanding all the ins and outs of staffing and operating an aquatic facility. You can't manage well when you don't know what to manage. That's where we come in.

Here in our January 2015 issue, you'll find a range of feature stories covering various aspects of safety—all with the goal of helping you know how to make things a bit better, and a bit safer, at your own facility.

We begin here by diving deep into the Model Aquatic Health Code, what you need to know about it, and whether it'll make a difference for your facility. In this story, we also take a look at a few best practices in lifeguarding.

We continue here with a feature that examines playground safety—and not just the safety of your brand-new playground, but also some ideas and suggestions to help you keep things safe for kids at play over the long term.

Next, we examine safety and security for sports facilities. Following 9/11, large sports venues scrutinized their security procedures and made some changes. Even colleges and universities got in on the game. Here, we take a look at some key takeaways that can help make a difference for smaller, local facilities, including sports venues at the school district level, as well as park-run facilities.

Finally, we ask the question: Can certification make a difference? Whether it's for lifeguards and pool operators or for climbing and group fitness instructors, it seems the answer is a resounding yes.

Altogether, it adds up to a lot of information, and we hope you'll find something to take away to make your own facility just a bit safer—and to be sure you're covering all your liability bases.

Everyone likes to be the center of attention when it's for a good reason, but no one wants the spotlight shining on them when they've mishandled and mismanaged their facilities. In the coming year, we hope you'll continue to see growing success at your own facility, with the spotlight shining on all the ways you do good for your members, visitors and community.

Happy 2015!

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management