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May 2014-Lincoln Parks & Recreation

In the past century, Lincoln’s Park and Recreation system has grown to become one of the best in the nation with it’s 125 parks, 131 miles of trails, seven recreation centers, nine public pools, five golf courses, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Woods Tennis Center and our Team Sports Programs. Lincoln Parks and Recreation mission is fundamental to youth development; fundamental to active living, fundamental to livable neighborhoods and family life; fundamental to environmental stewardship; fundamental to special places and event;. and fundamental to economic development.
Lincoln’s Parks and Recreation Department is a health and wellness leader in our community. The Department employees are actively involved with the City Wellness Program focusing on lifestyle management, chronic disease management and work culture that supports food health and strengthens employee moral. Health and nutrition presentations are incorporated into staff meetings and wellness challenges are offered to provide support and motivation among colleagues.

The Department is also aware that Lincoln families are concerned about raising healthy active kids. In an increased effort to help kids be more active, eat better, grow up healthy and avoid potential long-term health issues, Lincoln Parks and Recreation is participating in the National Recreation and Parks Association’s Commit to Health—a campaign that supports the implementation and evaluation of Healthy Eating, Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in park and recreation sites across the country.

Lincoln Parks and Recreation programs for children and youth are intentionally focused on increasing opportunities for physical activity, providing education about good nutrition, and improving access to healthy food. “FUNdamental Healthy Me” Summer Day Camp programs are designed to help young people experience healthier lifestyle choices through fun recreation day camp activities. Summer Day Camp is a perfect setting for learning the healthy balance of staying active while making smart food choices to help our bodies grow and develop in healthy ways. Activities include physical education, active play, archery, tennis, swimming, and yoga, (in addition to other camp standards such as arts and crafts, music, reading, and more).

The results are promising. Almost 850 young people participated in Lincoln Parks and Recreation “FUNdamental Healthy Me” Summer Day Camps at eight different locations during 2013. Campers were tested on aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. About two-thirds of campers who completed each test improved, and campers who had high attendance generally showed greater improvement than those who had low levels of attendance. This is great news among new reports that fitness gains made during the school year may be too often lost during the summer!

For youth not enrolled in Summer Day Camp we will also offer “Crunch and Lunch” Monday-Friday throughout the summer. Neighborhood youth can drop in at the following locations for an hour of active games and physical fitness activities and a healthy lunch provided by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Locations include: Ager Play Center, Carol Yoakum Family Resource Center, Belmont Recreation Center, Calvert Recreation Center, Everett Elementary School, “F” Street Community Center and UPCO Park.

Join us May 17th for Party in the Parks at Union Plaza as we celebrate National Kids to Parks Day from 4-9. The event will include a bike rodeo, bike repair, obstacle course, yoga, live music and much more. Other dates for Party in the Park at Union Plaza June 14, July 12, August 16 and September 13.

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