Welcome back to the podcast, this is episode #8. Today, we are talking to Jo Burns, the co-founder of the Colorado Public Health/Parks & Recreation Collaborative. We talk all about the ways local parks and recreation agencies can partner with health organizations to improve the health of local communities.
Most everyone would agree that HEALTH is a vital part of your quality of life. When you get sick, if you have a chronic illness, when you are injured, you know that being healthy is something that we should be constantly grateful for.
As parks and recreation professionals, we also know that health means something a little different. Naturally, parks and rec facilities provide the safe places for people to improve their health for exercise, but we also now have the opportunity to partner with health organizations to create long lasting change. These partnerships can help expand health benefits to underserved populations, which can be powerful. In this episode, Jo talks about what local agencies can do to take steps towards building health into your core services.
Jo Burns is currently the Chief Connection and Collaboration Officer of Jo Burns Consulting and the Co-Founder for the Colorado Public Health/Parks & Recreation Collaborative. For the past 4 years Jo has been engaged in leadership and collaboration opportunities with parks, recreation and public health professionals. Jo spent 20 years working with people with disabilities and chronic illness in a variety of settings providing Therapeutic Recreation. Jo served as the Communications and Office Genius for Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. She has degrees in Business, Psychology and Recreation & Leisure, as well as earned a certificate from IU for Public Health and You. Jo’s favorite outdoor activities are hiking, skiing and volunteering at the Majestic View Nature Center.
Jo is Raising the Bar by:
- showing that small steps are actually big steps when it comes to improving the health of your community.
- simple conversations can have a ripple effect once we know who to talk to.
- tackling complex health issues with local leaders
I want this episode to be actionable for you, so I put a list of healthy initiatives that Jo mentioned.
Examples of healthy initiatives for parks and recreation:
- Making Healthier Food Options Available
- Safe Routes to Parks
- Vending for Food Choices
- Access to Parks
- Prescriptions for Health
- Access to Healthcare
- Limiting Sugary Drinks in Concession Stands & Vending Machines
- Physical therapy and/or Immunization clinics within fitness facilities
- Home exercise program / transition back to health
- Nutrition, Health, and Cooking Classes
- After school program collaborations
Raising the bar means realizing that parks and recreation truly is a key player in the world of health. -Jo Burns
Some Resources that Jo mentions:
Also, not mentioned but I should: GP RED is a nonprofit that is dedicated to research and education for professionals related to parks, recreation, health, and so much more. Check the website out for more info.