Roanoke’s culture of outdoor play
If you haven’t heard of Kids to Parks, it is an event by the National Park Trust that seeks to connect America’s families with our public lands. Celebrating outdoor play in this way inspires experiences that have been shown to make kids happier, healthier, and more successful in life. It also forges a connection with nature that inspires future stewardship for public lands.
In past years, Roanoke has celebrated with a centralized event held at Wasena Park or River’s Edge Park. Then, last year, inspired by the 10-Minute Walk Campaign , we decided to re-position the event as a city-wide Day of Play. We created an Instagram scavenger hunt that could be done in any of the City’s 70+ parks and greenways. That scavenger hunt empowered families to create and share their own outings and shine a light on their own neighborhood parks. Many of you helped us spread the word for this, and for that we are grateful!
A Growing City-wide Effort
This year, our mission is to take it further and get more kids than ever engaged in outdoor play.
That effort has 3 parts:
1. Empower local families to play . We are creating a campaign that is designed to reach local families in their daily lives, illuminating how outdoor play is important for them and their children.
2. Connect families with their local parks and community organizations. Many Roanoker’s love their neighborhood parks, but there are also many who believe that their local parks are dangerous, or because they are not living adjacent to a greenway or one of our larger regional parks, they don’t have as much of an opportunity to play outside as others do. We aim to shake up that perception by using Kids to Parks to facilitate free, quality play in any and every park we can reach. The ultimate goal: An activity within a 10-minute walk of every kid in the City.
3. Enlist families to inspire others to play. Social media can distract us from physical activity, but it’s also a powerful tool for social change. With an incentive for families to share their outings on Facebook and Instagram, we are leveraging social media to start meaningful conversations in our City. And it’s a chance to channel our mobile habits toward a creative and productive part of play!
We hope that, combined, these steps will kick off a year of more outdoor activity and a stronger culture surrounding play than ever before in Roanoke.
What You Can Do
We want you and your organization to come out and play!
To do that, you’re invited to adopt one of the 70+ City parks on May 16th or 17th and host some free, quality play for local kids and their families.
Whether you hold a simple game of tag in a neighborhood park, lead a nature walk on some public trails, or host a more involved event of your own, we want every kid to get the same message: their community cares about them and wants them to play outside. And, of course, we want you to showcase the good your organization does in this community all year long. You are welcome to align an event or program you were already planning to do with Kids to Parks Day weekend. To support you, we will waive any park reservation fees required and advertise your activities as part of the Kids to Parks campaign.
So, catch up with your team and plan an activity. The sky’s the limit, but simple is just as effective. Then, click the link to fill out the form below and we’ll get you set up with a park! Please let us know you’re in by April 15th.