For many years we enjoyed a booming industry as more people were participating in recreational programming. Then suddenly and without warning everything came to a grinding halt as COVID-19 not only swept the nation but the world. Many were left without direction and unsure how to safely operate programs for participants and staff. We researched local, state, and federal websites for answers, we looked to our legislatures for guidance, and we relied on one another for solutions.
In the early days of the pandemic our industry was turned upside down. For years we tried to get generations outdoors to play with one another, and now we were being told to do just the opposite. Throughout this last year many new online businesses were created, and we evolved with them. From COVID-19 awareness, to normal programs being offered online such as BINGO, to outdoor individual programming, we created new activities within our industry for our participants.
During the warmer months of 2020, consumers were looking for activities to help them stay occupied and healthy while maintaining social distancing. As a result of this, a number of outdoor activities have experienced growth; particularly, cycling, paddle sports, golf, camping, hiking, and bird-watching & nature sightings.
In the colder months we relied on more virtual programs on platforms such as Zoom. While our delivery has changed, our mission remained the same. We wanted to keep people engaged and having fun while reducing boredom and depression. Our knowledge and creativity has been tested like never before, and we have succeeded.
The past year has been challenging for us, and at times, depressing. However, being in the same boat together, has led to many success stories within our industry. Against all odds, many of us did open our pools and beaches, we were able to hold some in-person events, we grew better and better at offering virtual events, and we created many events that never existed before. In this ‘new normal’ ever changing world, we continue to adapt to the changes and challenges as we Re-Create the Way We Recreate.
“Where we’re going we don’t need roads”. ~ Dr. Emmett Brown