September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and to help combat this growing epidemic, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is hosting USTA Free Tennis Play Days in celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play in an effort to get kids active and involved in tennis. The USTA Free Tennis Play Days, which take place September 1st through October 6th, are a unique and fun way for tennis facilities, parks, and municipalities to introduce tennis to a new generation of kids and their parents.
USTA Free Tennis Play Days will provide kids of all skill levels with the opportunity to take part in tennis skills and game challenges in a social and fun setting. These events are open to the public and emphasis is placed on family participation, effort, and sportsmanship.
The first 2,000 events registered to host a USTA Free Tennis Play Day will receive special giveaways for their attendees. Organizers will receive branded materials and national exposure for hosting an event. To host a USTA Free Tennis Play Day, please register at www.youthtennis.com.
In 2011, the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) Foundation established the Sticks for Kids Excellence Award to recognize the efforts of its Sticks for Kids junior golf programs. The award is meant to honor an outstanding program that has utilized its granted Sticks for Kids program to reach its fullest potential by establishing and growing a junior golf program that serves as an outreach and youth development tool as well as a means to “grow the game.”
The GCBAA Foundation Board of Directors recently decided to rename the award the “Jim Kirchdorfer Sticks for Kids Excellence Award” to honor the program’s founder. Jim Kirchdorfer, Sr., now deceased, established one of the first two test locations of the program in 1997 with bags of cut-down golf clubs to be used as loaner sets for children who didn’t have their own, at participating courses in Louisville, Kentucky.
A partnership with National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) began in 2006 and served to revitalize the program, hone the focus, and give access to municipalities in need of junior golf programming across the United States. Sticks for Kids now numbers 461 locations and has touched the lives of nearly 300,000 children over the course of its history.
Contact the GCBAA Foundation for additional information or to nominate an individual for this award.
A new research brief from Active Living Research summarizes research on physical activity in after-school programs and examines how policies can help after-school programs more effectively promote physical activity and prevent obesity among children. The study’s key findings and recommendations are as follows:
- Children are getting less than half of the recommended amount of physical activity for after-school time.
- Policies regarding after-school physical activity are inconsistent, ranging from the vague "provide scheduled daily play time," to the specific "20 percent of daily program time for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity."
- The majority of existing policies regarding physical activity for after-school programs claim to be evidence-based, yet none of the evidence cited was based on data collected within the after-school program environment.
- Promising strategies include maximizing the amount of time children spend in physical activity within the period of time already allocated for activity, refining existing evidence-based curricula to improve its effectiveness at increasing physical activity, and ensuring that activities appeal to boys and girls.
The full brief is available for download at www.activelivingresearch.org/afterschool.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail’s new Norfolk Bridge is now complete and open to the public. The bridge, located three miles west of town and spanning the Elkhorn River, replaces the previous one washed out by a 2010 flood.
Construction and repairs will continue on the 22 miles of trail damaged in the flood, though many sections are complete and open to the public. Trail users can get daily updates from OutdoorNebraska.org to see which sections are closed for repairs.
In tribute to Brody Cole, an 8-year-old boy who passed away in 2009 from mitochondrial disease, Little Tikes Commercial and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have partnered to build an inclusive memorial playground designed for children with serious illnesses. During the last two years of his life, Cole ended his prayers with the enigmatic words, “And at the playground, I slide down the slide. Amen.” Though the exact meaning behind his words is unclear, his passion for play is evident, and the resulting partnership ensures that other children can have a place to play, despite their physical limitations.
“Little Tikes Commercial was able to help us reach our goals in a way that no other company was willing or able to do,” says Natalie Owens, senior interior designer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “We were constrained by a relatively small space, as well as the need to make this space fun for kids of all ages and conditions. Little Tikes Commercial created a unique two-level structure that gives enough clearance for IV poles and wheelchairs to roll underneath the second level. Other activities, such as the weather and music stations, and ladybug ride, are fun for younger children. This is truly a playground that will be enjoyed by everyone. We really appreciated Little Tikes Commercial’s generosity and flexibility with this project. They helped us bring Brody’s Dream to life and we could not be happier!”
The ribbon cutting ceremony for Brody’s Dream Playground was held on June 10 with many of Cole’s family members, friends, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta staff and patients in attendance.
Greening the Landscape: Strategies for Environmentally Sound Practice, by Adam Regn Arvidson, is a new, informative guide for improving the environmental performance of any landscape through the use of green construction and maintenance. Everyone can do something—landscape architects and designers, green industry professionals (including nurseries, contractors, and management companies), site owners and managers, and serious gardeners.
Officially publishing September 17, this book is available now directly from publisher W. W. Norton. To receive 20 percent off the list price, please enter promotion code GREENING during checkout. This special offer ends August 31.