by Kathy Higgins
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
For today’s kids, outdoor play is being squeezed out by computer games, television, music and electronic gadgets. In addition, a recent Harris Interactive poll commissioned by KaBOOM! found that 59% of parents said there’s no place to play within walking distance of their homes. In poor communities, that figure is 69%. And the obesity epidemic among children makes outdoor recreation even more important today than ever before.
That’s why this weekend, I joined 119 Blue Cross volunteers who traveled to Fayetteville to participate in our sixth KaBOOM! playground build. KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America’s children and their mission is to create great play spaces through the participation and leadership of communities.
And there are benefits of play beyond physical fitness. Children gain important social skills on the playground: respect for one another, diplomacy and negotiation, adherence to rules. We use these skills – developed during childhood play time – every day in our work lives.
This latest KaBOOM! project was an opportunity to make an immediate positive impact on another North Carolina community and show our commitment to making our state healthier through promoting active lifestyles. It also reflects our new mission statement: To improve the health and well being of our customers and communities. I’m proud that at Blue Cross, we don’t just talk about a mission – we live it by working with leaders and volunteers like our friends in Fayetteville to address community needs.
Our partners at the Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation Department and the Great Oak Youth Development Center (GOYDC) came up with an outstanding design for the new play area in Clark Park. The young people from Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation’s youth development program and GOYDC have given us all some important lessons in creativity and the power of a positive attitude in getting things done. I want to personally thank them for their inspiring example and dedication to creating a great new outdoor space for children and families in Fayetteville.
The KaBOOM! playground build helped us improve the health and well being of our customers and communities. Our mission – for that day – was accomplished.
This time-lapse video from the City of Fayetteville captures just how impressively this build came together! Don’t forget to check out the gallery below, too.