Yuma Among Few Cities Named 'Playful' a Sixth Straight Time
05/01/2012 | Dave Nash, Public Affairs Coordinator
Organization Dedicated to Play Lauds Yuma's Commitment to Children
Six for six.
In baseball, that's a rare feat. In basketball, it's a good day at the free throw line. In hockey, it's, like, a double hat trick or something. (In football, it's merely a competent extra-point kicker - so thank goodness it's not football season.)
So when the City of Yuma was named a Playful City USA on Tuesday - making it one of only 19 cities to have earned that distinction for all six years of the program's history - there was a justifiable sense of accomplishment at City Hall.
"We continue to find ways to improve or enhance our programs," said Director of Parks and Recreation Becky Chavez. "One example is learning from what we did the previous two years with our summer camp programs and opening them up to more children this summer. Camp Awesome is a great incorporation of fun with healthy messages that's organized to additionally serve as an affordable summer day-care opportunity for parents."
The Playful City USA program is presented by the Humana Foundation, and Playful City designations are awarded by KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing play opportunities for children. Recognizing both the important role that play factors into brain development and the fact that today's children spend less time playing outside than the previous generation, the Playful City USA program encourages cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs to increase play opportunities for children.
Yuma is among 213 cities and towns named a Playful City USA for 2012. The distinction makes the City eligible for grants of $15,000, $20,000 or $30,000 through the Let's Play partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Grant recipients will be announced in June.
"Some of the most innovative concepts and cost-effective programs are being developed in Playful City USA communities," said Darrell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! "Cities like Yuma are key allies in the fight to combat the play deficit and serve as outstanding role models for government and community leaders across the country."
KaBOOM! also selected Yuma for its outstanding dedication to play through facilities improvements such as the playground shade structures the City has erected over playgrounds the last several years and through programs such as the highly attended Day For Kids - Come Out and Play.
"Yuma created playspace community volunteer projects that engaged citizens while improving the quality of play for children," said KaBOOM! in a news release.
Other Arizona cities and towns receiving Playful City USA status this year include Phoenix, Tucson, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Chandler, Coolidge, Gilbert, Mesa and Oro Valley.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play. Through community building, the organization is focused on giving every child in America a great place to play within walking distance. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 2,000 new playgrounds, skate parks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. They have mapped more than 89,000 places to play. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, free online trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and Playmakers - a national network of individual advocates for play. KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org. (This link will take you to an external website that is not part of the City of Yuma official website.)