On April 23, the Kids in Parks program joined the National Park Service, National ParkRx initiative, and several other park prescription programs from across the country in celebrating the second annual National Park Rx Day. The annual ceremony takes place on the last day of National Park Week, and doctors nationwide prescribe the events to their patients to get them active outdoors and connect them with the health benefits associated with spending time in parks.
Because Kids in Parks has such a large network of TRACK Trails, and has partnered with more than 75 doctors to write prescriptions for their patient’s to participate in outdoor recreation, we wanted to have an large impact on the national celebration. So we hosted two events in North Carolina, and despite torrential downpours several kids and families joined their doctors for a guided hike. At each event, a doctor signed an oversized prescription pad, symbolically prescribing their patients and other attendees a hike with the ranger on the TRACK Trail.
One of the events in particular was extremely successful, with several doctors, nurses, and other staff meeting their practice’s patients at the trail for the hike. It was particularly exciting for the Kids in Parks staff to see the patient’s interacting with their healthcare providers outside of their healthcare facility, learning firsthand that spending time in nature is a fun way to improve their health.
An important lesson was learned as a result of our National Park Rx Day events: The impact that can be made when healthcare providers prescribe an outdoor adventure to their patients and then participate with them is a powerful recipe for success and sets a great example! As a result, the Kids in Parks program will be connecting our partnering TRACK Rx healthcare providers with our regional TRACK Trail site staffs to formalize more of these patient-doctor-ranger hikes. It should be a win-win-win for all involved!
If you would like to partner with your local healthcare provider to host a TRACK Trail hike, please contact Jason Urroz @ firstname.lastname@example.org.