You may be familiar with the term “social cohesion” but you may not know exactly what it means. Social cohesion essentially refers to the connectedness and solidarity among groups in a community. This concept stems from the desire to create greater societal balance in such areas as health, education, income, and housing.
Parks and recreation agencies strive to foster social cohesiveness in our communities by providing equal access to its facilities, events, and programs to all people regardless of age, gender, background, ethnicity, or ability.
Here are just a few of the many ways your parks and recreation agencies are connecting our communities!
Strengthening Community & Advocacy
Parks and recreation spaces and programs have positive impacts on physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness by encouraging people to actively participate in activities that help them stay fit, shake off stress and clear their minds. In addition to these individual benefits, parks and recreation programs also help promote healthy communities. P&R events and activities help bring families, friends, and neighbors together and encourage them to not only become more involved in their community but also be more aware of its various needs. As once passive residents become active advocates for their community then the neighborhood will thrive. As positive word of mouth spreads, more people will want to join the community. When this happens, the result is a safer, cleaner, financially stable, and more inviting environment.
Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
Parks and recreation programs foster positive interactions and communications between children and adults in different groups. These activities and events help erase the feelings of anxiety and fear that may be experienced when unfamiliar groups of different backgrounds encounter each other in day-to-day life. When groups of people are participating in recreational activities, they are focused less on each other’s differences and more on the fun they’re enjoying. The more people from different groups and backgrounds enjoy parks and recreation activities and events together, the more likely they are to learn from each other and share their cultural experiences. By fostering diversity in its programs, P&R strives to break down barriers that separate various groups and promote unity.
Parks and recreation agencies are also dedicated to ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to participate in their community activities and events. Although parks and recreation activities are enjoyed by many children and adults, many seniors and persons with disabilities are often unable to participate in most physical activities. This lack of participation can sometimes leave them feeling dejected as well as put them at greater risk of physical, emotional, and mental health conditions. By adapting existing activities and introducing new programs that are age-appropriate and modified for individuals with disabilities, P&R agencies ensure that no one feels diminished or left out of their communities. These programs not only allow seniors and adults and children with disabilities to socialize and exercise, they also promote inclusivity, diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.
As you can see, parks and recreation programs are not only beneficial for individual health and wellness, they’re also vital for promoting a healthy, flourishing community that’s more diverse, and inclusive. Through parks and recreation programs, communities can focus less on their differences and embrace the common interests they share.