Play is important: Holly again named among 217 “Playful City USA” communities

Holly has once again been named one of the best communities in Michigan and the nation to play, receiving the designation of Playful City USA for 2013 by the national non-profit organization KaBOOM! for the third straight year.

The Playful City USA program, sponsored by KaBOOM! and the Humana Foundation, serves to recognize communities that are working to address the “play deficit” in our country. The American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that play is a crucial activity for healthy brain development, creativity and imagination, dexterity and physical, and cognitive and emotional space. Yet, only one in five children live within walking distance to a park or playground, and this lack of access and opportunity can have profound consequences for our children: physically, socially and academically.
 
Within Holly, the Holly Outdoor Recreation Coalition (HollyORC), 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serves as the coordinating group for the program. Communities are selected through an application process that details the plans and accomplishments of addressing access to quality playgrounds, including partnerships with local schools, outreach and advocacy programs and building infrastructure.
 
In 2012, the HollyORC partnered with a wide variety of local community organizations and government groups to encourage children to play. Several dozen groups participated in Community Play Day in September, offering games and activities ranging from kayak simulators, disc-golf, hula-hoop contests and more for children and parents at Crapo Park in downtown Holly. More than 400 people attended the free, all-day event.
 
“The Playful City USA program really highlights that Holly is a family-friendly community and a wonderful place for children,” said Katy Hughes, HollyORC Trustee and community volunteer. “Being only one of two Michigan communities (Grand Rapids) to receive this designation is not only an honor, but a testament to the care and hard work of the community.”
 
This year, the Village of Holly has begun to review its master plan and vision for its parks and recreation offerings, and the HollyORC has been proud to partner and contribute to this effort that will enhance the quality of life for residents and the appeal of the Holly community to guests. The Playful City USA program
 
“The timing of the parks commission’s master plan review couldn’t have been better,” said Ryan Bladzik, Village of Holly President Pro-Tem and president of the HollyORC. “The Playful City USA program provides the perfect strategic framework for the Village to evaluate what resources we have, where we need to improve, and the way to achieving those goals. The cooperation and enthusiasm has been outstanding—everyone is excited about the future of our community.”
 
To celebrate its Playful City USA designation and reinforce the need for play in the community, the HollyORC will host Community Play Day, a fun day of field games and outdoor activities at Crapo Park in downtown Holly on September 14, 2013.
 
For more information on the KaBOOM! Playful City USA programs, please visit www.playfulcityusa.org.