Young Lungs at Play

May 12, 2016

New signs discourage smoking in Waupaca’s parks

By Angie Landsverk

Young Lungs at Play signage is now posted around the playground areas in Waupaca's parks.  Angie Landsverk Photo

Young Lungs at Play signage is now posted around the playground areas in Waupaca’s parks. Angie Landsverk Photo

Waupaca’s Parks and Recreation Department expanded its Young Lungs at Play initiative this spring.

This same signage went up around the athletic facilities at Swan Park around five years ago.

“We were getting complaints in 2011, specifically in Swan Park. Since we put the signs up, the complaints decreased,” said Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Jenson.

Complaints about people smoking in areas where children play ball on the fields triggered the decision to place signs there.

In October 2014 city resident David Wood attended a meeting of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board to ask if there was support for a smoking ban in all public parks.

A year later, he asked again.

“After speaking to the police department and talking to other Parks and Recreation departments, we decided to first start raising awareness with Young Lungs at Play,” Jenson said.

Ealier this year, the board recommended the expansion of that message to the playgrounds, shelters and athletic areas throughout its park system.

The signs went up this spring in conjunction with the May 1 opening of the city’s parks.

A healthy initiative grant the department received in 2011 paid for all the signs.

Sixth-grade students from Waupaca Middle School helped launch the latest effort.

On Friday, May 6, students visited South Park to present a banner they created.

“Each student made their own image,” Jenson said.

Those images then created a larger banner, which will hang at the Waupaca Recreation Center for some time to remind adults to not smoke where children are playing.

Several students explained why they do not want people to smoke where they play.

“Some little kids go to parks. If they see people going to parks smoking, they may think it’s cool and want to try it,” said Hannah Holterman. “Smoking is really bad for you. You can get cancer from it. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe. It can cause lots of problems in your body.”

Leota Studzinski said their posters show what the students like to do at the parks and how they do not want people smoking around them when they are there.

Bryce Boldt said smoking may cause people to have bad lungs and cancer.

“It’s just bad. I do not like the smell of smoke at all,” he said.

If children see their parents smoke, they may think it is cool to do so, Boldt said.

Jenson said he reached out to Alan Konda, who teaches health at WMS, and asked him if WMS students could become part of the awareness campaign.

“Any time you get kids involved, they start talking about it at home with their families,” Jenson said.

Konda incorporated the poster project into the health curriculum he teaches the sixth graders.

“It was nice the class was able to put it together in about a month, a month and a half,” Jenson said.

He also appreciates the willingness of the school district to transport the students to South Park to help get the word out about the expansion of the the Young Lungs at Play idea.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department wants people who smoke to self police themselves.

“We’re asking smokers to really think twice about where they’re doing it in the parks,” Jenson said. “Maybe walk to a place where kids are not playing, away from the playground, shelter, athletic field.”

With numerous cigarette butts found in the city’s parks, department staff also remind those who smoke to put out their cigarettes and then throw them in the trash.

“We hate to see cigarette butts by the playgrounds,” Jenson said.

Welcome to ACTIVE Net!

Over the past 18 months Parks and Recreation Staff have been exploring options for purchasing an online Parks and Recreation Software system. In July of 2015 we were introduced to a system called ACTIVE Net and in September of 2015 our department obtained approval for its purchase. Throughout our search we came across a number of other systems that were either too expensive or didn’t meet the needs of our department. ACTIVE Net is a system that will meet our needs in regards to activity registrations, league scheduling, facility reservations, membership functions, and reporting while also being packaged as a much more affordable option then other systems.

ACTIVE Net has been in the Parks and Recreation Industry for 39 years and has over 47,000 customers processing 87 million transactions per year. There are currently over 1,100 communities across the county using this system including New London, City of Menasha, Appleton, Little Chute, and De Pere.

What will ACTIVE Net do for our department?

We estimate that we have well over 5,000 program registrations and facility reservations per year. These registrations and reservations are currently input manually into a staff built database that allows us to generate needed reports. Manually inputting this information is time consuming and allows for human errors and inconsistencies that may result in double facility books and insufficient communication with program participants. Our users will still have the ability to register for a program or reserve a facility in person at the Recreation Center. We do love seeing our customers on a day to day basis but for the convenience of those same customers we will be encouraging everyone to setup an online account. The City of New London implemented ACTIVE Net about 5 years ago and had 93% of their activity registrations taken through a user account within the first two years.

Customers will enjoy the convenience of registering for any program or reserving any facility from their home, office, or anywhere a computer or mobile device is available. Coaches and instructors will be able to reserve their facility for practice or games at the click of a button as well as see up to date availability for their facility of interest. These are just a few of the processes that will be improved from a user standpoint.

Activenet will be open and available to the public by March 7th of 2016. (NEW:The fees are the same whether you sign up in the office or online) All users will be able to create an account and complete registrations, reservations and transactions at:

If you have any questions regarding ACTIVE Net there is a FAQ link at the bottom of the home page. You can also feel free to give the Rec Center a call at 258-4435 and our staff will help you through the process.