About Unplug Illinois

In June 2014, the Illinois Park and Recreation Association embarked on a major initiative to develop a state-wide community awareness campaign to educate communities about the value of parks and recreation. “Unplug Illinois” was born. We are focused on the following objective: To raise visibility and awareness to the environmental sustainability, wellness and economic impact parks and recreation agencies have on the communities they serve.

 

What is it?

Designed with your needs in mind, the Unplug Illinois Transformation Kit is equipped to provide you with the resources, templates, tools and inspiration needed to communicate the value of parks and recreation through education and storytelling. In 2013, IPRA conducted fourteen focus groups from across the state in addition to a membership survey to find out what IPRA’s members needed the most. It was clearly evident throughout the state there was a dire need to have a vehicle to communicate the value of parks and recreation to our constituents. We needed something to bridge the proven disconnect between citizens and elected officials about the essentiality of parks and recreation. The end result – a major initiative between the University of Illinois and IPRA to develop a state-wide community awareness campaign to educate communities across the state about the value of parks and recreation. Plug in to the Unplug Community Campaign to discover how to recruit advocates for parks and recreation and how to customize your messages based on what you do best. How do you let the people in your community know…realtors in Illinois rank parks and recreation as one of the top three reasons to move to a community – usually only second to a school district. Home buyers want open space, recreational programs, facilities and a sense of community. The Unplug Illinois Transformation Kit provides pre-designed ads you can plug into your quarterly program guides – all you have to do is add your agency name in the fill-able areas!

We are focused on the following objective: To raise visibility and awareness to the environmental sustainability, wellness and economic impact parks and recreation agencies have on the communities they serve.

“Outdoor recreation accounted for $646 billion of user spending on gear, equipment, and trip-related expenses.” (Outdoor Industry Association)


Take full advantage of relevant stories and data designed to communicate how your park and recreation agency helps the environment by protecting our natural resources, preserving open space, protecting wildlife, and ultimately improving the quality of life for our residents.

Together we can create the paradigm shift parks and recreation occupies in the minds of elected officials, general public and practitioners relative to their perception of other services that compete for the same resources. Win your next referendum by utilizing “ready to use” facts outlining the benefits of parks and recreation with formulas for you to customize statistics specific to your community. Take full advantage of relevant stories and data designed to communicate how your park and recreation agency helps the environment by protecting our natural resources, preserving open space, protecting wildlife, and ultimately improving the quality of life for our residents. There’s even a training guide for staff orientations to nurture and build advocates within your own agency! Your new seasonal, part-time and full-time hires will equate being a public servant at your organization with skills that will last them a lifetime – building character, life skills and contributing to their own community. There is such an exhilarating challenge ahead of us – reshaping the face of our industry by communicating the value of parks and recreation to our constituents. The severity of losing funding and community support is trending throughout the nation. Unplug Illinois is more important than ever before. You owe it to your agency and your residents to learn more about this community awareness campaign and implement it within your community. Unplug Illinois can be reached at (708) 588-2280 or contact us!