Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Get Your Play On

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Get Your Play On

Article excerpt

Stuart Brown, founder and president of the National Institute for Play, said in a 2009 New York Times opinion piece ( that "play-deprived adults are often rigid, humorless, inflexible and closed to trying out new options." We agree. And, this is just one opinion within scores of research that validates the importance of play for people of all ages.

That's why, this July, NRPA decided to focus Park and Recreation Month on the importance of play. Parks, recreation and play go hand in hand, and we would argue that there is no better place to play than your local park or recreation facility. Parks and recreation is on the front lines of addressing play inequities by identifying and finding solutions to problems like play deserts, lack of recreation opportunities and more.

To highlight the importance of play during Park and Recreation Month and to encourage the general public to seek out more play at their local parks and recreation, NRPA released an infographic demonstrating the power of play. You can find the infographic on page 45 as well as online at

So, no matter how you get your play on, we encourage you to invite others to join in. By inviting others to climb, groove, throw, bike or swim, you're inviting them to lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Extreme Play

For the past three years, NRPA has hosted a cover photo contest, soliciting the best photos from around the field, narrowing them down to about a dozen finalists and putting them to a public vote. This year, we were thrilled with the winner as it's a perfect representation of the importance of play.

Submitted by the City of Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department in South Carolina, the cover photo features a national BMX race from April 2016 at its facility. The City of Rockhill Parks, Rec reation and Tourism Department owns, operates and maintains the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track, which opened its doors in 2014. The facility is the first Olympic-caliber BMX training facility that's open to the general public on the East Coast.

Rock Hill was inspired to open such a facility in order to grow its amateur sports venues, which it has been developing since the mid-1980s.

"Constructing outdoor recreation facilities to include a world-class BMX Super-cross Track and other cycling venues was part of a larger vision set forth by our mayor, city council and city management in an effort to expand the city's already successful amateur sports tourism niche beyond traditional sports like soccer, softball, baseball, tennis, etc. …

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