Fort Wayne, Ind.—Fort Wayne is being recognized for its efforts in making play a priority for the health and well-being of area children. Nationwide, Fort Wayne is one of 217 cities named a 2013 Playful City USA Community by the non-profit organization, KaBOOM!
Dedication to increasing play opportunities for children helped distinguish Fort Wayne as it earned this distinction for the fourth year.
“Our outstanding parks and recreational programs provide opportunities for families and children to play close to home,” Mayor Tom Henry said. “It’s an honor for our city to be named a Playful City USA for the fourth consecutive year. We continue to go to great lengths to ensure that our residents have access to parks, playgrounds, trails and other recreation areas that enhance our community’s health and quality of life.”
Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play.The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children.
KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the Play Deficit by ensuring their children have the time and space they need to play.
“For four years Fort Wayne’s Play Task Force has focused on inclusiveness, safety and education about why play is important.This working group continues to grow as it make great strides with its mission, and includes Parks & Recreation staff, Turnstone, the YMCA, Easter Seals Arc, Boys & Girls Club, the McMillen Center, FWCS and community play advocates,” said Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll. “Our Adopt-a-Playground program and a Safety Playground Seminar grew out of this task force, and we look for more community participation to make play an important factor in all our lives.”
KaBOOM! Play Days are held each summer at various locations and welcome families to come out for food, fun and games. The first play day was last weekend at Shoaff Park. The following play days are also scheduled:
nMay 19, at Parkview Field
nAugust 2, at Memorial Park
Over the years, Fort Wayne’s playful accomplishments include Indiana’s first fully-accessible playground at KreagerPark. Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground is a place for all children to play together. A therapeutic tool is available because of the efforts of the Task Force. Therapists put together a therapy guide to help families and caregivers make use of this facility.
Playground safety has played a vital role in Fort Wayne’s PlayfulCity efforts. A seminar for neighborhoods and individuals will be held May 21st, at the Psi Ote Pavilion in NorthsidePark to guide adults on how to make playgrounds safer.
Started in the fall of 2011, the adopt-a-playground program continues to expand. Businesses, civic organizations and volunteer groups are encouraged to adopt a playground. The commitment is for three cleanups per year for two years.
For more information on Fort Wayne’s Playful CityUSA, Adopt-a-Playground, Taylor’s Dream Boundless Playground and the Playground Safety Seminar, visit http://www.fortwayneparks.org/ href="http://www.fortwayneparks.org/">http://www.fortwayneparks.org/ color=#800080>www.fortwayneparks.org .
“Kids need to play actively, every day, at home, in school and in their communities, yet play is disappearing,” said Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! and author of TheNew York Times Best Seller http://book.kaboom.org/ href="http://book.kaboom.org/">http://book.kaboom.org/>http://book.kaboom.org/>KaBOOM!: A Movement to Save Play. “Children spend nearly eight hours a day in front of a screen; almost half of all poor students are deprived of recess; and to make matters worse, only one in five children live within walking distance of a park. Playful CityUSA communities like Fort Wayne are creating innovative programs and initiatives and deserve recognition because of their efforts to give kids the childhood they deserve and best prepare them for their future.”
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful CityUSA program, including Let’s Play grants and applications for 2013, visit http://www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa href="http://www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa">http://www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa>www.kaboom.org/playfulcityusa.