Recreation Centers become more accessible and welcoming with consistent drop-in activity.
This year, rather than rely solely on our Rec Check No-School Day program, work teams strategized to offer unified open gym activities across the city, in addition to hosting Basketball Showcase events for youth and adult men and women, at Frogtown, Arlington and Oxford/Jimmy Lee.
This approach generated a lot of positive results and feedback. It is estimated that the drop-in activity over the course of four days over MEA weekend brought more than 4,000 users into recreation center spaces. That does not factor in Rec Check No School Day programs, fee-based activities or any unstructured outdoor use.
Navigating out of covid, this is really encouraging. This work provides safe spaces and program opportunities for young people during non-school time.
Recreation Centers are heading in a direction that focuses on making spaces more accessible and welcoming to all members of the community by offering consistent drop-in activity. We’ll also continue the work of identifying Community Connectors that will help bring new participants and programs into our buildings.
Here is an overview of some our recent work:
- Frogtown, Arlington and Oxford/Jimmy Lee hosted MEA Showcase Basketball, working in tandem with high school basketball coaches and various community partners. These events were meant to be community builders and help reintroduce people to our spaces, while giving young people and adults a platform via basketball.
- Palace Community Center hosted an awesome Halloween Party last Friday evening, welcoming over 400 visitors.
- Playoffs for Tackle Football took place this past Saturday at Griffin Stadium, with championship weekend coming this Saturday.
- We recently hosted our first ever Madden E-Sports video game Tournament, with participants from multiple centers. Arlington Hills Community Center emerged victorious and brought a PlayStation 5 back to their building.
- Our Citywide work unit wrapped up their Scary Movie in the Park Series, hosting 5 movies across the city, with a cumulative attendance of over 1,000 people. This work unit also started their after-school programs at John A. Johnson and Cherokee Heights, serving over 75 students.
- Asha Shoffner recently hosted an overnight camping experience for black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) participants, with many experiencing camping for the first time. The fact that 50% of participants in these programs are from outside the city emphasize the demand for BIPOC focused outdoor experiences.
(Edited from notes provided by Andy Rodriguez, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Recreation Services Manager)