Group of people working out, holding the plank position at an outdoor bootcamp class.

Fall Programming Ideas for Recreation Centers

ACTIVE Network
July 23, 2020

If we’d have said that in the early spring we’d still be having to make COVID-related adjustments to our routines in the fall, you’d have probably laughed. No one would have expected it, but here we are. It’s time to start making fall programming plans for your parks and recreation department, and you are still having to do it with COVID-19 front and center.

With that in mind, we have some suggestions:

Change the Class Mix

With new restrictions on things like occupancy rates and requirements around social distancing and face coverings, you can’t just pick up last year’s class schedule and insert it into this year’s calendar. Making this year work is going to require some adjustment.

For instance, ditch the indoor aerobics classes in favor of a bootcamp-style classes that still get participants sweating but do so outside where it’s generally considered safer and it’s easier to maintain proper distances.

And if you’re in a part of the country where fall temperatures can often force outdoor activities inside, consider increasing the sessions of courses you offer so you can easily keep class participant numbers capped.

Regional Nature Education Courses 

There’s a lot to explore all around our recreation centers, but before now we never had the time to do it. We never got to spend time outdoors looking at everything nature had to offer. Now, though, all we have is time. And judging by how many stores are out of kiddie pools and running low on bicycles, many of us have chosen to get outside with this extra time. Capitalize on this renewed interest in the outdoors by offering nature classes and organized walks that will allow participants to learn something while also keeping their distance. 

These walks can be organized around:

  • Topography - Every part of the U.S. is different and offers interesting physical features that too few of us actually appreciate. Find a local expert—maybe someone at a nearby college or university—who would be willing to lead a class highlighting the interesting topographical make up of your area.
  • Plants - Just like the country is topologically diverse, we also have diverse plant life. Again, there are local experts—local horticulturalists who work for the city, maybe—who are able to talk about the unique floral makeup of the area around your recreation center.
  • Animals - You knew we were suggesting this too, right? One more time, local experts can offer great information about all of the critters that call your region of the country home and can lead excursions to try and come across some interesting animals.

Lawn Game Leagues

Those sports leagues that can keep your rec centers filled with excited participants and screaming fans might not happen this year. But that competitive energy has to go somewhere, so offer an alternative.

There are plenty of other games you can play that will get people outdoors where it’s generally safer and still let them go head to head. If we had to pick one, though, we pick Cornhole, and here’s why.

Cornhole is not just a fun game played to pass the time at a tailgate or barbecue anymore. In recent years, Cornhole (the game where you try to toss a beanbag into a hole from a distance) has taken a more serious turn. There are professional leagues and sanctioned rules now. And that’s why it’s a great choice as a temporary replacement to those indoor fall sports that usually keep you so busy.

DISCLAIMER: FOR HOLDING CLASSES SAFELY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO FOLLOW YOUR LOCAL OR STATE ORDERS. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT MEDICAL, HEALTH OR LEGAL ADVICE AND ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC IS PROVIDING THESE SUGGESTIONS BASED ON GUIDELINES PROVIDED BY THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC).ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC DOES NOT MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION THAT FOLLOWING THESE TYPE OF CLASSES WILL PREVENT ANY CURRENT OR FUTURE INFECTIONS OR SICKNESSES OF YOUR EMPLOYEES OR CUSTOMERS AND ACTIVE NETWORK, LLC WILL NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY RESULTS,POTENTIAL INFECTIONS, OR LEGAL CONSEQUENCES IF YOU DECIDE TO REOPEN YOUR FACILITY/CAMPS/EVENTS BY OFFERING THESE SUGGESTED CLASSES.

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