By Eric Frederick
The Fremont Community Recreation Authority (FCRA) in Fremont, Michigan, has brought children and adults in the community together for just over two years, providing a space for a wide array of activities including swimming, basketball, tennis, soccer, and more. In that time, the FCRA has successfully engaged the community in teams, classes, camps, tournaments, and other programs throughout the year, bringing families away from sedentary inactivity. By using the time spent online, the FCRA has begun to divert energy back to movement and action, as well as organize new activities.
Inactivity has become a part of work and entertainment, with the average adult spending an estimated average of eight hours a day in front of a screen, including TVs, computers. and smartphones. The FCRA is tapping into this time spent online to reach out to the community and organize events via Facebook.
With over 1,400 Facebook followers from Fremont and the surrounding area, FCRA has engaged approximately 35% of the community through their Facebook page alone. This outreach extends even farther as followers share statuses with other users and friends in the area. Users log in to ask about open hours, new events, openings in classes, upcoming trips and other opportunities. As a convenience to users, information is available at any time on Facebook, highlighting events and opportunities.
“People share our statuses and they tag friends that may be interested,” said Tom Elmer, Director of the FCRA. “It’s helped us increase numbers throughout the Rec center.” The FCRA not only posts information that is helpful and relevant to members, such as game cancelations or scores, but also highlights specials and opportunities to bring in new members. Elmer says it is a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to reach new and interested potential members. With current members and followers sharing with their friends, the message immediately reaches others who are close by and interested. “You can target which group you want to hit a little easier.”
Fremont and Newaygo County at large showcase generally wide and reliable broadband availability, according to Connect Michigan’s Broadband Service Inventory county profiles. Being able to get online makes it easy for residents in Fremont, as well as surrounding towns like Newaygo and White Cloud, to find their information quickly. This service availability also allows community organizers to post information quickly and allow residents to plan accordingly when news breaks, whether it’s the FCRA’s updates about a soccer game canceled due to rain, a post from the local police station about a missing person, or even a health hazard update from a broken city water pipe.
To learn more about how communities near you are getting online and staying connected, stay up to date with www.connectmycommunity.org/ and find highlights across the nation at www.connectednation.org/.
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