December 2020

Trust for Public Land Ranks Boise No. 1 for Dog Parks

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently announced the top cities for dog parks in 2020, and Boise, Idaho, topped the list for the second year in a row, with six dog parks available per 100,000 residents. Laredo, Texas, saw the most improvement, moving from 84th to 32nd in the rankings. TPL ranks the 100 largest U.S. cities by population.

USA Swimming Recognizes Top-Performing Clubs

The Nation’s Capital Swim Club, located in the Washington, D.C., area, has claimed the No. 1 spot again in the USA Swimming Club Excellence Program—its seventh consecutive year in the top spot. Every year, USA Swimming’s Club Excellence program recognizes the organization’s highest-performing clubs in the development of athletes ages 18 and younger.

Pediatricians Update Youth Sports Guidance, Recommend Face Coverings at All Times

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its recommendations on youth sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization now encourages players of most sports to wear cloth face coverings at all times for group training, competition and on the sidelines.

ACA Grant Program Aims to Promote Access and Inclusion at Camp

The American Camp Association (ACA) announced a new project that includes a three-year grant program designed to foster evidence-informed planning, testing and improving initiatives to increase access to and engagement in counselor-in-training (CIT) programs and other qualified leadership programs among young people with diverse backgrounds, abilities and identities. Previous research suggests that CIT programs represent an important step in the process by which many campers go on to become camp staff. This project will seek to disrupt the pathways that currently allow some young people to move through this camper-to-staff pathway more readily than others.

November 2020

2020 Voters Approve $3.7 Billion for Parks & Public Lands

According to an analysis by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), voters approved nearly $3.7 billion in new funding for parks, climate resiliency and public lands on election day. As the COVID-19 crisis drove unprecedented increases in visitation to public lands from neighborhood parks to national parks, the 2020 election gave voters in 48 jurisdictions across the country the opportunity to weigh in directly on how outdoor spaces improve their quality of life.

Study Highlights Parks & Rec's Role in Youth Sports

A new report from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) shows that parks and recreation professionals and the agencies they work for are essential providers of youth sports in communities across the country. The five most popular youth sports affiliated with parks and recreation are basketball, baseball/softball, soccer, football (including flag and peewee) and volleyball. Other popular youth sports include tennis, swimming and diving, track and field, gymnastics and cheerleading.

Grants Available for Swim Lesson Providers

Since 2007, the USA Swimming Foundation has awarded more than $6.3 million to help fund learn-to-swim programs across the country via more than 1,500 verified swim lesson providers in all 50 states. Applications for the 2021 USA Swimming Foundation Learn-to-Swim grants are now open. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15, 2020.

Sports Medicine Experts to Address COVID-19 and Athlete Care

From little league players to Olympic athletes, competitors at all levels have felt the impact of COVID-19. As sports and athletes rebound, team physicians, athletic trainers and physical therapists now face unique challenges caring for athletes. To help, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) have collaborated to bring together top sports medicine experts to address some of the key issues surrounding the care of competitive and recreational athletes.

Study Shows Americans Miss the Gym

A first-of-its-kind national survey recently released by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) asked Americans with gym memberships about their physical and mental state throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The full results from the study, conducted in collaboration with Kelton Global, a Material Company, have been published in "The COVID Era Fitness Consumer," which delves into how Americans feel about the pandemic overall, how the virus has shaped their personal wellness outlooks, their overall comfort levels returning to the gym and more.

October 2020

City Parks Alliance Launches Park Funding Hub

City Parks Alliance recently launched the Equitable Park Funding Hub, a tool park professionals can use to explore federal, state and local funding strategies for city parks and public spaces. The hub provides an overview of six funding areas: brownfields; climate adaptation, resilience and recovery; community development; conservation funding; and local funding approaches.

Pool Safely's New PSA Focuses on Child Drowning Prevention

Drowning is still the number-one cause of unintentional death among children between 1 and 4 years old, and deaths are rising among children ages 1 to 15. And with more families staying at home to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, there is an increased risk of child drownings even as we reach the cooler months.

U.S. Reps File Health & Fitness Recovery Act

U.S. Representatives Michael Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) have filed the Health & Fitness Recovery Act of 2020. The Act creates a $30 billion fund to provide grants to health and fitness businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

IHRSA Foundation, ACE Aim to Improve Exercise Inclusion for People With Intellectual Disability

The IHRSA Foundation and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), supported by the UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Fitness, Sport & Recreation, PE, have joined in a project approved by Special Olympics with funding through their Inclusive Health Innovation Grant. The grant, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aims to support organizations in making practices more inclusive and tip the balance toward a fully inclusive world, where people with intellectual disabilities are fully and intentionally included in mainstream fitness programs and services.

September 2020

NRPA Survey: U.S. Adults Say Parks & Rec Is Essential

A new report from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) shows that a majority of U.S. adults—82%—believe that parks and recreation is essential. The report shows that the public's affinity toward local parks and recreation is strong, with U.S. residents visiting local park and recreation facilities more than twice a month on average.

Effective Date for Drain Cover Standard Delayed

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to approve to delay the effective date of CPSC’s drain cover standard, ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017 from Nov. 24, 2020, to May 24, 2021. The six-month delay was requested by the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) on March 24, 2020, to provide drain cover manufacturers additional time while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted manufacturers and test labs.

ACE Urges Governments to Open Parks & Public Spaces for In-Person Fitness

The closures of gyms and fitness centers across the country because of public health orders have not only had a negative impact on the economy, but also have put communities at risk for preventable diseases. That’s why the American Council on Exercise (ACE), on behalf of its more than 90,000 certified exercise professionals and health coaches, is urging government officials to advance public policies that open parks and other publicly owned and managed spaces to allow for structured physical activity experiences facilitated.

CDC Study Examines Successful Overnight Camp Strategies from 2020

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined how four overnight summer camps in Maine were able to operate safely and successfully without the spread of COVID-19 over the summer.

August 2020

Before Pandemic, Fitness Was Hot, SFIA Report Says

In 2019, fitness participation increased 2.9% and individuals took part in about four fitness activities throughout the year, on average. This is according to a new report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). In addition, the report shows that “casual” participation continues to grow as more opportunities to try new workouts arise and become more accessible.

Data Reveals Racial Disparity in Park Access

The Trust for Public Land recently released a new report revealing that across the nation, parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations—and nearly five times as crowded. New data in the report shows that areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 6 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range.

USA Swimming Waives Swim-a-Thon Fees Through 2021

In late April, as the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on aquatic facilities across the country became clearer, USA Swimming unveiled a strategic recovery plan for clubs that highlighted many of the programs, benefits and services implemented during the COVID-19 crisis. One of these benefits was a removal of the required 5% contribution to the USA Swimming Foundation for teams that completed a Swim-a-Thon. The fee waiver is in place through 2021.

ACE Urges Congress to Pass COVID-19 Youth Sports & Health Working Families Relief Act

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) urges Congress to pass the COVID-19 Youth Sports and Healthy Working Families Relief Act (H.R. 7562), which incorporates the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act. ACE has long advocated for the passage of the PHIT Act, which would provide a 10% to 37% discount on expenses directly related to active lifestyles, including youth sports, health club dues, at-home fitness and personal training services, through pre-tax medica accounts like HSA and FSA.

Nation's Pediatricians Offer Advice on Return to Youth Sports

Sports activities offer children and teens many physical and psychological health benefits besides fitness, such as socializing with friends, a critical part of development. Many children have missed these activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and re-engaging youth in sports will require careful thought and safety precautions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drawing on the most current research, has published interim guidance to help families weigh the individual benefits and risks of their children's sports activities and ensure that safety precautions in place. It includes suggestions from the CDC's recommendations for youth sports, such as how practices should be conducted, who should wear face coverings and more.

July 2020

Congress Fully Funds LWCF With Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

The U.S. Congress made history last week by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, which fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and will be sent to the President’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. LWCF is the most important source of federal funding to create a develop local parks, trails, boat launches, sports fields and other recreation areas and park infrastructure.

AOAP's Aquatics Professional Designation Certified by CMAHC

The Association of Aquatics Professionals (AOAP) and the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced that CMAHC has certified the AOAP Aquatics Professional designation (AqP), a professional designation for members of the aquatics industry. This achievement promotes the health, safety and wellness of the aquatics professionals who achieve an AqP designation and the aquatic facilities they serve.

Fitness Participation Up in U.S.

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association showed increasing participation in the most popular fitness categories in 2019. “Participation rates for fitness activities have been strong and consistent,” said SFIA CEO and President, Tom Cove. “The fact that participation in nearly every category increased in 2019 reflects the breadth and importance of fitness in the United States. These reports provide readers with an unparalleled understanding of each activity on an individual basis, whether it be yoga, weightlifting, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or dance.”

KaBOOM! Taskforce Offers Guidance on Playground Reopening

KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit working to end playspace inequity for good, recently announced new, actionable guidance for safe playground reopening. Developed by a taskforce comprised of public health, community development, parks and recreation, and facilities experts, the guidance provides practical recommendations to playspace owners, operators and managers as they plan to reopen public playgrounds—once this is deemed safe by local health authorities.

June 2020

Congress Nears Full, Permanent Funding of LWCF

The U.S. Congress is close to enacting a historic measure that will dramatically expand access to parks and public lands. The U.S. Senate has voted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion to move forward with the Great American Outdoors Act, which will ensure that $900 million in offshore oil and gas fees are invested in local parks and open space, by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The measure will now go to the House of Representatives, which also is poised to enact this legislation. The White House has already signaled its support.

More Cities Join Effort to Reimagine Public Spaces

Five more U.S. cities recently joined Reimagining the Civic Commons, a national initiative to advance ambitious social, economic and environmental goals through public spaces. Joining the original cohort of cities, Lexington, Macon, Miami, Minneapolis and San Jose have committed to strategic investments in parks, libraries, trails and community centers.

CPSC Finds Steady Rise in Fatal Child Drownings

A new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlights the need for continued vigilance in combating child drownings, particularly as many families prepare to spend more time at home this summer to curb the spread of COVID-19. Child drownings remain the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4.

NFHS Offers Guidance on Restarting High School Athletics, Activities

As states and localities across the country begin to reopen to varying degrees, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has released guidance for its 51 member state high school associations to consider in reopening high school athletics and other activity programs across the nation. The guidance document was developed by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, comprised of medical doctors, certified athletic trainers, high school coaches and officials, research specialists and state high school association executives.

YMCA, American Camp Association Release Guide to Support Summer Camp Safety

"Safety has always been the ruling factor for camp operations, but the arrival of COVID-19 required game-changing educational resources that summarize the potential safety steps camps should consider so children can get back some normalcy and experience the many benefits and joys of camp," said Tom Rosenberg, president and chief executive officer, ACA. "Given months of sheltering in place and the countless hours children have logged on screens during this time, the social-emotional benefits camp can provide are even more crucial to the nation’s children now."

May 2020

NRPA Report Benchmarks Parks & Recreation Agencies

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) released a new report giving park and recreation professionals the data they need to be industry leaders while best serving their communities with its “2020 NRPA Agency Performance Review.” The report, along with its accompanying interactive and customizable online reporting tools, is a comprehensive resource of park and recreation data and insights that park leaders can use to compare their agency with those across the United States.

CDC Issues Guidance for Aquatic Venues During COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its “Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19,” which likely will become the basis for reopening guidelines provided by local public health officials, according to the World Waterpark Association (WWA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its “Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19,” which likely will become the basis for reopening guidelines provided by local public health officials, according to the World Waterpark Association (WWA).

Fitness Industry Leaders Reach Out to Governors on Safely Reopening

Following around a month of stay-at-home orders and forced closures across the country, many states have begun slowly opening for business. In order to help the more than 40,000 U.S. clubs—employing nearly 800,000 Americans before the shutdown—open as soon as is safely possible, IHRSA is reaching out to governors across the country. These efforts are putting the health of staff, members and communities first.

Ys Respond to COVID-19 With Food Distribution, Child Care Service

YMCAs across the country are meeting their core mission of bringing people together and fostering connections across communities by providing emergency services in response to the impact of COVID-19. Many Ys are providing emergency child care for health care workers and first responders, while others are providing food distribution to address food insecurity for children without access to school meals. I

April 2020

NRPA Offers Guidance on Playgrounds During COVID-19 Pandemic

With so many cities and states implementing shelter-in-place orders to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19, questions have emerged regarding the safety of parks and public spaces, including playgrounds and play structures. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently provided some guidance.

$2 Million in Pool Safely Grants Available

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that state and local governments could apply for the Pool Safely Grant Program. The program will award up to $2 million in two-year grants to assist jurisdictions in reducing injuries and deaths resulting from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas.

Health Club Membership Up in 2019, Says IHRSA

For the fifth consecutive year, membership in health clubs grew, according to a study conducted by the nonprofit International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) as part of the Physical Activity Council (PAC). The total number of health club members has grown by 28% since 2010, and overall, 21.2% of Americans were members of a health club or studio in 2019. That’s 64.2 million consumers ages 6 and older.

NRPA Releases Resource for Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has unveiled “Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans” as a new online tool to help park and recreation agencies create action-oriented plans grounded in equity. The tool seeks to ensure just and fair access to quality parks, green space, recreation facilities and programs for all.

March 2020

3 Million More Americans Got Active in 2019, Says SFIA

In 2019, 3 million more Americans took part in some sport or fitness activity, after years of stagnant rates, according to the recent Topline Participation Report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. According to the report, outdoor activities, fitness and team sports showed the largest growth percentages.

TPL Awards 10-Minute Walk Grants

Recently, TPL announced $375,000 in funding that will go to eight nonprofits in different cities as part of the 10 Minute Walk campaign. This second round of funding supports grassroots efforts in cities that are working to ensure that all their residents have access to parks or other green space. So far, the program has awarded more than $2.1 million to nonprofits and city leaders in nearly 50 cities. In all, the campaign has gained support from almost 300 mayors, as well as dozens of nonprofits working in their communities to advance this goal.

Revised VGBA Drain Cover Standard Approved

The Pool and Hot Tub Alliance has announced that a revised ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017 ”American National Standard for Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA) for Use in Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs” was approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Originally published in the Federal Register (Vol. 84, No. 101) on May 24, 2019, the updated standards will go into effect on November 24, 2020.

NAYS Offers Free Training on Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Last summer, the state of California enacted a law named ”Youth Athletics: Concussion and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Protocols.” The law includes a mandatory education program for coaches to learn how to deal with sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 killer of student athletes, and the National Association of Youth Sports (NAYS) is offering a free 15-minute online class called “Sudden Cardiac Arrest Training” that addresses all of the law’s required topics.

New CDC Initiative Aims to Boost Activity for Americans

It’s no secret that increased physical activity can improve health and quality of life while reducing health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions, including colon and breast cancer, stroke and high blood pressure. They can reduce depression and prevent weight gain. And yet, the CDC points out that only one in four adults and one in five high school students fully meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. And about 31 million adults aged 50 years or older are inactive, meaning they get no physical activity beyond that of daily living.

February 2020

NRPA Launches Mentoring in Parks and Rec

In January, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) announced a new initiative to expand and support mentoring programs in parks and recreation: Mentoring in Parks and Rec: Connecting Communities, Cultivating Leaders. Throughout the month—which was National Mentoring Month—NRPA released a series of blogs, social media posts and more related to this initiative and the importance of mentoring.

AOAP Recommends MAHC Adoption

Citing a mishmash of health codes enacted by hundreds of jurisdictions to address swimming safety, the nonprofit Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP) board of directors in recently formally endorsed adoption by those bodies of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

ACE Examines Effectiveness of REHIT

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit organization that works to improve physical activity levels by certifying exercise professionals and health coaches, understands that a lack of time is one of the most common hurdles for people when it comes to regularly exercising, so they commissioned a scientific study to find out if reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) could help solve this common problem. REHIT is an evolution of the traditional high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

RTC Shares Progress Toward Completing Great American Rail-Trail

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) recently revealed that nearly $13 million in funding has been secured for segments of the Great American Rail-Trail across four states. This investment will help close trail gaps and improve existing sections of trail along the 3,700-mile route, which is currently 52% complete. In addition, RTC indicated that nearly 100 miles of new trail along the route are expected to be completed in 2020.

January 2020

18 Cities Earn Grants for Parks

The National Park Service recently chose projects in 18 cities to get federal funds through its Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program. The organizations overseeing the projects must at least match their share of the $11.7 million in ORLP grants through private, local and state funding. The ORLP program’s mission is to boost outdoor recreation opportunities in areas without enough close-to-home parks, and to promote the development of new or enhanced partnerships to support outdoor recreation in jurisdictions with at least 50,000 people.

USA Swimming Recognizes Top Swimming Clubs

For 20 years, USA Swimming—the national governing body for the sport of swimming in the United States—has been offering its Club Excellence program, a voluntary program that annually recognizes the highest-performing USA Swimming clubs in the development of athletes ages 18 years and younger. Clubs that execute strong, well-rounded programs are identified, with the top 20 earning Gold-level ranking. USA Swimming recently announced its 2020 Club Excellence Honorees.

Study Finds One-Third of U.S. High Schools Have No Access to Athletic Trainers

A new study published in the Journal of Athletic Training—the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NATA) scientific publication—shows that, despite ongoing tragedies in sports as well as research from a host of sources concluding that schools with athletic trainers (ATs) have lower injury rates, 34% of public and private high schools in the United States still have no access to athletic trainers. And, of the schools with access to ATs, 47% only receive part-time services even though full-time services are the gold standard of care.

Philadelphia Kids to Get More Play Options

KaBOOM! and the William Penn Foundation opened applications for city groups to vie for an available $1 million to design and build interactive and playful learning installations in locations across Philadelphia. The winning projects will be finished by July 2021.