From the Mt. Juliet Parks and Recreation Department
On May 13, KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, announced 212 cities and towns across the United States as 2014 Playful City USA honorees. These communities are leaders in playability – the extent to which a city makes it easy for kids to get balanced and active play – and are making play part of the solution that can move the needle on countless urban challenges.
Mt. Juliet was honored as a 2014 Playful City USA designation for the fifth time.
We are always seeking new opportunities for citizen’s to PLAY in MJ. We’re very excited about the possibilities being created: walking track extension & Pickle Ball courts at Charlie Daniels Park, the addition of the Jones Family park, upgrades and renovations to existing play spaces, FREE special events all year long, and so much more. To get involved, connect with us at www.MJParksandRec.org or on Facebook and Twitter: @MJParksandRec.
“We are so proud to be designated a KaBOOM! “Playful City USA” for the 5th year in a row. “Play in MJ” is still our main priority; we have dedicated the month of July to our Parks and Recreation and PLAY. The continued renovation of Planet Playground, addition of Ava’s Splash Pad, and the many special events and programs MJ Parks & Rec put on will continue creating a safe, pleasant, and exciting environment for our city’s children to Play in MJ,” Rocky Lee, Parks Manager
The KaBOOM! Playful City USA program, sponsored by the Humana Foundation, honors cities, towns and communities across America that are taking bold steps to ensure that all children, especially the 16 million American kids living in poverty, have easy access to balanced and active play in their communities. Cities being recognized span every region of the country, and include Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Nashville; Austin; Providence; San Francisco; New York City; and 205 others.
To advance the national dialogue on playability takes shape, KaBOOM! and Mt. Juliet invites interest, expertise, and voices from members of the Mt. Juliet community across the country to get involved (and get playful!) in thinking about how play can create more family-friendly cities. Join the Twitter conversation and encourage action:
• Participate on Twitter (@kaboom) and provide your point of view and forward-looking insights on playability in cities using the hashtags #playability and #playmatters.
“With the tremendous support of our friends at Humana Foundation, we are thrilled to recognize all of these communities that are working to ensure all kids, particularly the 16 million that live in poverty, get the play they need to thrive,” says KaBOOM! CEO and Founder Darell Hammond.
Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard added, “We’re excited about our journey with KaBOOM! and we appreciate the shared values that Humana, the Humana Foundation, and the KaBOOM! organization can rally around. Making it easy for families to play, be healthy and thrive together is a part of Humana’s dream, and it’s a commitment that all of us at Humana enjoy sharing with KaBOOM!.”
The Playful City USA honorees range in size from eight-time honorees such as San Francisco and Shirley, Mass., to first-time recipients Washington, D.C. and Plantersville, Miss. (population: 1,174). These Playful City USA communities are making a commitment to transform their communities to become more playable by developing unique local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of play in their community. Other city initiatives include:
• Increasing City Playability for All Kids: Chicago, Ill. has made a goal for every child living in the city to be within a seven-minute walk of a new park or playground.
• Encouraging Play Everywhere: San Antonio, Texas partnered with SA Sports in the SPARK Park program, which turns elementary and middle school properties into playspaces outside school hours, reinforcing that kids want and need play everywhere.
• Creating a Competitive Advantage through Play: Bloomington, Ind. sees playability as the third piece to complement walkability and bikeability and boost the city’s competitive advantage. The city plans to increase accessibility and availability of safe sidewalks, parks and play infrastructure.
• Promoting a Balance of All Types of Play: Orlando, Fla. is developing The Vision for Play in the City of Orlando initiative that will guide actions and investments over the next 20 years to provide a healthy urban play environment that promotes all types of play for all kids, which is critical to cognitive, creative, social, emotional and physical development.
• Inspiring Family-Centric Play: Missoula, Mont. is installing fun, creative programs so children can play in a safe, fun and nurturing family and community-centric environment. To encourage more play opportunities for families and communities to enjoy, the city has designated an annual Play Day, a KidsFest celebration in the fall as well as youth summer camps to keep kids engaged in active play.
• Using Play to Help Address Toxic Stress: Washington, D.C. recognizes its underserved youth are faced with physical, social and mental health challenges that directly impact their quality of life and their ability to cope with adversity. Kids growing up in the face of significant adversity are at risk of toxic stress, which hinders healthy brain development. Through the Play DC and Parks and Recreation Master Plan initiatives, the city is redefining playgrounds as community spaces where youth can find release from everyday stress and build resilience.
• Fostering 21st Century Skills through Play: Pittsburgh, Pa. realizes play is critical to developing kids into healthy and successful adults, including preparing kids to be innovators, collaborators and problem-solvers. The city plans to consider play in every educational and community decision that is made to ensure all Pittsburgh kids are prepared to succeed.
To see the full list of the 212 communities named 2014 Playful City USA honorees, or for more information on the Playful City USA program, visit www.playfulcityusa.org.