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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Santee Named “Playful City USA” Community

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4-year-old Joey Andrew of Santee tries out the slide
Today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation, but Santee earned recognition today from national non-profit KaBOOM! as a 2012 Playful City USA community because of efforts made to prioritize play opportunities for children.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development because it allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Yet today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only 1-in-5 live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.

Santee is among 213 communities in 41 states that received the Playful City USA designation since the program began six years ago in partnership with the Humana Foundation.  The designation is given to communities that demonstrate a commitment to physical activity by developing local action plans to increase the quantity and quality of opportunities for children to play through community partnerships, as well as recreational facilities that promote exercise and fitness. Santee was acknowledged for partnering with local school districts to provide joint use playing fields for youth sports activities and leagues.

The recognition also means Santee is qualified to apply for grants to help pay for park improvements, playground equipment and recreation programs. The grants are offered through Let’s Play, a partnership led by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

A primary goal of the Playful City USA program is to encourage cities and towns to share ideas, concepts and programs to increase play opportunities for children. Other local cities sharing the 2012 designation are Chula Vista, La Mesa, and Encinitas. For a complete list of winners or additional information visit http://www.playfulcityusa.org/.   

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