parks make life better

Free-time fun
Neighborhood parks are an escape, a place to run around and play.

Socializing and learning
Parks are like holidays, bringing us together to share good times. They are the common ground that connects us all.

Valued today and always
Parks enrich our lives. They add value to our homes and neighborhoods. Individually and as a community, we'll always have that need.

Safe, outdoor space
For us, the biggest benefit is a safe, outdoor play space for our kids today...and as they grow.

Beauty and serenity
Being in nature makes one feel alive. We're very fortunate to have beautiful spaces so close to home.

Healthy movement
Parks are made for moving at your own pace. And, recreation programs make it easy to stay healthy.

An extensive research study asked California citizens and public officials “Why are parks important to you?” The research, sponsored by the California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS), a nonprofit, professional and public interest organization with more than 4,000 members, was used to develop the first-ever brand of the profession. “Parks Make Life Better!” is now being launched by CPRS members statewide, including West Side Recreation & Park District.

Overwhelmingly, survey respondents value parks and recreation as an essential community service. Virtually every California household (98%) reported visiting a park during the past year. Forty-two percent visited a park at least several days a week; 26% visited at least once a week, and 68% visited at least monthly. Of these, 55% go with spouse or partner, 53% with kids, 48% with family, 46% with a friend. Only 5% of the users indicated they go alone.

CPRS used the research findings to develop the first-ever brand promise and brand identity for parks and recreation. The brand promise incorporates the benefits Californians reported as most important; the many ways parks and recreation make their lives and communities better. Specifically, parks and recreation make life better now and in the future by providing:

Access to the serenity and inspiration of nature
Outdoor space to play and exercise
Facilities for self-directed and organized recreation
Positive alternatives for youth which help lower crime and mischief
Activities that facilitate social connections, human development, therapy, the arts and lifelong learning
In short, parks and recreation services make Californians’ lives better.

How does parks and recreation make your life better?

We held a Summer Facebook Contest in May-June 2011. To enter, we asked individuals to tell us how parks make (their) life better. Here are a few of the testimonials...

From Presley Golling:

Games of tag and hide and seek

Birthday parties, hunting eggs

Football practice and soccer too

There are always lots of things to do.

Parks are the best place to run and play,

Fun with friends on a sunny day.

Lay on the grass and watch the clouds

as they form into different shapes.

See the elephant, there's a boat

now sit back and watch them float.

Without parks life would be sad

Taft has some great ones and I am glad.

From Lachelle Farewell:
Parks make my life better because it gives my children a safe place to play. Playing at the park gives my children an area open to run, exercise, and meet new friends. Sometimes lifelong playmates can be made by meeting at the park. On a nice day we as a family can call our friends and cousins and have a picnic and play date at the park. Having celebrations at the park has been something I have personally enjoyed since I was a child. I had several birthday parties at "A" street and "Cop" park. Many years later my children have had the pleasure to go to birthday parties at several of the wonderful parks in Taft. I love going to parks even as a mother and a wife there is something still exciting about taking my kids to the park I often find my self racing to the top of the slide and going down as fast as I can.

From a 6-Year Old Park Lover:
A lot of times my mom and dad don’t have the money to take me to someplace special like Disneyland or some place like that so they say, “Let’s go to the park today!” They think I don’t know why they’re doing it and I don’t tell them because, really, I like going to the park. When we’re at the park, my parents see just me. I mean, it’s great to go to Magic Mountain. We went there once but we were so busy standing in line and trying to get to the next ride – I felt invisible. When we go to the park, I get all their attention. I ride my bike down the paths and they cheer when I make it all the way without wobbling. My dad pushes me on the swing. He doesn’t know that I can pump my legs but I don’t tell him because I like him to push me. My mom gets scared when I go up high on the playground equipment but I think it’s funny so I keep doing it. Later we cook hot dogs and drink cokes. I can’t believe how much better they taste when we cook them there. I guess I would like my family to be rich someday but I’m afraid if we are that my parents won’t remember how much fun we have at the park. They might think I would have a lot more fun if they took me to Disneyland, Magic Mountain or even someplace farther away. I guess I would like to go to those places too as long as they keep taking me to the park.