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

Feature Story

November 2019

Meet Me at the Park Grant Program Reaches More than a Million Kids

By Chandler Garland

In 2017, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company launched their “Meet Me at The Park Play Spaces” grant program with the ambitious goal of bringing new play and physical activity projects to more than a million children and families nationwide.

Now, in less than three years, the campaign has more than achieved this goal by reaching more than 1 million children and families in 39 states with $2.3 million in grants to facilitate new projects for 75 parks nationwide.

“Parks are absolutely essential to the health and well-being of communities everywhere, and we are grateful for the opportunity to increase access to spaces for play and physical activity, in areas where they are needed the most,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “These investments will benefit children and families for generations to come.”

Projects created by the Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces grant program are varied and imaginative, bringing revitalized park spaces to communities most in need. Improvements funded by the grants so far have ranged from new playground equipment for the rural Alaska Peninsula community of King Cove to new amenities for a park in Tampa, Fla., which received new accessibility features such as advanced sensory equipment for those with autism or related disabilities.

“Play is central to a child’s growth and development,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president Enterprise Social Responsibility, the Walt Disney Company. “Disney is proud to join with the National Recreation and Park Association through the Meet Me at the Park program, in providing access to the innovative and inclusive play spaces that enable and encourage children to play every day—at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities. By working together with NRPA, our team at Disney hopes to make play places more accessible and inspire kids and families to stay active and have fun.”

Post-project evaluations conducted at many of the parks that received grants have shown significant improvement in daily park use and park-based physical activity. First-time park visitors increased by 16 percent, while 80 percent of surveyed park visitors believed the projects had a positive impact on nearby communities. Gains in volunteering rates for park programs and events were also attributed to the new projects.

“This achievement is definitely worth celebrating and also recognizing the inspiring contribution of The Walt Disney Company to the success of this program,” said Rachel Banner, director of park access for NRPA. “The Disney team brought vision, a commitment to healthy living and the resources to make this important project a reality.”

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

PHTA Recognizes Achievements in Aquatics - November 2019

Know the Dangers of Unauthorized Entry - November 2019

Survey Says: Americans Love Their Parks - November 2019

NRPA Awards Grants to 10 Communities to Expand Park Access - October 2019

CPSC Awards Pool Safely Grants - October 2019

NCAA Announces AASP Grant Recipients - October 2019

$170.6 Million in LWCF Grants to Support Parks & Outdoor Recreation - October 2019

High School Sports Participation Declines for the First Time in 30 Years - September 2019

TPL Suggests Schoolyards as Park-Access Solution - September 2019

New Study May Change Use of Chlorine Stabilizers in Swimming Pools - September 2019

High School Sports Participation Declines for the First Time in 30 Years - September 2019

City Parks Alliance on Park Funding & Equity - September 2019

Survey Reveals Top Outdoor Recreation Activities - August 2019

Pediatricians Urge Communities to Provide Swim Lessons for All - August 2019

Report: Tennis Participation Remains Consistent - August 2019

Survey: Only Half of Collegiate Sports Programs Follow NCAA Model for Student Medical Care - August 2019

Fieldhouse Renovated, Expanded at UW-Platteville - July 2019

NRPA, Disney Award Play Space Grants - July 2019

Swim Clinic Teaches Water Safety Basics - July 2019

Nation's Pediatrics: Put More Emphasis on Enjoyment of Sports - July 2019

Diabetes Declines, National DPP Program Helped - July 2019

Washington, D.C., Unseats Minneapolis as Best City Park System - June 2019

Survey: Half of Americans Use the Pool as a 'Communal Bathtub' - June 2019

NFL Foundation Helps to Advance Youth Wellness - June 2019

Youth Sports Participation Holds Steady in 2018 - June 2019

Dog Parks Still on the Rise - May 2019

USA Swimming Grants Will Boost Learn-to-Swim Programs - May 2019

IHRSA: One in Five Americans Belong to at Least One Health Club - May 2019

New Program Aims to Grow Pickleball & Tennis - May 2019

IHRSA Reports on Health Club Compensation - April 2019

Grant Funding Brings Parks Closer to People in 10 Cities - April 2019

Note & Float Program Reaches Lifesaving Milestone - April 2019

Fund Established to Assist Aspiring Women Coaches - April 2019

Applications Open for ESPN RePlay Program - April 2019

NRPA Offers Play Space Grants - March 2019

Smarter Lifeguard Management - March 2019

U.S. Soccer Foundation Aims to Boost Female Participation - March 2019

In Oregon, Outdoor Recreation Saves $1.4 Billion in Healthcare Costs - March 2019

Survey: Communities Should Support Pollinators - February 2019

NSPF, APSP Unite to Form Pool & Hot Tub Alliance - February 2019

Guide Aims to Help Gyms Implement Diabetes Prevention - February 2019

Senior Living Continues Shift Toward Wellness - February 2019

Partnership Aims to Expand Play Opportunities - January 2019

Grant Funds Help Educate Pool Operators - January 2019

NFL Foundation Grants Boost Local Football Fields - January 2019

Leaders Recognized for Advancing Outdoor Recreation - January 2019

Goldfish Swim School Sponsors USA Swimming Foundation - December 2018

Physical Activity for Kids Gets Low Grade - December 2018

New Law Helps Sports Medicine Professionals & Athletes - December 2018

Outdoor Recreation Adds Billions to U.S. Economy - November 2018

Nearly $1 Million in Pool Grants Awarded - November 2018

Report: One in Four Americans Use a Health Club - November 2018

New Active Transportation Program Aims to Boost Health & Environment - November 2018