Parks & Recreation promotes health, well-being
by D. GARY DAVIS, Bradley County Mayor
Apr 23, 2013 | 342 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I believe your county government should do its best to promote public health and welfare. There are a number of ways we do this, such as the annual Healthy Community Initiative grants, support of the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and programs provided by the County Health Department.

However, I believe one of the most effective is the Bradley County Parks and Recreation Department.

The trend toward a sedentary or inactive lifestyle is recognized as a major contributor to many childhood health issues, especially obesity and diabetes. Studies also show that children who are inactive seem to struggle socially. The programs available through the Parks and Recreation Department contribute not only to our quality of life, but help develop healthy children who become well rounded adults who will contribute to the future of our community.

During the 2012-13 budget year, more than 3,400 Bradley County youth participated in programs offered by the Parks and Recreation Department. Some 396 players were part of the fall baseball league. Some 144 players participated in fall softball and 302 players enjoyed the competition of the youth football league. Hundreds more participated in basketball (780), cheerleading (216), spring baseball (1,120), and softball (396).

In addition, there are 146 riders registered in the department’s BMX program. This is clear evidence that your County Parks and Recreation Department is having a positive impact on our youth and contributing to their mental, physical and social health.

A nationwide study on the benefits of local Parks and Recreation departments was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania. The results show an overwhelmingly positive impact upon the local communities where they are located. The list is long and impressive and even 71 percent of non-users said they received some benefit from their community’s parks and recreation services.

Researchers concluded that Parks and Rec departments help foster a sense of community and 75 percent of respondents said the services are worth at least $45 or more per household member per year. The study also concluded that the vast majority of the public uses local recreation and park services. The study also showed that these departments promote community welfare and a sense of well-being, and many view it as an investment in the public health of the community.

There are also many personal benefits which include exercise, fitness and conditioning; fun and entertainment; learning; and relaxation. Researchers also pointed out the social benefits which include getting to know people, group participation, interaction of adults and youth, community awareness, team spirit and more.

The Bradley County Parks and Recreation Department provides year-round, family-friendly services and activities that are affordable, and many can be enjoyed in the great outdoors.,

I am proud of the Bradley County Parks and Recreation Department which has been providing team sports opportunities for county residents since 1983. The department’s mission is to provide professional, safe, recreational programs and facilities for the citizens of Bradley County.

We are fortunate to have nice parks for both children and adults alike to play in, and a variety of programs for their enjoyment. When you and your family participate in these team activities, you are helping the department promote health through physical activity, and connect children with the outdoors.

For more information on any of the programs offered by the department, please call Director Paul Wyrick at 728-7035, or visit the page of the Parks and Recreation website at www.bradleyco.net.