One thing I have noticed about the playground industry is the many abbreviations floating about. We have the NRPA, ASTM, IPEMA, NPSI, NPCAI, NPPS, and the list goes on. They all stand for important organizations and regulations concerning the industry, which makes me think we could never run out of important abbreviations, as there are so many important issues to address in the industry. I think there is definitely room for a few more important representations though.
There could be an abbreviation for just about everything out there if you really took the time and put your “wordsmithing” cap on. I suppose in this world, I might even be known as the ETPM…Editor of Today’s Playground Magazine.
We have had some exciting things go on here in the past few months alone and are glad to beef up the issues with even more educational editorial making this an even more useful tool to the readership. This is a valuable industry, and if you have spent any time at all looking around to see what’s happening, you’ll likely agree.
Another valuable tool will be the NRPA Congress in San Antonio. Most of the people representing the aforementioned abbreviations will be there, meaning you’ll find a large group of professionals and citizen advocates available to answer questions you may have related to the many facets of the playground industry.
If you’re wondering why it could be so important to educate yourself in this industry, think about the role of the playground in society. I often do as I remember childhood experiences.
When I was young, a local dam broke and flooded much of the valley, which meant part of our home was under water for a few days. It took weeks for the house to be cleaned up again. Because of contamination risks, we weren’t allowed to be in the direct vicinity for several weeks and went to stay with my grandma for that time. Although we felt safe with her, there was still that displaced feeling from not being allowed to go home and not knowing what we would find when we came back.
We seemed to want to be at the playground a lot. I now see that it must have been somewhat therapeutic for us. Maybe grandma knew that, or maybe just needed some peace, but she took us to there a lot. She may have had other things to do, but she put us first. I’ll always be grateful for her enduring nature of nurture.
I think even familiarity of the equipment in relation to home was also very soothing for us. Think about the therapeutic role, in addition to the many others, whenever you wonder why we should spend more money on playgrounds to either renovate them or build a new one. We have playgrounds under reconstruction in places such as Sri Lanka as a therapeutic aid for the children there, which is far greater a tragedy that I had to weather as a child. You get my point though. What a valuable part they can play in healing.
Gain an understanding of the importance of the abbreviations floating about the industry and at the NRPA Congress and the part they play.
They all stand for things that play a very important role in keeping the industry sound, educating the end user and play supervisors, and in general keeping all of our ducks in a row. Get to know the industry up close and personal, and take advantage of all the tremendous educational opportunities available. You could even walk away from a certified installer should you attend the NPCAI school, which is also in session at that time. Log on to www.nrpa.org, and make your reservation. I hope to see you there.
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