by Troy Ward Recreation: noun 1. Refreshment by means of some pastime, agreeable exercise, or the like. 2. A pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment. Recreation is about experiencing connection. When we participate in recreation, our bodies are able to connect with something and disconnect from other things. If you are riding your bike you might be connecting with the trail, or maybe you’re in tune with how your suspension is absorbing the bumps. While swimming laps in the pool, you might be hyper-focused on your breathing or perfecting your stroke as you move through the water. During yoga you could be focusing on your breathing – the movement – and quieting your brain. Recreation is about connecting with people. When we choose to participate in activities with others, the people and the experience are forever intertwined. Think about some of these experiences… laughing with friends while trying to play disc golf… the first time you and a friend summitted a mountain… the fun times with friends on a wine tour… who you were with when you completed the Rim Trail… the group that tried paddle boarding for the first time… those times hunting or fishing with your grandad… or the first picnic with your child. Recreation is about connecting with a place. The location where the recreation takes place also has a lasting impact on our lives. Remember when you were a kid, those trips to the public pool… the porch swing at grandma’s house… Easter egg hunts in the park… the first time you floated the river in a tube… that favorite camping spot and all those s’mores that were made on the campfire. Those are all memories of a place, an activity, and the people that were sharing that experience with us. Recreation has a tremendous role in our overall happiness and that happiness is rooted in the connections that it provides. We as humans crave connection. The term social capital gives us a way to think about the importance of these connections on ourselves and our community. Social capital can be defined as: the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. The stronger the level of social capital, the stronger the individual and the stronger the community. Being connected to our neighbors and our community is very important to our overall happiness. Even in the old west, neighbors and community came together to help raise a barn, pick crops, brand cows, to celebrate the good and comfort during the hard times. Connection is the key. Here in Palisade, we are working on providing more opportunities to connect through recreation. We want to capitalize on the unique opportunities for recreation that Palisade and its surrounding area can offer. Our hope is to bring people together, have fun, and form lasting connections. Now let’s get out of the house and go play! Troy Ward is the Events and Programs Coordinator for the Town of Palisade.