Inside many communities there stands one building. It can range from small to expansive, a bit outdated to highly state-of-the-art, or constantly bustling with excitement to fairly sparse on some days but no matter what citizens still cherish it all the same. The building at the heart of it all is none other than the local recreation center and if you’ve ever stepped inside one close to you and participated in the activities provided, it’s not difficult to understand why it’s such an integral part of community life.
A rec or community center can serve several purposes for the people inhabiting a surrounding neighborhood and because they cater to all ages, no one is left out. Depending on the location, buildings of this nature can vary in all that they offer to the greater public but generally speaking they provide activities related to physical fitness, the arts, child care and more. The list can go on and on. The truest service that rec centers supply, however, lies in the intangible because at their core, they function to improve the overall quality of life within a community.
To highlight just how other’s lives are made better thanks to the presence of rec centers we’re going to focus on these 3 specific standout benefits:
- The promotion of active lifestyles
- Creation of a space where community relationships can be cultivated
- Indirectly heightened value of neighboring areas
Promotion of active lifestyles
When you hear the words ‘rec center’, generally the first thing that comes to mind physical exercise. Pickup games of basketball, people running laps on an indoor track and maybe a handful choosing to lift weights. Without a doubt these are activities you’ll witness if you visit your nearest rec center and they are there for a good reason.
“By providing safe and adequately equipped spaces for physical activities like dance, martial arts, yoga, basketball, and other sports, community centers instill discipline, healthy exercise habits, and teamwork” . Even integrating a Sky Trail® or fun climbing walls into a rec center is still promoting the act of being physical and moving one’s body in a healthy manner. It is inside these local establishments where people become educated about the importance of their “physical wellbeing, mental health, and nutritional education” which they wouldn’t learn elsewhere depending on the state of the neighborhood .
Cultivating community relationships
If people aren’t improving their physical health, they’re commonly found retreating to the rec center to meet new people, participate in social clubs and learn from others. It isn’t just the older folks who choose to engage in provided activities either because if done right, “a well-run community center serves as a thriving hub of activity for youth, families, senior citizens, civic organizations, parks and recreation departments, and more” .
Forms of entertainment that involve team-building are also popular inside of rec centers and aid in bringing people together that out in the world if not part of each other’s daily routine at work or school, may never meet. Whether it’s a social activity performed by a group on the second level of a Sky Trail® or a community class in which a craft is constructed, “ensuring community youth” and others “have a healthy outlet for their creativity and energy is an important step towards long-term community improvement” .
Heightened value of neighboring areas
What goes on inside of the center itself is important in its own right but it’s also what begins to happen outdoors that is something remarkable. If a rec or community center is thriving and doing its best to enhance the lives of those living in the area, it isn’t uncommon for the actual value of neighborhood in which it is located to rise as “a quality recreation center is a valuable asset to any community” . When people have the space to connect and further better themselves be it physically, mentally or socially, it tends to translate to the surrounding area.
“By providing a popular destination for cultural, social, fitness and athletic activities, efficiently operated recreation centers make the communities that surround them more attractive” . Having a rec center or an inclusive community center available for all walks of life in a neighborhood yields positive results and whether you’re inside showing a racquetball court who’s boss or you live just down the street, it’s hard to deny the sheer power they hold.
Sources: Advisory, S. (2016, March 09). The Impact of Community Recreation Centers: SFA SFM. Retrieved from https://sportadvisory.com/the-positive-impact-of-community-recreation-centers/.