17 – What COVID-19 Taught Park and Recreation Professionals: Insights From National Survey Comments
Russel Carson, PhD, Research and Health & Wellness Advisor, PlayCore and Kevin Roth, PhD, VP of Research, Evaluation & Technology, NRPA
Park and recreation professionals faced an uncharted year with COVID-19. NRPA launched a weekly national survey in late March 2020 to understand how members were navigating the evolving response and recovery efforts in their communities. Over 2000 surveys were completed by NRPA members and key quantitative findings were summarized on NRPA’s website. One open-ended question asked each week related to “your agency’s efforts surrounding COVID-19 and the role parks and recreation is playing in your community.” The 500+ unedited responses submitted and shared on NRPA’s website were qualitatively coded by content areas. Results represent a wide range of municipality types, population, budget sizes, and funding structures. This session will present key learnings and creative strategies emerging from the forums related to overcoming challenges and elevating the value of parks and recreation during a pandemic.
Learning Outcomes: Participants will be able to:
- Summarize key issues confronting park and recreation leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Identify strategies for overcoming COVID-19 challenges related to park and recreation spaces.
- Identify ways to showcase the relevance of parks and recreation as essential aspects of community health and wellness.
- Identify new opportunities for elevating the value of parks and recreation during a pandemic.