Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2017

Park Hop Inspires Park Usage

By Deborah L. Vence

A free scavenger-hunt activity in Greenville County, S.C., called Park Hop, is helping to inspire park usage. Research in the February 2017 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, a peer-reviewed electronic journal established by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, revealed that Park Hop helped "community-collaboration between park agencies and positively influenced park usage, park discovery, time engaged in physical activity during park visits and perceptions of parks."

Park Hop was designed to help combat childhood obesity and influence park usage, discovery, park-based physical activity, and perceptions of parks among children and adolescents.

Participation in Park Hop was open to people aged 18 years or younger and their families. Participants registered online by visiting the Park Hop website, which provided access to the printable park passport, or by downloading the mobile app from the Apple or Android app store. Participants also submitted their completed passports online or through the app.

Survey data was collected from mid-May to mid-August 2014. The research report, called, "An Initiative to Facilitate Park Usage, Discovery, and Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents in Greenville County, South Carolina, 2014," showed that children and adolescents visited an average of 12.1 (of 19) Park Hop parks and discovered an average of 4.6 venues.

For example, in a subset of participants, from pre-intervention to post-intervention, the reported stated that the "mean number of park visits increased from 5.0 visits to 6.1 visits, the proportion of time engaged in physical activity during the most recent park visit increased from 77 percent to 87 percent, and parents reported more positive perceptions of the quality of park amenities. More children and adolescents (n = 586) were observed in the two intervention parks than in the two matched control parks (n = 305). However, the likelihood of children and adolescents engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was significantly greater in the control parks (74.3 percent) than in Park Hop parks (64.2 percent)."

Park Hop dates back to 2013, when it was developed in partnership with Greenville's park and recreation agencies as one solution to combat childhood obesity. LiveWell Greenville and the parks and recreation departments—City of Fountain Inn, Greenville, Greer, Mauldin, Simpsonville, Travelers Rest and Greenville County—teamed up to create the first Park Hop adventure, and the momentum has grown each year.

The goals of Park Hop include the following: increase parks usage and discovery; create an awareness and appreciation of parks across Greenville County; increase physical activity for youth and adults; and establish an annual tradition.

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