Community Recreation Centers & Sports
What are the benefits for a community when sports on a recreational level are offered? How does a community benefit from having a community recreation center? These issues are reviewed in this paper.
Reasons why a recreation center would benefit a community
An example of a community that is seeking to put together the resources for a community center is in Port Orchard, England. According to a story in the Port Orchard Independent, Port Orchard did not have a recreation center in 2008, but there were numerous community sports being played in various venues. In order to have a place for youth and adults to meet and enjoy sports together, the community was hoping that a $16 million 20-year bond issue would provide that space for those sports.
The recreational sports that would be available in a future recreation center would be: indoor basketball courts; indoor volleyball activities in the basketball facility; an “indoor multipurpose field for soccer, hockey, football practice and spectator viewing areas” (Morton, 2008). Also there would be an indoor tennis courts, with tennis lessons provided by the community center. Outside on the property there would be a lighted ball field for softball, baseball or “football” (soccer); there would also be hiking trails, horseshoe pits, batting cages and skateboarding ramps.
Meanwhile the California State Parks has published a white paper called “The Health and Social Benefits of Recreation,” which is an ideal guide for cities and towns and even counties that do not have recreation centers. The guide mentions that there are “â€¦serious health and social issues confronting Californians,” and there is no doubt that the same health issues (obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease) face large numbers of people in other states. It is widely known and discussed that obesity among children and adults is a major health problem in America. A recreation center can help to bring overweight people back to better health. In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a nationwide program (“Let’s Move!”) to help deal with that obesity problem, and many cities and towns have adopted her strategies for recreation.
The California State Parks (CSP) guide points out that studies show (including a national study that polled 1,818 people) a “positive correlation betweenâ€¦” recreational facilities” and physical activity (CSP, p. 9). Also, a long-term study of 17,000 teens shows that when teens used recreation centers they were “â€¦75% more likely to engage in the highest category of moderate to vigorous physical activity” (CSP, 9).
In the Executive Summary of the guide the authors note that the “most significant conclusion in the report” is that a recreation program — presumably part of a recreation center — directed at youth obesity, for example, can do several things besides just get kids active. A good recreation center with well-thought-out sports programs for youth can: (a) increase self-esteem; b) reduce the use of alcohol and drugs; c) “build family bonds”; and d) “promote volunteerism” (CSP, 7). The guide references The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease overweight and Obesity 2001, which reported that “â€¦obese individuals who were active also had a lower incidence of disease and moralityâ€¦” than men and women whose weight was normal but who were sedentary (CSP, 13). Just modest physical activity, such as a person could get at a recreation center by walking around the gym, swimming, or riding a stationary bike, can cut a woman’s risk of heart disease “by 30%,” the CSP explains on page 14.
In conclusion, it is clear that communities should be encouraging citizens to exercise and what better way to coax them to get off the couch than to provide a recreation program, with many different levels of activities for a wide variety of individuals. By building a recreation center, a city or town can develop myriad health-related recreation programs around the center; it can and should become the center from which many people find enjoyable and healthful activities.
California State Parks. (2005). The Health and Social Benefits of Recreation / An Element of The California Outdoor Recreation Planning Program. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://www.parks.ca.gov/planning.
Morton, J. (2008). 21 Reasons why a recreation center would benefit community. Port Orchard
Independent. Retrieved October 2, 2012, from http://portorchardindependent.com.
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