MEEKER | The three foundational pillars of the public parks and recreation industry include: health and wellness, conservation, and social equity. The first two pillars are intuitively understood; we can probably all articulate the myriad benefits of robust physical fitness and healthy social activity opportunities, as well as the underlying value of the responsible preservation of public land and resources. ERBM always has a lot going on in these areas with comprehensive programming and events, such as this upcoming winter season’s Breakfast with Santa, Holiday Social, Ice Fishing, Tumbling and Dance Expo, Cardboard Derby and more, as well as the ongoing care and upkeep of our local parks and facilities.
The third pillar, social equity, is a little more ambiguous as we each bring our own individual opinions and cultural preferences to the conversation around what constitutes civil justice or fairness. The National Recreation and Parks Association states broadly that “all people, no matter the color of their skin, age, income level or ability should have access to programs, facilities, places and spaces that make their lives and communities great.” We agree with this equity ethic here at ERBM and have been working diligently to ensure that our programs and facilities are universally accessible to all members of and visitors to our unique community.
ERBM invests into this area of social equity by providing reduced rate and scholarship assistance to promote access to district activities and services for all individuals and families who may have a need. Partnering on facility and program access with service agencies like the county departments of Public Health and Human Services, Mind Springs Health, and Horizons Specialized Services helps ERBM reach underserved individuals. Likewise, affordability and value for all continues to be a long term commitment of the ERBM Board of Directors, which is why we’re excited to offer the annual 50 percent off blitz pricing, available the first two weeks of January, for annual memberships at the Meeker Recreation Center for the 11th straight year!
ERBM is constantly exploring and implementing strategies to make our park and recreation system as accessible and inclusive as possible. For instance, just this year alone parks and facility operations staff have completed exhaustive accessibility audits and improvements at all district maintained areas while recreation department staff are developing procedures to ensure that any programming or facility participant accommodation requests are processed in a thorough and professional manner.
If you or someone you know has ideas on how ERBM can positively promote social equity we’d love to hear from you, as it really is our collective pledge to provide open, impartial and unbiased recreational, cultural and outdoor experiences here in eastern Rio Blanco County.
We hope you and your family have a great holiday season and New Year, and remember to blitz on over to MRC and get going for 2019!
By Sean VonRoenn | ERBM Executive Director