*Author is Pat Rumbaugh, the Play Lady
Why sponsor a play day? George Bernard Shaw told us, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Your community will benefit greatly from the organization of this Play Day; your core group will get to know each other and become friends for life, people of all ages, variety of socio-economic backgrounds will come together who have never been together before and most of all ALL of you will have fun playing.
Once you have gathered your core group of volunteers (prior post) and decided to hold a Play Day in your community then there are three important aspects you must nail down:
PLACE: Where are you going to hold the event?
You want everyone to be able to attend your Play Day.
TIMING: When are you going to host it?
BACK-UP PLAN: If it rains do you have a back-up plan?
After these plans are set, there are a few more aspects to consider:
ACTIVITIES. Once you know your physical location well, hint, go visit it, walk around and brainstorm, what can we play here?
LENGTH. Based on your planned activities, how long should it last?
COORDINATE WITH OTHERS.
Within 100 yards or our first play day, the Public Works Department was holding an event called, Touch-A-Truck. This fun event is super exciting to young children. They get to climb up on trucks, pretend they are driving and beep the horns. Their event was from 10 am to noon and our event was from 11 am to 1 pm. Since we both drew people of all ages we both helped attract more people then normally expected. We ended up having people in age range from babies to early eighties. We counted approximately 200 people who attended our 1st Play Day.
These days, our Recreation Department Co-sponsors our Play Days. It is a huge help to us. We now have several performances by bands, story tellers, Zumba and Aerobic Instructors, several organizations help us; Girl Scouts, Teams, a USTA Tennis Training Center, Public Works brings several Trucks for Touch-A-Truck to our September Play Day, many businesses are sponsors by giving us donations or helping in some way. We have over 100 volunteers; many are teens who receive community service. Adults of all ages help us; Box Lady, Dress-up Lady, Face Painting Lady, Mud Pie Lady and many men help us from our fun loving Computer Guy, our talented photographer, several City Council members come and play, some juggle and others lead games to play.
PLANNING TIME: We spent six months planning our 1st Play Day. I recommend you have at least six months to plan your first Play Day. Besides volunteers in your community, invite Businesses Folks, Public Officials, Recreation Department and others to join you in the planning of Play Day. Our Mayor was supportive from the get-go, our Director of Recreation was welcoming and helpful, several of our City Council members and their families attended our 1st Play Day and many of the businesses displayed our flier and helped us promote our 1st Play Day.
On our website there is a listing of Upcoming Events and Past Events, including our first play day. Since 2009 we have held 7 Play Days the 4th Saturday of September (the site moved to our Takoma Park Middle School for more space outdoors and indoors), 5 Mid-Winter Play Days in February at our Community Center since 2011, and 2 Adult Play Days since 2014 held at our VFW.
All of you are invited to our 6th Annual Mid-Winter Play Day, Sunday, February 14, 2016, at our Community Center.
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