The New Epidemic: Youth Vaping and Smoking (Part 1)
By: Philip Harris, KDHE
Last year in the National Parks and Recreation Association' monthly magazine there was an article entitled the Youth Vaping Epidemic, perhaps you saw it. In case you missed it or want to know more; we present a four-part series on youth vaping and smoking in Kansas.
The term “vaping” refers to the use of e-cigarettes or vaporizers. These products have several nicknames which include e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens and mods, which are more powerful, customizable vaporizers. Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items. The most popular among these brands is JUUL, which sells an e-cigarette device that resembles a USB flash drive. These are battery-operated devices that release doses of vaporized nicotine, marijuana and other drugs that users inhale.
These products are not safe for adolescents. They often contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including nicotine which has addictive properties, formaldehyde and acrolein, heavy metals like lead, and volatile organic compounds. Though the aerosol released from e-cigarettes yield less chemicals than traditional cigarettes, that does not mean e-cigarettes are safe.
Health Effects Most e-cigarettes have nicotine, which has known negative health effects. Not only is nicotine highly addictive it also can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain other substances that can damage the body. This includes harmful cancer-causing agents.
EVALI an acronym that stands for, e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, is the name given by the CDC to the dangerous, newly identified lung disease linked to vaping that was first recognized in the fall of 2019. Though vitamin E acetate has been associated with this illness, there could be several other causes that are yet to be found. It is unclear how the condition develops or why, in the most severe cases it causes the lungs to just stop working. Kansas has had 24 confirmed or probable cases and 2 confirmed deaths related to this illness and 11/28 of cases are less than 24 years old.
E-cigarettes can also cause unintended injuries. Defective batteries have caused fires, explosions which have resulted in serious burns and injuries. Additionally, swallowing breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquids has poisoned children and adults.
For the most current information on e-cigarettes check out the CDCand join us in the next issue as we tackle the numbers around vaping. For a sneak peak check out our quick facts.
Kansas Department of Health and Environment Tobacco Use Prevention Program
This is your opportunity to serve as a leader in KRPA! The Kansas Recreation and Park Association is seeking candidates to serve on the 2021 KRPA Board of Directors in the following positions:
President-Elect (serves 3 years)
Member At Large- West (serves 3 years)
Member At Large- General (serves 3 years)
Each nominee must submit a completed Board Candidate form (see below) and send a digital photo (head shot) to Erika Devore at email@example.com no later than August 31, 2020. All applications will be reviewed by the KRPA Nominating Committee. Email Erika Devore if you have questions about serving on the board.
Qualifications to serve on the KRPA Board of Directors
President- Elect (Serves 3 Years) Must be a current voting member of the Association and currently work in a permanent position in the profession immediately prior to nomination. Must have had an elected position on the board and two years of active participation in the delivery of Association services and/or programs, or in the attainment of Association goals and objectives. This may include active service on a KRPA Committee or Task Force, or participation in the achievement or furtherance of a major initiative of the Association, such as legislatively. Must be available to serve for three years as an officer of the Association, one year in each of the following positions: President-Elect, President and Past-President. The President-Elect will serve as the KRPA Conference Planning Chair for the following year KRPA Conference.
Member At Large- West (Serves 3 Year Term) Must be a current voting member and currently work in a permanent position in the profession immediately prior to nomination. Shall require two years of active participation in the delivery of Association services and/or programs, or in the attainment of Association goals and objectives. This may include active service on a KRPA Committee or Task Force, or participation in the achievement or furtherance of a major initiative of the Association, such as legislatively Shall require a minimum of one-year as a voting member of KRPA and maintaining a recreation and/or parks position within the boundaries of the West Region.
Member At Large- General (Serves 3 Year Term) Must be a current voting member and currently work in a permanent position in the profession immediately prior to nomination. Shall require two years of active participation in the delivery of Association services and/or programs, or in the attainment of Association goals and objectives. This may include active service on a KRPA Committee or Task Force, or participation in the achievement or furtherance of a major initiative of the Association, such as legislatively.
Nomination Deadline: August 31, 2020
The 2020 KRPA Golf Tournament will be held Friday, August 21st at Quail Ridge Golf Course in Winfield. After being stuck at home for months, this event is a perfect opportunity for socializing, networking and reconnecting with other KRPA members and vendors. We hope the tournament will serve as a place where you can bring fellow area members, your staff and board members for a great time playing and meeting with other parks and recreation professionals in a fun and safe setting. For questions regarding this year's golf tournament, please contact Candi Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tournament Details:· $50/golfer or $200/team· Includes 18 holes of golf, range balls, carts fitted with GPS, two drink tickets, donuts, lunch and mulligans (beverages can be purchased in the clubhouse)· 4 person scramble format· Registration and Range opens at 8:00am· Shotgun start at 9:00am· Lunch will be ready after completion of your round
Submitted by KRPA Member, Susan Mong, Superintendent of Culture for JCPRD
We have all been there – one of the hardest parts of the parks and recreation field is responding to difficult members of the public. This rings especially true during this summer as we venture back into opening the state during a pandemic. If you haven’t already, you will probably come in contact with challenging parks and recreation users in the form of parents, swimmers, coaches, seniors, and many more who use your services. During COVID -19 and stay at home orders in combination with social distancing requirements, people’s behaviors and emotions have been tested and many people yearn for a sense of normalcy that it often found in the form of a kids baseball game, a walk around the park, playing a pickup game of basketball at the nearest community center, jumping in a pool, and getting in a quick workout over lunch at the fitness center.
During these periods, emotions may be heightened, and you may receive backlash from new policy’s your agency has put in place to protect your employees and the public themselves, including resistance to cancelling programs or closing the pool for the summer.
Susan Mong, Superintendent of Culture for JCPRD has a few reminders and a refresher for dealing with unhappy consumers during these tense times.
If your agency does not have one already, it is a good practice to have a Customer Service Plan or approach. The delivery of excellent customer service is a major factor in effectiveness and should be prioritized in your organization. Your customer service plan should include policies, procedures, and steps on dealing with patrons. Additionally, find a way to empower your employees to make decisions that can improve the situation immediately (i.e., vouchers, refunds, credits) to help diffuse the situation and avoid passing customer to another employee.
Step 1. Diffuse the Situation
All patrons are different, and this is especially true in parks and recreation as the industry serves many users in different branches. One of the first steps to diffuse the situation is to actively listen and seek to understand. Let them tell their story, why are they upset, what has been done thus far to lead them to this point. Often, people just want to have their frustrations heard. During this time, a good rule of thumb is to understand where the person is coming from in the form of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Maybe the patron is upset because summer camp is cancelled and they do not have alternative care, and this could threaten a person’s livelihood. Use your empathy to respond, what does that look like? Empathy is not conveyed through words alone. It is important that your body language reflects empathy as well. Tone of voice, eye contact, and offering your full attention are all steps you can take to help diffuse the situation to help the patron feel heard and understand.
Step 2. Engage
Engaging the person involves asking the right questions and listening to their answers. Sometimes the right thing to do is just agree with them (as appropriate) and find positive ways to talk about the issues and validating their feelings. For example, if a parent is upset about the new guidelines that are put in place for baseball, a positive spin could be that the guidelines were vetted by parks and recreation leaders and put in place to protect the players, coaches, umpires and the spectators.
During the engagement step, you will want to step away from the public setting and other people. Offer to talk in an office or meeting room. This will change the environment to allow for a more quiet and private conversation.
After listening to the person, you may want to offer choices, and ask open ended questions. It could be as simple as asking “what do you want us to do” or “how can we rectify the situation.” Here it could get tricky, as the new policies may not allow for accommodations during the pandemic. However, perhaps you could give a credit, voucher for next summer, or even a refund.
Lastly, if all else fails, it may be necessary to get your supervisor involved. If it comes down to this, do not pass the buck to your supervisor. Best practices involve talking with your supervisor about the situation before allowing them to walk in blind to a complaint.
Step 3. Take Action and Follow Up
After the initial dispute, and agreed solution, you will need to take action immediately. If you agreed on a credit or refund, plan on processing the transaction in a timely matter – within a day or two if possible. If the issue is resolved, follow up with the person, and give them your contact information for further questions if needed.
Step 4. Feedback
The last step is to avoid the situation from happening again. Discuss the feedback with your team, challenge your assumptions about what your current practices are to explore new solutions. This may involve a change in policies, procedures, or signage to fix the problem after it is identified. Maybe your staff needs to be empowered more to make decisions or correct a situation. Use each opportunity to strengthen your team and your organization.
Overall, during these periods of stressful times, it is most important to listen and be empathetic towards the patron. Listening with the intent to understand combined with positive body language can go a long way to diffuse a challenging situation. After you have heard their perspective or feedback, be sure and thank the patron for taking time to share their experience. We cannot improve or get better if we are not open to hearing negative feedback. “I am sorry” are three very powerful words. This does not have to convey fault, but it can convey that we missed the mark with that individual on that day at that time and that can go a long way to build bridges and build a new advocate in the community.
I miss my favorite workout class but is it safe to return to it? Will it be safe for my child and family if I send my kid to a summer camp? My child can’t wait to play baseball, but is it wise to expose him and our family to a large group setting again? These are just a few thoughts that your patrons and possibly you have had in the last few weeks when thinking about the reopening process. The idea that our lives might have some options outside of the home is exciting, but there are still underlying hesitations when people think about jumping back into events.
So, how do you market these events? What do you need to do to make people feel safe enough to come out and play again? SHOW THEM! Your patrons want to not just hear what you are planning to do to keep them safe, they want to see it. People want to know and see what they are going encounter when they return to their favorite events and places. How do you do that?
- Take time to create short videos or take pictures of what specific steps you are taking to follow the health and safety measures suggested by your local and state government.
- Video and post on social media a training that your agency holds for your staff about sanitation processes.
- Take a short clip interviewing a summer camp staff member or umpire verbalizing their excitement for their event and also what they will do to keep the kids healthy and safe.
- Prepare your staff and front-line workers with extra customer service skills to answer questions about the new procedures. Prepare them for anxious patrons who want to join in your programs but might still have underlying fears which may come out in anger or frustration.
- When you reopen, have extra staff available to talk and walk people through what the new procedures will be. Your patrons do not want to guess about what they should do when walking into your facilities.
We’re in this together. Please visit the Locker Room and share what marketing you are doing to reopen your programs and ask your questions. Here is a link to a reopening marketing discussion thread in the forum to share your examples or questions. #StrongerTogether
We want to send a huge thank you to the KRPA reopening guidelines task force. They have worked very hard in a short amount of time in the last few days. Attached you will find our updated guidelines.
Please always refer to our website for the most updated version of the guidelines.
KRPA Support Guidelines 6.01.20.pdf (June 1, 2020)
Submitted by KRPA member, Troy Houtman, Wichita Park and Recreation
Some organizations emerge from a crisis stronger and more ready to thrive than they were before the crisis arrived. The big differentiator that separates them from companies that falter is people – how their leaders empathize, engage, motivate, and capitalize on their talents and knowledge in the face of adversity. Even more so is communication!
The critical first step is making sure people don’t jump on the “freak-out train” of doom, gloom, and complete helplessness. This train’s last stop is Catastrophe City, where we view today’s health crisis and economic plunge as being worse than they are or worse than they’re projected to be. In Catastrophe City, people feel powerless to change what’s happening. But this is rarely true.
So what can organizations do to turn adversity into an advantage during times of unprecedented uncertainty?
As leaders, we need to ask ourselves questions. Am I defining reality and creating hope in this unprecedented environment of challenge and change? Am I helping my people become the change agents we need so we can be successful in difficult times? And do they truly know the score so they can actively engage in improving the situation?
On top of all this, the great philosopher Winnie-the-Pooh has a few words worthy of sharing with your people that are more relevant now than ever: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Stay Safe and Healthy!
We remodeled! Many people are taking time during the quarantine to do housekeeping projects and remodeling jobs while they are at home. KRPA has done some remodeling too! The KRPA Discussion Forum, The Locker Room, has received an update. Go to the KRPA website and log-in. Then click on the Locker Room button in the top right corner.
The Locker Room update does not change much for you. The discussion forum looks the same, is still available 24/7 through our website, and can be accessed with your member sign-in information. You can still post and reply, add pictures, documents, websites, etc.
How is the forum update different?
You might be asking "why the changes?" KRPA takes much pride in serving you. We believe this service is extremely important for our member engagement, but we also want to be financially responsible. After some investigating, we found resources to provide this service to you while also cutting out a large amount of cost for our budget. As the economy recovers and the COVID-19 situation slow downs, we will be adding the extra features (like reactions and badges) back into the system.
A few reminders:
-Please remember to go to your profile, edit profile and your notification preference to get email notification when a new discussion is started.
- If you have never logged into the Locker Room before, you will need to click log-in and then "forgot password." It will walk you through resetting your password.
3. If you had bookmarked the old website, please change it to krpaforum.org.
If you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to reach out to Jamie Reed.
Keep leaning into each other with your questions or resources. We are stronger together.
The Governor asked KRPA to create a reopening plan for parks and recreation most of which she included in her state reopening plan announced April 30th. The recovery plan task force has been working long hours to create the plan and give guidance to our members.
Detailed guidelines to open each area in the plan will be sent later this week or early next week.
Please remember this is a living document so we will update it as circumstances change. The latest version will be hosted on our website.
We would like to thank our recovery plan task force.
For the last several years, Parks & Recreation departments across the United States have struggled to find the ideal balance of time and space utilization for sports and recreation programming. On one hand, the need to increase activity levels for children – regardless of skill or aspiration level – has never been greater. On the other, the demand from competitive programs catering to players at the upper end of the skill and/or income spectrum has never been higher.
In most communities and on the national average, competitive programs have taken over. High-level players are participating in year-round programs that are granted the most desirable times at the most desirable locations, leaving less and less time for introductory and recreational programs. As a result, children whose health and social skills would benefit most from regular activity are losing the chance to play regularly and reap the benefits of consistent activity.
Countless statistics demonstrate this trend, but here is the one data point you should be most concerned about: the United States has a higher percent of overweight/obese children between the ages of 6-17 than almost any other peer country; nearly 40% of girls and 35% of boys in our country are overweight or obese. That puts us in “last place” compared to Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and nearly every other first world county.
The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted the sports and recreation industry. Leagues have paused, tournaments have been cancelled, and – in many cases – service providers have shut down and will not return. It would be easy, and perhaps even natural, to panic. It would be equally easy to be complacent and assume that as our country rebounds the recent participation and activity trends will continue.
Instead of either of those, I encourage you to view this as an opportunity to regain your ideal balance. There is nothing inherently wrong with competitive programs and high-level players seeking extra time to improve. In fact, that is healthy and should be encouraged. But there is also nothing wrong with dedicating more time and space to kids who just need to learn to play, to benefit from activity, and to grow from positive adult and peer interactions. In fact, it is critical.
As a Parks & Recreation leader in your community, you now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a lasting impact on the health of your community by improving access to recreational programs and providing space and time for every child to play. What will you do with your opportunity?
Author: Evan Eleff is the COO of Sports Facilities Advisory, LLC (SFA) and a Partner in all of the SF Companies. He has led sports and recreation planning, funding, development, and management initiatives in over 1,600 communities around the world and is one of the United States’ leaders and foremost experts in improving the health and economic vitality of communities through sports and recreation.
PO Box 1283
Lawrence, KS 66044