READING, Pa. -

The Reading City Council commended the Reading Recreation Commission and its participation in National Recreation Month Monday night. 

The National Recreation Month is an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) which aims to get more people actively engaged in the outdoors.

It was first celebrated in 1985. The theme this year is "OUT is IN."

NRPA hopes that 2014 will "be the year people go outside, change their outlook, and get involved in their community through parks and recreation," according to NRPA.org

Daphne Klahr, Executive Director, accepted the commendation on behalf of the Reading Recreation Commission from Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz.

“Park and recreation programs are an integral part of communities throughout this country, including Reading, Goodman-Hinnershitz said in her commendation presentation.

She said not only do recreation programs, “build active and healthy communities, aid in the prevention of chronic disease and constructive youth activities,” but also, “increase economic prosperity through increased property values, expansion of the local tax base, increased tourism, and the attraction and retention of businesses.”

Council President Francis Acosta also thanked Klahr for the commission's efforts in the city.

"What you are doing for our kids is great," Acosta said. "You're doing miracles with [the money] you're using. I am truly extremely proud of what you have done and the growth the Rec Commission."

The Reading Recreation Commission is a community partnership between the City of Reading and the Reading School District.

It provides neighborhood-based recreation and learning opportunities for all ages including: a playground, two local rec centers, the Schlegel Park Pool, and opportunities to play tennis, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball.

The commission also recently received two Excellence in Recreation and Parks awards from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society for its Girls Leadership program and for the Egyptian art and culture program they run with the Reading Public Museum.

Visit the Reading Recreation Commission website for a calendar of upcoming events.