How to Start a Community Center
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Proposal for a La'ie Recreational and Community Center in the Ahupua'a o Malaekahana-City of Refuge, Gathering Place
Community recreation centers hold the key to a number of benefits that can enhance the quality of life in your community. Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or socioeconomic status, there are valuable programs at your local rec center for little to no cost.
Whether it’s fitness classes, hula dancing, afterschool programs, or job training, there’s something for everyone. However, to realize the great value of a community recreation center, a great investment must be made.
An investment of time, human, and financial resources. With many pressing needs faced by city leaders throughout the United States, it can be hard to make parks and recreation departments a priority. However, the benefits of doing so are far-reaching.
We would like to build a La’ie Recreational and Community Center
Using a new 50,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose building surrounded by baseball and football fields, on an existing 50 acre State-owned site with 10 acres of parking that will be designed by architects once all data that identifies the needs of the community are selected. 57 categories of interests have been identified for various programs to strengthen the community.
So that resources are used more effectively, all in one convenient place,
So that is it easier to connect with fellow community members,
So that the safety and well-being of children is improved,
So that the quality of life is improved for all.
Key Benefits for a Community Recreation Center
Stay Healthy Longer
Community recreation centers offer many programs that benefit both the body and mind. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have lower blood pressure, delayed onset of diabetes, lower heart disease rates, and overall increased longevity. Exercise also helps increase white blood cells and aids in strengthening your immune system.
The health benefits of recreation centers extend to children as well. According to the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), children who live close to multiple recreation centers were more physically active and less likely to be obese than children that did not have access to recreation centers.
The benefits of sports complexes not only help the body, but they also create a less-stressed mind. Stress greatly affects the community at large, and studies conducted in both the United States and Australia have found that people who participate in recreational activities are more resilient to stress and experience better mental health.
Recreation has a positive impact on happiness as well. A study in the Journal of Happiness Studies examined the results of over 23 studies dating back to 1980. The studies included over 500,000 people found that there were correlations between happiness and exercise.
Benefits to Families
Couples and families that play together tend to stay together. Family ties are improved by spending leisure time with each other. Recreation centers like the ones in Madison, WI, one of the nation’s best park systems, host family fun nights that provide activities including art projects and a bounce house.
Recreation centers also present opportunities for parents to model good health for their children. Research from the University of Cambridge indicates that for every minute of physical activity a mother engages in, her child is more likely to perform 10 percent more of that activity.
Reduce Crime Rates with Children
A critical benefit of community recreation centers is their impact on juvenile crime. According to a report by the NRPA, adolescences who don’t participate in afterschool activities are 27 percent more likely to be arrested. Drug use is 49 percent more likely among this group.
Recreation Centers Increase Property Value
Recreation centers as part of a park system are a driver of property value increases. According to a report by the University of Washington, homes within a quarter mile of a park are 10 percent more valuable on average. Recreation centers and parks are often viewed as a symbol of community pride and active recreation centers are chock full of activities that enhance the lives of those living around them.
Keep Your Employees Alert and Around
Employers can realize the power of recreation centers through their role in the health and wellness of employees. A great example of this can be found in Dallas, where their parks and recreation department provide programs such as weight training, yoga, and aerobics classes at a fraction of the cost of a standard gym.
Statistics show that engagement in these programs whether on a company or individual level can be an effective strategy for building a strong and productive workforce. A variety of studies have indicated that employees who exercise regularly used almost half as many absences as employees who did not engage in physical activity. Employees who had actively paid for membership for physical recreation are more alert on the job, faster learners, and perform better in their roles.
We often discuss the “recreation” part of community recreation centers, but rarely emphasize the “community” part of the term. Participating in group activities can help increase cohesion among members of a community. Many community recreation centers have programs that highlight diversity and educate community members.
Boost Your Students’ Performance
Recreation center programs can be a critical part of increasing the likelihood of achievement for students. A variety of studies indicate this, including ones done by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and The After-School Corporation, among others. After school programs can have positive impacts on classroom behavior, test scores, and reading and math achievement. After school programs have also been shown to enhance experiential learning.
Many sports complexes have included areas for after school childcare to keep kids out of an empty home while the parents are working. This time period, roughly between 3-6 pm, is a peak time for juvenile crime. According to a study by the YMCA of USA, teens who do not participate in after school programs are three times more likely to skip classes, experiment with drugs and alcohol, and be sexually active.
Additionally, recreation and sports facilities offer summer programs that can help further physical and mental growth in kids, which can benefit families tremendously.
Among the great of programs that offered at recreation centers throughout the country, ones that promote safety including CPR and first aid classes are among the most important. Many recreation centers offer swimming lessons for both children and adults at little cost along with classes on water safety. Additionally, recreation centers provide a meeting space for community members to discuss important issues such as crime prevention and disaster preparation.
Sports facilities, associated with larger recreation centers, can hold sports tournaments that can bring people from neighboring states. These visitors can help bring more revenue into a city a few times a year. Over time, these revenue increases have a tremendous impact on the economy of a community.
Throughout this article we’ve described a variety of benefits that can be realized with the presence of a recreation center in your community. However, these benefits can only be realized with a commitment from the community.
La'ie is unique in the world because it is known as a Spiritual Center, Learning Center and Cultural Center.
One component that could be added is a 'Sustainability/Historical/Peace/Fitness Center' with the addition of a unique Recreational and Community Center adapted for Hawaiians and International communities
With this addition, La'ie becomes an even more respected place for having developed 3 (potentially 4) high quality pillars of excellence in a place that was once considered barren and that was almost abandoned.
50+ Categories of Community Interests Hosted at La'ie Recreational & Community Center-Ideas
Aging/Seniors-Banquets, classes, info, Kupuna, storytelling to children, history lessons
Arts and Culture-Gallery, art classes, commission statue of La'ie-JFS prophecy with original Hawaiian families
Awards-Banquets for academics and athletics
Business-Business incubator, entrepreneur showcase, BYUH Business
Capital Funding-Meeting place for new businesses
Children-Day care, A+ after school program, BYUH School of Education, Bright Beginnings
College Scholarship-KHIS Scholar, based on Sterling Scholar
Community Services-Main office of La'ie Community Association
Conflict Resolution-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Coronavirus COVID-19-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Cultural-Room for hula halau, karate, judo, misc dance schools
Disabilities-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Disaster Relief-Emergency preparation, ham radio station, FEMA
Domestic Violence-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Economic Development-Craft and plant fairs, Rural Cooperative Development Centers
Elementary Education-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Environment-showcase and learning center of ancient and modern sustainable practices
Farming/Agriculture-Farmer's market, specialty dessert for circle island guests (i.e. shave ice, dole whip, etc)
Financial Assistance-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Health and Medical-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, free testing center
Higher Education-Pillars of Hope showcase of BYUH and PCC, Aloha Experiment film, BYUH SWATT team
History-Diorama displays of La'ie, Temple, BYUH, PCC, pioneers, ag land, touch screen films
HIV/AIDS-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, free testing center
Homeland & National Security-Shared office, communications, mini-police station, ham radio/internet, civil defense
Homeless-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Housing-Shared office, demonstration of portable low-income housing
International-Foreign student exchange info center, tourist stop (part of La'ie tour), East West Center
Justice & Juvenile Justice-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Literacy & Libraries-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Mental Health-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Minorities-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Municipalities-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Nonprofit Support Services-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, write grants for the community
Nutrition-Part of farmer's market, lectures by hospitals, provide a place for banquets/lu'aus
Other-Media Center such as Searider Foundation, David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Peacebuilding
Pets/Animal/Wildlife-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Preschool-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, small bike path, hands-on learning center
Preservation-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, bring old La'ie back to life with displays, recordings
Quality of Life-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Research & Evaluation-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Science-Dr. Baize's Science and Math Academy
Secondary Education-BYUH/KHIS Liaison, Job Shadowing, Mock Interviews, Apprenticeships
Small Business-Incubator, shared office
Special Education-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage, hosting apprenticeships
Sports & Recreation-Basketball, volleyball courts, baseball, ocean activity rentals, apparel
Students-Life Skills, Career Pathways
Substance Abuse-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Teachers-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Technology-Internet cafe, computer repair station, potential Searider Foundation Studio, Oceanic Community TV
Transportation-Bus stop, Tourist Motorcoach and van stop for tourists
Travel & Tourism-Bus stop for tourists, showcase history of community, Hukilau Lu'au - Roots of PCC
Veterans-Internet cafe, shared office, use of bulletin boards/digital signage
Women-Shared office and/or bulletin boards/digital signage
Youth/Out-of-School Youth-Internet cafe, free computers for Ko'olauloa students
50 acres of available state land
10 acres of existing parking
lighting for evening sports
soccer/rugby/football field track
banquet facility/outdoor lu'au facility
merrie monarch sized stage
locally made crafts
mini city and county satellitte?
kiosk for renewing vehicle registration
diorama displays showing history, art, culture of La'ie
huge aquaponics system
biggest assortment of native, endangered and rare Hawaiian plants
Hawaiian language learning center and library
Learning area for pre-school children
Host for virtual meetings
Hub for shared van rides
Suggestions for a La'ie Recreational & Community Center in the Ahupua'a o Malaekahana-City of Refuge, Gathering Place
The size of Hilo's Ho'oulu Park on the Big Island is about the size of Malaekahana's State Recreation Area.
Hilo's sport complex with includes the venue of the Merrie Monarch Competition.
Source Google Maps
Malaekahana's State Recreation Area is mostly used by Oahu's chronic homeless. It isn't a safe place to use or park.
Source Google Maps
It would be great if the main hall could be similar to Iolani's Innovation Center that Foodland donated. The glass windows could face the ocean. The 4 story interior is full of multi-purpose rooms.