I was surrounded by children playing hopscotch, coloring on the sidewalk with chalk, and two more on a see-saw. The smell of hot dogs roasting on the barbeque filled the air. The sun was shining. A brass band played as the parade marched by. Where am I? How did I end up here? Let me tell you!
I met Pat Rumbaugh (“The Play Lady”) via zoom during the pandemic, and I volunteered to serve on the board of her non-profit organization Let’s Play America. Its mission is to increase opportunities for all people to enjoy play through partnering with communities, organizations, and individuals to create locally inspired, play events.
Recent activities have been scheduled both in person and virtually. But this past holiday weekend, I traveled down to Takoma Park, MD, where the organization is based, from my home in New York, to participate in the two events scheduled on one day.
These July 4th events included:
- A Play & Parade Watch - 9-12 am at Pat’s home: Children were invited to play, while families watched the parade and enjoyed a BBQ.
- A Play Day - Piney Branch School, 6-9 pm: In conjunction with the Takoma Park Independence Day Committee, LPA provided activities for families including board games, Connect Four, corn hole, hopscotch, jump rope, and many more. Nearby the Evening Street Party had scheduled local bands, food, and vendors for the community to enjoy.
During my trip, I met many other wonderful volunteers and board members. Some of these inspiring individuals have participated for years, and others were also new members of the LPA team.
I became a board member, because through my job as a playground inspector I can see the benefits of play and I plan to promote LPA’s mission with my photography, social media, and writing skills.
If I had to sum up the organization in a few words, I would choose these ones: activity, family, community, and fun. The children and families were so joyful, it made our hard work rewarding.
Let us know if you are interested in learning how to have events like this in your own community. LPA provides both handbooks and consulting services to advise you.
If you value play and wish to donate to LPA: www.letsplayamerica.org/donate
To order a copy of our Play Day Handbooks: www.letsplayamerica.org/Handbooks
Fun Fact: Did you know the symbol of Takoma Park, MD is a rooster?