Ashburn, Va., June 9, 2011 – The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is pleased to announce that July is national Park and Recreation Month. Since 1985, Americans have celebrated Park and Recreation Month during the month of July to promote the importance of parks and recreation in establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyles and communities.
This year’s theme is “Rock Your Park!” NRPA and its grassroots initiative, America’s Backyard, encourage Americans to show the country how parks and recreation make life extraordinary! NRPA will support park and recreation agencies and citizens as they plan special events and initiatives that remind local decision makers and the community of the exciting and vital role that parks and recreation play in the lives of Americans.
This year is particularly motivating as there are five weekends in July, giving citizens a record number of opportunities to get out to their local parks and recreation areas and get active. NRPA, in coordination with park and recreation agencies nationwide, is inspiring people to create a healthy weekend habit by getting out to a park, trail, playground, swimming pool, natural area or other public space every weekend this July. To make a personal commitment to get outdoors, citizens can sign the Five in July Park Pledge.
“According to recent studies, about one-third of Americans struggle with inactivity, obesity and associated health challenges,” said NRPA CEO Barbara Tulipane. “Now is time for change. Through Park and Recreation Month, we’re encouraging Americans to get out, get active and get healthy. By signing our Five in July Park Pledge, citizens can become a real part of the movement toward wellness.”
Park and recreation agencies are at the forefront in the fight against obesity and in the campaign for health and wellness; however, their services and programs are dangerously at risk due to budget cuts. National Park and Recreation Month is just one way citizens can develop healthy habits and get out locally to show their support of this vital resource.
To spread the word and demonstrate the power of parks and recreation, NRPA is hosting a national “Rock Your Park” Flash Mob Contest. Citizens are encouraged to put together a group of people and show the power of parks together in Flash Mob form. Also, NRPA is hosting its second annual July Social Media Project. Individuals are encouraged to take photos with the official “Rock Your Park” social media sign and post them on their favorite social media sites.
Through efforts by NRPA, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an official resolution for Park and Recreation Month in 2009. The association supports the national park and recreation community and the general public by advocating for federal support for park and recreation programs and legislation.
As a President’s Challenge Advocate, NRPA is also pleased to promote the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program in support of the Let’s Move initiative. For those looking to extend their physical activity commitment, the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or “PALA,” can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids (30 minutes for adults), five days a week for six weeks. For additional information, please visit www.millionpalachallenge.org.