trendSCAN - May 2020

trendSCAN May 2020


In this version:

  • Day Camps Can Save The Summer.
  • Signs of the Times
  • Return of Free Play
  • Study of Disruption
  • People’s Perceptions of Today’s Risks
  • Competition Warms Up for Sports Fans
  • Nine Things Local Government Should Do



Day Camps Can Save The Summer.

Whose  summer will you be saving?  The local ECONOMY struggling to make its way back.  Working and single PARENTS who need affordable, quality childcare in order to return to work AND of course the CHILDREN.

We need to make a newly designed  version of day camps so businesses can reopen with parents who are secure that their children are being well taken care of and children get the play and socialization they so desperately need.


Work creatively and cooperatively with all members of the community, public, nonprofit, private, and commercial. 

The very FIRST REQUIREMENTS  as outlined by the CDC are

  • Your community has reached low levels for covid virus
  • Decision made in conjunction with local public health officials


The purpose of these day camps is to accommodate as many families as possible.  The greater the improvement to the local economy relates to how many parents can find childcare.  Since it will likely be challenging to accommodate all the needs consider some of the following:

  • Possibly reduce the age of campers and have a 4 and 5-year-old camp and a 6 to 10-year-old camp.
  • Contact your local Ys, Boys and Girls Clubs, church camps, etc. and see how you can help them expand their enrollments or ability to operate camps this season.
  • Spread the news as widely as possible especially reaching out to communities who often do not get the word.
  • Remind decision-makers and potential funders that this is a 3 Way Win – The Economy – Childcare for Working Parents – and Healthy Children over the summer.

Additional Concerns and Changes

Space. Social distancing requires more space and when you stop to think about it there is plenty of public space available in most all neighborhoods.  Cooperate with your school district regardless of what your previous relationships has been (good or not so good).  This taxpayer enterprise likely has the most available space in your community.  Opening up neighborhood elementary and middle schools will be key to this effort.  There are other spaces in a community as well.  Just ask.  If they are reluctant participants in an important community effort, offer to find sources to pay for cleaning and disinfecting.

Remember there very well may be double or triple the number of camp programs due to space requirements and increased demand.

Food. Schools are usually the best equipped with facilities to serve large groups of people and often have the connection with federal meals programs to make this happen.  But wherever your camps end up, be sure you utilize federal resources for the summer feeding programs.

Religious and non-religious non-profits and civic groups are also good sources for meal and snack preparation and distribution.

Staff.  Now this is likely one of your bigger challenges after you get the space allocation settled. Since there will be more locations and likely smaller groups of campers you will likely require more staff for oversight. 

How to solve this dilemma?  If possible, see if you can secure one credentialled adult for each site, an experienced teacher or recreation professional.  And then assuming you still have funding for summer staff hire as usual OR without funding see if there are individuals or businesses who are willing to sponsor a staff person for the summer OR a grant contributing to staff salaries from the local Chamber of Commerce.  Remember, first and foremost this is a boon to a recovering economy. 

The summer part-time staff you had intended to hire will be a good number two person (depending upon the size of location and number of campers). 

Do not forget the teens and high school students; many of them who will be unable to secure employment this summer are possibilities.  Put together a training program for them and have them work under the supervision of more experienced staff.  Consider incentives for them:  job references for college or employment in the future; socially distanced pizza parties or mini-concerts every two weeks. 

Fees.  Nonprofits have always fund-raised to provide scholarships for needy children.  Public day camps usually provide free or reduced funding for lower income children.  AND you can also have a sliding scale of fees and/or ask for a donation from parents or employers.

Timing.   The CDC recommends staggered drop-off and pick-up times.  This may in fact work well for various working situations as some parents, especially first responders, may need to be in earlier in the morning than the 9 to 5 work force.  Some parents who work evening shifts would appreciate some hours of care so they can sleep and regroup before returning to work at night possibly picking children at 3 or 4 p.m.

Safety.  The Centers for Disease Control has published guidelines for just about every aspect of life and have done so for camps.  The specifics of the guidelines will not be listed here but can be secured at the CDC web site under recommendations for camp.

 Some of the recommendations include:  staggered drop off and pickup times; campers staying in the same small group throughout their time in camp; priority for outdoor activities; practice handwashing, masks, etc. six feet apart; have children eat in their groups with all throw away plates and utensils; reduce access to shared supplies and equipment; and of course, cleaning and disinfecting. 

What are other agencies doing

Some departments are foregoing day camps all together; a serious error in judgment if you want to be considered essential.  In San Francisco, they are using their smaller parks for reduced numbers of children from the same geographic area.  In Tampa, FL, they are offering camps through a lottery system which will leave some families without support.

Step Up and Be Essential



Signs of the Times

The Virus by Demographics.  Among adults who are 18 years old and older, African-Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians are dying in disproportionally high levels. The proportions of deaths from COVID-19 among African-Americans is double their population representation in all adult age brackets.

Unemployment by Demographics.  Hispanics are nearly twice as likely as whites to have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus shutdowns (Washington Post-Ipsos  Poll)  The poll found that 20% of Hispanic adults and 16%  of blacks report being laid off or furloughed since the virus. This compares with 11% of whites and 12% of workers of other races."

Source of Funds for Unemployment.  California Is first state to borrow from Federal Government to make unemployment payments

Morning Brew reports the following:

  • Airbnbis laying off a quarter of its employees as it braces for a revenue drop to 50% of 2019 levels. 
  • Starbucksexpects to open 85% of its U.S. stores by end of May
  • S. household debtincreased to a record $14.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2020. 
  • Pickup trucksoutsold sedans in the U.S. for the first time ever in April.

Teenage Losses.  Not being able to attend school creates a loss for teenagers in particular but the type of loss may differ along socio-economic lines.  It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and racial minorities, and some students will experience significant learning losses . At the same time, some previously overscheduled and sleep-deprived students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress around schoolwork, and more time for simple activities like reading, spending time outdoors or having dinner as a family. (The New York Times)

Leaving Cities.  According to new data from a Harris Poll, nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas due to the pandemic experience.



Return of Free Play

A positive outcome of the shutdown is the increase in “free play”.

In a special report by Kendall Baker and Jeff Tracy for Axios AM on youth sports, the authors suggest that youth sports will lessen its emphasis upon skyrocketing costs, dealing with participation declines, the rise of frequent specialization, private coaching, out-of-state travel and the world of pay-to-play leagues and mega-complexes

Observations include:

  • Families are being active together.
  • Kids are riding bikes and running more.

These conditions may actually helps increase the idea that sports equal "organized play," and ultimately create a future where free play has a bigger role.

Like many aspects of life and society, the bigger picture is which youth sports model will emerge from this pandemic. 

  • Does this crisis simply widen the gap between those who can afford to pay for travel teams and those who cannot?
  • Will it lead to a hard reset that brings about fundamental change and makes youth sports more inclusive?

The bottom line: COVID-19 has placed youth sports at a crossroads, and this forced hiatus gives us a chance to examine the state of industry and what it might look like when this crises wanes.

Special Note:  The complete special report includes the history of the development and expansion of youth sports and is of interest to those associated with youth and recreation.

(Axios AM, 5/12/20)



People’s Perceptions of Today’s Risks

What are people saying and thinking about how they perceive life changes on their behavior based upon the virus.  A recent survey found

  • 64% say returning to their pre-coronavirus lives would be a large or moderate risk; just 30% say that's worth the risk right now.
  • 63% consider airplane travel or mass transit to be a large risk; down from 73% a month ago.
  • Nine in 10 say they're still social distancing, but just 36% say they're self-quarantining; down from a peak of 55% in Week 4.
  • 32% say they've visited family or friends in the past week, the highest share in seven weeks.
  • About one-third indicated they know someone who tested positive for COVID 19

Source:  Axios-Ipsos survey.



Study of the Great Disruption

The director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication, Jeffrey Cole, indicates that it likely we will refer to this time of living with the pandemic as BC (before corona).  The pandemic which is a combined public health emergency and economic crisis leads to the types of disruptions in life that will likely result in significant changes before the virus. This great event of our time creates an unprecedented disruption in our lives and the way of life of our society. 

Working with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Center for the Digital Future started a project called the Coronavirus Disruption Program that surveyed a representative sample of Americans to determine how they are living and coping with these changes due to the pandemic. 

The findings suggestion that many of our coping mechanism will likely become accepted practices of normal when the threat of the pandemic concludes. Ten areas where the outbreak is likely to have permanent effects on our personal, professional and cultural lives suggested from the survey’s findings include:

Working from home

Almost overnight millions of workers began telecommuting and many of them like this change from going to the office.

  • 42% of survey participants said the experience has made them want to work from home more.
  • 61% of those who are teleworking said they are enjoying the relaxed attire and grooming standards, greater flexibility, and lack of a commute
  • 78% said they are as effective or more so working from home.

This shift may work for employers as well.  Nearly three-quarters of corporate finance officials surveyed in late March by Gartner, a business research and consulting firm, said their companies plan to move at least 5% of on-site workers to permanent remote status as part of their post-COVID cost-cutting efforts.

Doctors’ Visits

survey conducted last year by the University of Michigan's National Poll on Healthy Aging  found that only 4% of people over 50 had seen a doctor virtually in the previous year. More than half did not know whether their doctor even offered video visits. Patients and practitioners alike were interested in telemedicine, according to Preeti Malani, an infectious disease specialist at the university and the poll's director.

 This is a speed of light change. Doctors and patients who previously might have considered telehealth only in limited circumstances, such as an illness or a routine post-op chat, are now seeing that a wider range of services can be provided virtually. Along with cutting out hassles like parking and waiting-room time, video visits make it easier for family members to observe and participate, a real plus for caregivers.

"There was a lot of interest in trying to move telehealth and to really think about it carefully and try to encourage it,” Malani says.  Most people felt like it was a year or two away, and it never would have replaced situations such as the office visit it has replaced. However, necessity, moves things along fast.

Shopping for groceries

It's no surprise that the online purchase and home delivery of groceries has surged amid coronavirus lockdowns.

  • A March 2020 survey of more than 1,500 consumers by investment firm RBC Capital Markets found that currently 55% had shopped for groceries online, compared with 36% in a similar poll in late 2018.
  • The number doing so weekly nearly doubled.
  • Downloads of apps for delivery services like Instacart, Walmart Grocery and Peapod doubled, tripled and even quadrupled in just a month.
  • More than half of those who purchased groceries online said the COVID crisis made them more likely to keep doing so permanently.
  • Among those who shopped only at stores, 41% said they planned to try delivery in the next six months.

Staying in touch

Zoom happy hours. Facebook Live watch parties and online visits with friends and family  One key finding of the Coronavirus Disruption Project is that while the pandemic has moved our social lives online, people report that their relationships with relatives, friends and coworkers have not suffered.

That doesn't mean we won't go back to getting drinks with friends.  However, the whole idea of how we interact and  socialize has really been affected greatly Cole says, especially for the many older Americans new to video tools to stay in touch.

Zoom and videoconferencing are a plus, but it doesn’t connect people as well as face to face. But it does not take the place or the real thing.

Wearing face masks

Wearing masks to stem contagion has long been commonplace in many Asian countries and some Asian American communities. With COVID-19, it's taken hold among the larger U.S. public and in some areas with the mandate of federal, state, and local officials. Robert Kahn, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, expects it to stay that way.

"This is the kind of event that will lead to a sea change in mask wearing,” says Kahn, who has studied American attitudes and stigmas about public face-covering. While “it's never going to be a majority phenomenon,” he predicts the practice will become a way of life in some settings and situations such as  in dense urban areas.

"Masks aren't personal protective devices, they're social protective devices,” Kahn says. “Everybody knows someone who is immunocompromised or has some of the COVID risk factors, and I think that leads to a sense of, when you go outside you might want to wear a mask.

Going to the movies

The movies have been experiencing decades of decline due to the ability to watch recent releases at home and the rise of streaming industries like Netflix and Amazon Prime.  The even shorter windows between when recent releases went from the big screen to the smaller screens is a big factor as well.  Cold believes that post-pandemic, movies will be one of the slowest things to return” and cinemas will close in droves.

Traveling by air

Don’t expect fares, route options, airline choice and other aspects of flying to return to business as usual .  According to Gary Leff, author of  Influential Air.  “There will be differences to expect in both the airport and on the airplane. Some of those changes will include:

  • Return to deep cleaning of planes
  • Airports will make room for distancing in lines
  • Some airlines will require masks for crew and passengers

Leff says, and “it will be hard for airport security to roll back their willingness to allow larger hand sanitizer bottles through the checkpoint."

Riding public transportation

The pandemic has put public transit systems in the unenviable position of urging people not to use them unless absolutely necessary. Coming back from that will be difficult and will involve dramatic changes in how transit agencies operate according to David Zipper, a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Taubman Center for State and Local Government.  Some of these changes may include:

  • Use of UV lights
  • Reconfiguring buses to provide more space between passengers
  • Looking at doing temperature checks for people boarding

Slashing schedules will not work well as many riders will not return.

Protecting your privacy

Without a vaccine, contact tracing, the ability to track whom an infected person has encountered and possibly exposed, using smartphone apps and Bluetooth technology can be used to contain the need for social distancing.  Archrivals Apple and Google are working together to quickly develop and distribute contact tracing tools.

The tech giants indicate that their technology will protect the personal information of users must share to make contact tracing work.  However, some Americans believe that this is a slippery slope for personal privacy.

Washing your hands

Hand washing will never be the same and it is likely we will remain singing Happy Birthday twice to properly get our hands clean.  Thanks to the coronavirus, we all now know how to properly wash our hands (and how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice). And we won't soon forget if recent data is any indicator.

New data from the Bradley Corporation, a maker of fixtures and accessories for commercial washrooms found in their latest poll from early April that the virus effect on hand hygiene, confirms we are washing our hands more often and for longer.

  • 78% of respondents report lathering up at least six times a day, more than double the pre-pandemic rate.
  • 77% follow the 20-second rule; before most people washed for five to 15 seconds.
  • 88% say they are likely to maintain these habits once the pandemic is over
  • more than a third of Americans now classify themselves as “germaphobes”

Fior Markets, a business-intelligence firm, projects the sanitizer market to grow by 7.5% annually through 2027

Source:  AARP, May 2020



Competition Warms Up for Sports Fans

We are still a long way from live audiences enjoying competitive sports but there are some plans to return live sport action to TV and actions that suggest live sports may reappear. Some of the plans include:

  • UFC:Fighters returns for UFC 249. Coverage on ESPN.
  • NASCAR:Cars are scheduled to return to the track at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina in May
  • Horse racing:Churchill Downs with spectator-less racing.
  • Exhibitions:
    • Golf:Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson will compete against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a charity match in May with live coverage on NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel.
    • Tennis:Four top-100 players were featured  in West Palm Beach with live coverage on the Tennis Channel.

Back at practice

  • MLS:Several teams have  returned to training fields
  • Exploring with Disney World completing their season at their facilities
  • NFL:Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined the gradual reopening of team facilities, beginning for June

Baseball Plans for July Opening

Major League Baseball owners gave the go-ahead to making a proposal to the players' union that could lead to the season starting around the Fourth of July weekend in ballparks without fans

  • Spring training could start in early to mid-June
  • Each team would playabout 82 regular-season games: against opponents in its own division plus interleague matchups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.
  • Postseason playwould be expanded from 10 clubs to 14 by doubling wild cards in each league to four.

If teams can't get medical or government approvals to play at their home ballparks, they could switch to spring training stadiums or neutral sites.  The State of Florida has offered any of their venues for all professional teams.

Source:  Axios



Nine Things Local Government Should Do

Recognize that local government is not the lowest form of government in an ecosystem of governments, but the highest form of coordination and advocacy for your community.

Small Town

Local governments are on the front lines of our nation’s response to the combined public health and economic crisis created by COVID-19.  Generally, without financial support from the state or federal governments, they are forced to take the lead.

Government at the local level is where the action will now take place.  The biggest challenge is how to restore economic recovery with the least loss of life.  Talk about a huge challenge to this new reality.

Local leaders are being forced to adapt to new realities in an environment where the individuals, families, businesses, and civic organizations within their community are under extreme stress.

Here are some of the first steps to making that happen.

Mental Shift

Leaders need to recognize in the way in which this crisis has shaken out that the government is now bottoms-up and locals are the decision-maker to deliver a recovery for your community and its residents.

To build strong and prosperous communities, a local leader must:

  • Step Up as a coordinator of services and advocate for your community and its needs
  • Orient Horizontal, Not Vertical. Forego our traditional top-down systems and identify the needs of your community and how you can address them outside of the formal hierarchy as possible.
  • Be a Voice of Unity. People and organizations are stressed at this time so don’t let emotional or political issues rule the day. Citizens need clear and coordinated messages and directions.
  • Seize the Moment. Make way for decisive action as even small steps taken now will have a ripple effect and change the course of your community’s future. You cannot wait around for others to show the way.
The cities that will emerge strongest are those that take decisive action now.

Small Towns

Immediate Response

Community stability comes first so here is a list recommended by Strong
Town to embark upon immediately.  Before recovery is discussed the needs of the community need to be stabilized.

  1. Get people fed. Focus on getting people food. Think in terms of public-private partnerships as there are many civic organization, religious and non-religious, that are particularly good at it. Local government can help the most by providing space for such operations and spreading the word.
  2. Get people shelter. Focus on getting people shelter as this is also an urgent and immediate need that needs to be need creatively addressed. The same public-private kind of relationships apply as with food. This is an emergency, so don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.
  3. Support the public health response. The public health and the economic forces of your community are actually dependent upon one another so don’t make animosity the rule of the process.
  4. Connect Masks to Economic Recovery. In some places the use of masks is not a p0pular one but help people make the shift to understanding that safety of fellow residents and the economic recovery depends upon these masks. Local leaders need to lead by example because it is about the ECONOMY.
  5. Provide People Space. Make as much space as possible available for people to get outdoors. Open up streets and public spaces to people. Even roads can become venues for people to walk and bike. Of course, that means open parks and trails.
  6. Go Easy on Enforcement. This is a difficult time for people and such things as social distancing may be difficult to adhere to. Use law enforcement officers as educators to help people understand why they need to do this, rather than strict enforcement.
  7. Support Adaptation and Innovation. It will be challenging for local business to survive so allow them to innovate. Ask them what government can do to help and then issue permits on a temporary basis for these innovations.
  8. Collect Data. Use current staff to collect data and support these efforts. At the very least, have them calling and talking to people and collecting information on what is needed.
  9. Preserve Cash. It might seem natural to throw money at these problems and there will be some money involved but resist the temptation to throw money at these problems. Preserve cash by delaying non-critical projects and hires as it is difficult to identify future community priorities that might require extra funding.

Assistance to Small Businesses 

What will happen with the economy?  Good question with too few real answers.  There are too many unknown factors to accurately predict.  Rather than worry about factors beyond your control focus on a quick recovery.

While it is likely impossible to bail out local businesses it is also a high-risk approach.  The best economic development strategy is to allow this segment of the community to innovate and adapt as only they know best within safety concerns of course.

Help them recover as quickly and vigorously as possible while resisting the very human  the temptation to spend your limited resources now.

Source:  Strong Towns - About Small Towns


NRPA’s Snap Survey on Status of Parks and Recreation

A special shout out to NRPA (the National Recreation and Park Association) and the ongoing ‘snap surveys’ that have been conducted related to the corona virus.  Among the key findings from a recent survey includes the following:

  • 75 % of park and recreation agencies are keeping all their parks open
  • 92 % of park and recreation agencies are keeping their trail networks open
    • Of those that have them, a majority of agencies also are keeping open their dog parks (58 %) and community gardens (68 %)
  • 96 % of agencies have closed all their indoor facilities
  • 71 % of agencies have closed their playgrounds
  • 68 % of agencies have closed permanent restrooms located at outdoor amenities
  • 79 % of agencies are using signage to enforce the closure of a park and recreation amenity
  • 51 % of agencies are locking gates to preexisting fenced areas
  • 30 % of agencies are wrapping equipment/entries with yellow tape

As far as budgets are concerned, park and recreation agencies report earned revenues (e.g., registration fees, rent from tenants, gym fees) will miss the current quarter (ending March 31) budgets by a median of 20-29 %. The typical agency anticipates that earned revenues will miss next quarter’s (ending June 30) budget by more than half. The most common steps park and recreation agencies have taken to reduce expenses include:

  • 51 % are reducing energy use at facilities
  • 45 % are implementing hiring freezes
  • 40 % are deferring/canceling capital projects
  • 39 % are deferring ongoing maintenance
  • one in five park and recreation agencies have laid off or furloughed staff as a result of COVID-19


trendSCAN is created by Dr. Ellen O’Sullivan for the California Park & Recreation Society.  Ellen welcomes your comments, questions, and feedback and can be reached at