The Playworld staff is settling back in after several days at the 2016 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Conference in St. Louis.
They were among thousands of park and recreation professionals who participated in networking activities and education sessions and got up-close looks at the latest products. Visitors to Playworld’s booth had the opportunity to climb Branch Out™ and saw some of our other nature-inspired components, designed to help bring natural elements onto the playground. Branch Out, influenced by children playing in trees, incorporates a variety of elements, including nets, ropes and flex treads to encourage complex vertical climbing, crawling, hanging and relaxing at different heights.
Ian Proud, Playworld’s market research and inclusive play manager, led a session on the future of parks. His presentation focused on how American society will continue to change in the coming decades and how communities can respond to those changes by developing complete parks systems that are integrated with and responsive to community needs.
“The audience was interested to learn about long-term trends and how a community can add value by making sure the park system responds to those trends,” said Proud. “The discussion during and after the presentation centered on access to play opportunities for children in many different types of areas, suburban and urban. There were many questions and statements about just how we get from where we are to where we need to be – where everyone has equal access to nature.”
Playworld also participated in the 2016 NRPA Parks Build Community project. Parks Build Community is a national program demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities throughout our country.
This year, NRPA partnered with Great Rivers Greenway, the regional parks and trails district in the St. Louis region, and the city of Wellston, Missouri to transform a vacant lot into a lively community park, known as Trojan Park. The opening celebration, held in conjunction with the conference, featured food trucks, a basketball clinic with former NBA star Larry Hughes, and music and dance performances.
Trojan Park now features a state-of-the-art playground, basketball court, splash pad and family picnic areas, complete with shade structures. To help incorporate nature-inspired play, Playworld donated a Branch Out.
Did you attend #NRPAConference? What did you learn at this year’s event?