We need your help in our effort to provide Vermonters more places to recreate. Legislation which would give schools protection from liability to open their facilities to the community for recreational use has stalled. Though we had some amazing testimony from supporters before the House Education Committee recently, the committee needs to hear from more Vermonters who want this legislation and schools whose concerns over liability may be preventing them from opening their doors to the community.
Here are some key facts. Please write letters to your local papers about this important issue!
- This legislation provides schools with a tool to open more recreational facilities to Vermonters and help Vermont reduce increasing obesity rates.
- It would remove barriers and perceived barriers for schools to open their buildings and grounds to the community for recreational purposes.
- Vermont schools want to be a community resource and have noted liability as one of their top concerns with opening their facilities to the public for recreation.
- Vermont wouldn’t be alone in addressing this issue – At least 13 states have passed legislation that meets AHA standards. 6 others are working to strengthen their laws.
We can help to address this by opening our schools’ facilities and grounds to communities for recreational activities and giving them the resources to do it by:
- Providing access to recreational facilities is critical for helping people be more active.
- School facilities can be an excellent resource for recreation and exercise where there is limited availability or private options are too expensive.
- Research shows that people who are able to easily access recreational facilities exercise 38% more than those without easy access.
- Having access to parks and recreational facilities is associated with lower body mass index among children and increased physical activity among adults.
- Vermont data shows there are significant disparities in access to parks and recreational facilities across Vermont.
- Franklin County, has a rate of 4 recreational facilities per 100,000 people. It also has a high rate of physical inactive adults – 25% get no physical activity and 29% are obese.
- In comparison, Washington County has a rate of 18 recreational facilities per 100,000 people. Rates of physical inactivity and adult obesity are comparatively lower --18% of adults get no physical activity and 22% of adults are obese.
- Providing schools liability protection to open their facilities to the public for recreation will help to level the playing field.
- Schools can offer a variety of safe facilities, including running tracks, pools, gymnasiums, fitness rooms, and playgrounds for Vermonters of all ages to use at little or no cost.
Click on the link below to take action on our alert: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=34254