REC REPORT FEATURES

December 2022

NRPA Honors Arborist With Inaugural Changing Nature of Work Award

The National Recreation and Park Association recently announced its first-ever Changing Nature of Work Award winner, in partnership with Merrell. The annual award recognizes an individual or team that has responded to natural disasters with a spirit of teamwork, community and perseverance to clean up, rebuild their park for usable enjoyment, and to support and advance resilience and well-being for their community.

Aspen Institute Report Reveals Post-Pandemic Shift in the State of Youth Sports

As the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, the state of youth sports for children and teens has changed, with greater appreciation by parents and policymakers for the physical and mental health benefits of staying active. This change carries new sets of opportunities and challenges, including rising costs associated with inflation, to tactically help children be physically active.

November 2022

PHTA Commits to Growing Aquatic Talent Pipeline

After a couple of years of workforce disruption that has made it difficult for aquatic facilities to find lifeguards and other aquatic professionals, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance is jumping into the waters of workforce development. Its new Pool Professionals Pipeline program is designed to help its members find workers, drive awareness amongst today's jobseekers, and foster long-term career progression in the pool, hot tub and aquatics industry.

$91 Million in Grants Awarded Through America the Beautiful Challenge

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) joined partners from the public and private sectors to announce nearly $91 million in grants through the America the Beautiful Challenge. (ATBC). The 55 grants will support landscape-scale conservation projects in 42 states and three U.S. territories, leveraging $50.7 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of about $141.7 million.

Adaptive, Inclusive Programming Essential for Parks and Recreation

Adaptive and inclusive programming are essential to communities, providing more access to a wider variety of people of all abilities. A recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) showed that U.S. adults are highly supportive of adaptive and inclusive recreation programming provided through local park and recreation agencies.

Schools With Athletic Trainers Are Better Prepared for Emergencies, Study Says

A new study investigates how often emergency medical services were called for sport-related emergencies based on access to athletic training services. The study found that schools with athletic trainers are better prepared for sport-related emergencies than those without.

October 2022

Grants Available for Learn-to-Swim Programs

Swim lesson providers can now apply for the 2023 USA Swimming Foundation Learn-to-Swim Grant. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 15, 2022.

U.S. Soccer Foundation Program Reaches More Girls

The U.S. Soccer Foundation recently announced that more than 121,000 girls from underserved communities have benefited from its soccer programs in the past three years, tripling the number of girls in its programs annually. In addition, the Foundation and its partners have engaged 5,475 coaches who identify as women or non-binary over the same time frame.

Equitable Access to Beaches and Coasts Is Lacking, Says Analysis

The coasts of the United States, from the beaches of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans to the shores of the Great Lakes, serve the American public in myriad ways, providing recreational, economic and environmental benefits. More than 400 million people visit coastal and estuary waters in the U.S. for recreation and tourism each year. Unfortunately, historical inequities have led to restrictive coastal access policies, and only 10% of coastal areas have strong legal protections to ensure equitable public access. So says a new analysis from the Hispanic Access Foundation and the Center for American Progress.

Parks, Waterfronts Recognized With ASLA Professional Awards

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has announced its 2022 Professional Awards. The 28 award-winners represent the highest level of achievement in the landscape architecture profession, and include several park and waterfront projects.

Swim Safety Data Shows Gains and Losses

Data collected by the American Red Cross and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020 shows previous success and gains around water competency swim skills for young adults may have been disrupted due to complications stemming from the pandemic.

September 2022

High School Sports Participation Down 4%, Says NFHS Survey

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recently resumed its High School Athletics Participation Survey for the 2021-22 school year. The survey is the first official report on high school sports participation from the federation since the 2018-19 school year, due to pandemic-related interruptions in data collection. The total number of participants in 2021-22—7,618,054—is down 4% from 2018-19's total of 7,937,491. The 2021-22 total includes 4,376,582 boys and 3,241,472 girls, according to figured obtained from the 51 NFHS member state associations, which includes the District of Columbia.

$30,000 in Grants Support Conservation, Protect Climbing Access

Access Fund, with support from Backcountry, recently announced $30,000 in climbing conservation grants, which will help bring 10 local climbing organization (LCO) projects across the country to life. The projects address specific and immediate needs of different climbing locales and their communities.

Dollywood Takes on Cigarette Waste

Cigarette butts represent an unsightly and pervasive form of litter in most public places, and tend to end up in waterways. Last year, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., partnered with river-cleanup nonprofit Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful on a massive cigarette litter prevention project. This made Dollywood the first theme park worldwide to recycle the plastic from every cigarette butt collected in guest-facing receptacles on its property.

Report Names Walking for Fitness, Yoga as Favorite Fitness Activities

More than two years from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as society continues to work out its "new normal," the fitness industry remains in flux, but with optimism and many future opportunities. That's according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), which has released its 2022 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report, which features an in-depth analysis of workout trends, participation habits and purchasing behaviors in the fitness industry.

August 2022

Communities Earn Grants to Improve Health Outcomes

The National Recreation & Park Association was awarded a $2.5 million grant from The Walmart Foundation to support 15 local park and recreation agencies as they develop Community Wellness Hubs. A Community Wellness Hub is a trusted gathering place that connects every member of the community to essential programs, services and spaces that advance health equity, improve health outcomes and enhance quality of life.

2022 RAISE Grants Underscore Importance of Trails & Walking Infrastructure

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is highlighting the number of Fiscal Year 2022 RAISE grants—the competitive, multimodal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation—that include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Across categories, most of the grants accounted for the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians, demonstrating exceptional demand for trail, walking and biking infrastructure that connects people to jobs, schools, shopping and transit.

SHAPE: High School Students Find Value in Health & Physical Education

SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators announced highlights from a recent research study that revealed valuable insight into the attitudes of high school students toward health and physical education (HPE). The study revealed that these students believe HPE is important to their future health, allowing them to develop useful skills.

Association of Aquatic Professionals Contributes to CMAHC Indoor Air Quality Study

The Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP) recently donated $10,000 in support of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code's (CMAHC) Indoor Air Quality Study, an ongoing research project focused on developing a mathematical model that will identify the connections between indoor air quality, pool design and pool operations. The results of the research will help the aquatics industry understand and better address real-world design and operational issues to enable safer air quality measurements for swimmers, patrons and aquatic staff.

New ACE Continuing Education Helps Fitness Pros Expand Their Reach to All Seeking an Active Lifestyle

In order to prepare exercise professionals to assist larger-bodied individuals who are seeking to make healthy lifestyle changes, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Size Inclusive Training Academy launched a new education course, the Size Inclusive Fitness Specialist. This new course is part of ACE's larger effort to build a more inclusive fitness industry, and aims to teach a weight-neutral mentality.

July 2022

New Research Demonstrates Power of Sport for People With Disabilities

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four U.S. adults—61 million Americans—have a disability that affects their major life activities. Of those, 47% of people with a disability ages 18 to 64 reported they get no aerobic physical activity. For many of these Americans, the benefits that physical activity can have on their whole health are not widely understood.

Cities Receive Support to Improve Equitable Park Access

Trust for Public Land recently launched the 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator, simultaneously announcing an inaugural cohort of U.S. cities that will receive support to address long-standing barriers to outdoor equity. Established in 2017 with support from The JPB Foundation, TPL's 10-Minute Walk program works with more than 300 mayors and city leaders across 48 states to close the park equity gap and address cities' pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development and community building through parks.

Celebrate Parks & Recreation All Month Long!

It's July, which means the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is inviting everyone to celebrate Park and Recreation Month. This year's month-long celebration's theme is "We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation," honoring the stories of how parks and recreation helps communities across the country grow stronger, more vibrant and more resilient.

U.S. Fitness Participation Reaches New Highs

Some 66.5 million U.S. consumers 6 years and older belonged to a health club or studio in 2021—more than one in five Americans. The latest data, reported by IHRSA, shows a 3.8% growth over the past two years, validating the importance of the fitness industry in spite of the challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic.

June 2022

15 Cities Join Peer Network Seeking to Increase Children's Access to Nature

Recently, 15 cities joined a national peer network with 32 other cities that are working to increase nature access for all children, regardless of race, income or ability. The National League of Cities (NLC) and the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) recently chose 15 additional cities to participate in a peer learning community of practice with the goal of advancing early childhood nature connection strategies.

CPSC: Fatal Child Drownings Remain High

Fatal child drownings and nonfatal drowning injuries in children younger than 15 remain high, according to the annual drowning and submersion report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC urged families to make water safety a priority, particularly as children return to community pools and summer camps after two summers of COVID precautions that lowered attendance at public swimming venues. Child drownings continue to be the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1 to 4.

ACSM-AMSSM: Athlete Screening Should Adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic

With COVID-19 infection leading to increased problems with inflammatory heart disease among athletes, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) have published a joint call-to-action, indicating that preparticipation cardiovascular screening is recommended by all major professional organizations overseeing the clinical care of competitive athletes.

Study: Green Schoolyards Bring Major Benefits, Cost Savings

A new study shows that schools can get a fourfold return on investments in transforming asphalt-covered and treeless schoolyards into green schoolyards, effectively dispelling common misconceptions about the price tag of such work. Trust for Public Land commissioned MKThink, a strategic design consultancy, to conduct a cost-benefit analysis comparing "gray" and "green" schoolyards that concluded investments in green schoolyards yield myriad benefits, and can return benefits of up to four times the initial cost.

May 2022

Aquatics Industry Addresses Questions About Drought

Near the end of March, nearly 40% of California was experiencing "extreme drought," and 100% of the state was affected by moderate drought, according to the U.S. drought monitor. Water restrictions are in place, and the state's most critical industries are bracing for impact. The aquatics industry is no exception, and industry professionals have been aiming to get ahead of rumors and myths about pools and drought by proactively sharing facts on water use, and the economic, social and public health implications of the pool and spa industry in California.

Trust for Public Land Releases ParkScore Index, Says Outdoor Space Key to Climate Resilience & Equity

Washington, D.C., was rated the nation's best park system on the 2022 ParkScore index from Trust for Public Land. Saint Paul, Minn., came in second, just ahead of Arlington, Va., and Cincinnati, Ohio, which reached the top five for the first time in ParkScore index history. In addition, Trust for Public Land found that 85% of large U.S. park systems have taken at least one major action to leverage parks to meet the climate crisis, and more than half have taken three or more.

Outdoor Foundation's Thrive Outside Initiative Expands to Four New Communities

The Outdoor Foundation recently added its third cohort of Thrive Outside Communities, growing the initiative to 12 regions nationwide. Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., joined the initiative, which awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities, aiming to build and strengthen networks that provide children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors. The community-led initiative is built with local and national partners and is supported by three years of funding.

Pickleball Celebrated All April Long

USA Pickleball named the month of April as National Pickleball Month, with pickleball ambassadors promoting the sport by scheduling events and social play, as well as promoting tournaments and offering discounts for first-time players. The celebration also aimed to generate interest in the many health, fitness and social benefits of the sport.

April 2022

Study: Sport Improves Concentration & Quality of Life

When they're physically fit, primary school students feel better and can concentrate better, according to a study by the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the Technical University of Munich. In addition, the study showed physically fit students were more likely to make it to higher-level secondary grammar schools than children with less sporting abilities.

$2 Million in Grants Available for Preventing Drownings & Drain Entrapments

State and local governments seeking assistance in reducing deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas can apply to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Pool Safely Grant Program. The CPSC will award up to a total of $2 million in two-year grants to qualifying jurisdictions. The Pool Safely Grant Program is essential to CPSC's national campaign to prevent drain entrapment and drowning.

NRPA Survey: U.S. Adults Say Environmental Education Is Crucial

In a recent poll from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than three out of four U.S. adults said it is extremely or very important that children and young adults learn about the environment, and how they can be good environmental stewards in their communities—an indication that park agencies should continue to reach their constituents with opportunities for learning about the environment. Parks can also meet the need by reaching out with volunteer opportunities, such as clearing invasive species.

Study Sheds Light on Work-Life Balance in the Sports Industry

Among Athletic Employees," was recently published in the Journal of Athletic Training, the scientific journal of the National Athletic Trainers' Association. The study examines challenges facing those with careers in the sports industry, particularly with regard to work-life balance issues.

March 2022

USA Swimming Expands Community Impact Grants

The Community Impact grant program was introduced by USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation in 2020, with an inaugural class of 12 recipients each receiving $5,000. Building on the success of the program, the USA Swimming Foundation announced that it will support an additional nine $5,000 grants to provide programming to underserved communities, support diverse coaches and create more competitive opportunities within USA Swimming clubs.

Aspen Institute Report Shows How High Schools Can Develop More Students Through Sports

High school sports can help address students' health and educational needs, but there are ways to reach more students, says Aspen Institute. The nonprofit contends that the traditional model should be updated to serve more students through community partnerships, intramurals, student-led clubs and other innovations that supplement the standard menu of interscholastic teams.

Folks in Alabama, New York Walk Their Dogs the Most

It's not just people who need exercise. Our furry friends are also much healthier—physically and mentally—when they get their daily dose. And a walk is one of the most effective ways to keep our pups—and ourselves—physically active, crucial considering that more than one-third of our dogs (36%) gained weight during the pandemic.

New Program Supports Equity-Focused Outdoor Projects

The National Park Foundation announced the official launch of ParkVentures, which supports programs and activities that help people create and strengthen lifelong relationships with national parks. The program’s focus is on communities that have historically been excluded from parks and may not feel a sense of belonging in the outdoors.

February 2022

YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs Launch Project to Support Youth Mental Health

YMCA of the USA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are partnering to benefit the mental health and emotional well-being of young people and the staff who serve them. Using $375,000 in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Schools, the project will explore ways to strengthen trauma-informed approaches in out-of-school-time (OST) environments.

Americans' Inactivity Rate Declining, Says SFIA Report

Americans got a move on in 2021, says the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). As the world slowly began to reopen last year, Americans got back on the move, according to the association's Topline Participation Report, which tracks participation rates of Americans 6 and older, across 120 different sport, fitness and outdoor activities. The report includes a section dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on participation rates.

New Senate Bill Would Bolster Recreation in Rural Communities

Leading outdoor recreation organizations are supporting the newly introduced Rural Outdoor Investment (ROI) Act. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), would provide much-needed capital for rural communities seeking to build and plan for recreation economies.

Fitness Facilities Continue to Struggle With COVID Closures

New Industry data shows yet another increase in the number of health clubs, gyms and studios that have closed since this time last year, according to IHRSA, the Global Health & Fitness Association. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, 25% of all fitness facilities have closed across the country, and 30% of studios closed as of Jan. 1, 2022, an increase of 11% since Jan. 1, 2021.

January 2022

KABOOM! Launches Initiative Toward Ending Playspace Inequity

KABOOM!, a national nonprofit committed to ending playspace inequity, announced the launch of its 25 in 5 Initiative to End Playspace Inequity, a five-year, $250 million plan to accelerate efforts toward achieving playspace equity across the United States. A $14 million gift from well-known philanthropist MacKenzie Scott enables the initiative to begin work in several places, which will be announced over the coming months.

PHTA Funds Swim Lessons for Nearly 6,300 Children in 2021

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) and its foundation are celebrating the donors who made 2021 a record-setting year for the alliance's Step Into Swim initiative, which is committed to safe swim education. The program raised more than $1 million and provided swim lessons to 6,297 children, with support from major founding partner Every Child A Swimmer and other industry leaders.

NRPA Celebrates Parks' Role in Americans' Wellness Goals

How are your resolutions coming along? If you're like the vast majority of U.S. adults—94%—you have set a health and wellness goal for 2022, according to a newly released National Park And Recreation Association (NRPA) poll. The NRPA touts the important role local parks and recreation organizations play in helping Americans meet these goals.

ACSM Lists Top Fitness Trends for 2022

We all know the value of getting plenty of exercise and quality sleep—many of us likely have made resolutions to help ensure we get there—and with more people turning to smartwatches and fitness trackers to monitor their exercise and sleep quality, it should come as no surprise that more than 4,500 health and fitness professionals surveyed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) identified wearable tech as the new top trend in fitness for 2022. ACSM recently released the survey results in an article titled "Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2022."

SFIA Report Reveals Impact of Pandemic on Organized Team Sports

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) 2021 U.S. Trends in Team Sports Report, the total number of Americans participating in a team sport dropped by 3.8 million players in 2020. The report, which examines participation and market trends in team sports and features in-depth data analysis of age group participation and more, breaks out the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the team sports landscape.