“Be home by dinner,” was a common refrain heard around my house when my children were growing up. My kids were given the freedom to just “play,” without specific direction or adult intervention. They could walk or ride their bikes to the local park where they learned more about themselves than anywhere else. The park was a sacred space. My kids were able to experience lazy days in the park with nothing to guide them but their imaginations.
But sadly, times have changed, and compared to the 1970s, today’s children spend 50 percent less time in unstructured outdoor activities. At Playworld Systems, we believe the world needs play, and children are growing up in an era where it’s hard to come by. We’re committed to having the pendulum swing back in the direction where kids are begging parents to get to the playground.
The playground is where children challenge themselves and each other. It’s a place where “high-five” moments are made and remembered. You know, those moments where “I can’t” or “I’m scared” shift into “I did it!” Those childhood memories are what we hope our equipment enables.
We aspire to create play environments that are meaningful and relevant to today’s children. It’s our job as a playground equipment manufacturer to design play structures that inspire memorable moments.
With a mission to save play and create more high-five memories for the children of Charlotte, North Carolina, Playworld Systems decided to donate several pieces of equipment to NRPA’s Parks Build Community project at the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park. The park will feature a collection of playground equipment that provides platforms for all kinds of play.
If you want to hang around with friends, then Unity is the climber for you. Cruise Line will give you wings. If you like climbing and reaching new heights, then Rushmore is calling your name. If flashing lights and sounds are more your speed, then the ever-popular NEOS 360 will get your competitive spirit pumping.
NRPA Annual Conference visitors will have the opportunity to experience our equipment in their native environment (i.e. in outdoor park space) first-hand when they attend the dedication of Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park.
We believe this donation will result in endless play experiences, hopefully reminding us all about the power of play and motivating us to create more environments where kids rule, imaginations soar and bodies become active.
High-five moments are those that are shared with someone and can’t occur in isolation. We want to encourage more of those memorable moments, where people of all ages come together in a shared space to accomplish and discover something together. Outdoor activity is often about shared discoveries and fun experiences. We hope that the playground installation at Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park inspires people to come back time and time again to experience the power of play.
Kevin Cook is the director of sales for Playworld Systems.
How do you create more high-five moments in your community? Share in the comments below or tweet us a comment using #ParksBuildCommunity.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Charlotte’s Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park, the site of NRPA’s 2014 Parks Build Community initiative, read the “Reaching New Heights” feature article found in the June 2014 issue of Parks & Recreation Magazine. You can also check out another blog post on the park, which highlights the critical need for good park access, and the webpage for the project, which includes contact info and details on previous Parks Build Community sites. Stay tuned for forthcoming details on the dedication event for Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Park, which will occur on Thursday, October 16, during the 2014 NRPA NRPA Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. NRPA thanks donors Playworld Systems, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Poligon by Porter Corp. and Cornilleau USA for their contributions to this year’s project.