Park Hop

Evaluating of an inter-agency collaboration to promote park visitation and physical activity among youth in Greenville County, South Carolina 

Summary

park-hopper-for-graphic-cowPark Hop is a summer-long scavenger hunt developed in partnership between LiveWell Greenville (LWG) and the 7 local parks and recreation agencies throughout Greenville County, South Carolina.  Each summer, Park Hop includes activity promoting clues at 19 parks and recreation venues throughout the county. At the end of the summer, youth turn in their passports via a Park Hop paper passport or the Park Hop mobile scavenger hunt app in hopes to win activity-themed prizes from local organizations that support active living. Park Hop is an initiative that is geared toward one of LWG’s central goals of helping residents to discover fun ways to become more active by utilizing existing amenities in their community. The BEACH Lab has been working with LWG to evaluate Park Hop each year in order to help this program grow and encourage youth to discover new parks in our community, get outside, and, most importantly, be active!

The overall purpose of Park Hop is to: 1) increase park awareness and discovery, 2) increase park-based physical activity, and 3) create an annual tradition for all Greenville County residents to enjoy. 

Park Hop Evaluation has been funded by University of South Carolina Office of Research and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Community Health.

LiveWell Greenville & At Play Workgroup lwg_logo

LiveWell Greenville (LWG) is a network of organizations partnering to “make the healthy choice the easy choice” for all Greenville County, SC residents through healthy eating and active living policy, systems, and environmental changes. LWG supports initiatives in a number of community settings including recreation and play. The LWG At Play workgroup supports the growth and maintenance of our public parks and trails systems to promote accessibility to safe, convenient places to be physically active.

Park Hop Evaluation

There are several methods that have been used over the past four years to evaluate the effectiveness, satisfaction, and overall perceptions and attitudes of Park Hop participants. The main method used is an online survey which is administered to all families that sign up at the beginning of Park Hop (May) as well as a follow-up survey administered to all participating families at the end of Park Hop (August). By using a pre-parkhopand post survey, we are able to match these surveys and examine whether there were changes in the following as a result of Park Hop:

  • Number of newly discovered parks
  • Park use
  • Park-based physical activity
  • Perceptions of parks and park quality across Greenville County

These surveys also allow us to capture the overall satisfaction that participants have regarding Park Hop and provide an outlet for families to provide open-ended, detailed feedback regarding their positive experiences and aspects of the program that could be improved. Surveys have been administered each summer for years 2013-2016.

In addition, in 2014, we were able to complete direct observation of park users in a select number of Park Hop parks to examine whether there was an increased number of park visitors as a result of being a Park Hop location. Furthermore, in 2015, we conducted two focus groups – one with parents and one with youth – to understand more in-depth perspectives regarding Park Hop.

Conferences  & Publications

As a result of this collaborative workgroup and evaluation team, we have had the opportunity to share this innovative program and results in several different academic and professional outlets.

Conferences

  • Hughey, S.M., & Gilrain, T. (2016, September). Increasing youth recreation and play opportunities through two innovative parks and recreation programs in Greenville, SC. Presented at the South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association 71st Annual Conference, Greenville, SC.
  • King, S., Hughey, S.M. (2016, April). What’s AT PLAY for Park Hop? Presented at the Furman Engaged Undergraduate Research Day.
  • Toto, M., Mutchler, E., & Hughey, S.M. (2016, April). Park Hop: Interagency collaboration to promote park visitation and physical activity among youth in Greenville County, SC. Presented at the Furman Engaged Undergraduate Research Day.
  • Hughey, S.M., Toto, M., Mutschler, E., Fair, M. & At Play Workgroup. (2016, April). Playing in the park! A coalition workgroup’s efforts to increase youth play opportunities throughout Greenville County, South Carolina. Presented at the U.S. Play Coalition Conference, Clemson, SC 
  • Fair, M.L., Kaczynski, A.T., Hughey, S.M., Besenyi, G.M., & Powers, A.R. (2016, February). Evaluation of a youth-focused initiative to facilitate park usage, discovery and physical activity in Greenville County, SC. Presented at the Active Living Research Annual Conference, Clearwater, FL.
  • Mutschler, E., Toto, M., Hughey, M., Fair, M., Chernati, D., Powers, A., & Wills, S. (2015, October). Park Hop program description and evaluation. Presented at the 12th Annual South Carolina Obesity Summit, Columbia, SC.

 Publications

 Project Team

For more information about the evaluation of Park Hop, feel free to contact us:

Andrew Kaczynski, PhD
University of South Carolina
atkaczyn@mailbox.sc.edu

Morgan Hughey, MPH
University of South Carolina
morganhughey@gmail.com

Melissa Fair, MPH
University of South Carolina
mfair@livewellgreenville.org

Sarah King
University of South Carolina
sarahbking1216@gmail.com