Fort Wayne is being honored with a Playful City USA designation for the eighth time for its efforts to make it easy for all kids to get the balanced and active play they need to thrive. Celebrating its 11th anniversary, the national recognition program honors cities and towns across the country for making their cities more playable.
“Receiving national recognition as a Playful City USA demonstrates our collective commitment to providing unique quality of life amenities for residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The Parks & Recreation Department assists us in our efforts as a point of destination community that’s experiencing momentum and investments like never before.”
“The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department is committed to providing numerous ways for children and adults to bring more play into their lives. Kids especially need caring and engaged adults to help them develop and grow and that’s what we provide with our children’s programs,” said Parks & Recreation Director Al Moll. “For adults, it’s easy to continue being active throughout your life when you’re having fun.”
Our free Summer Playground for children ages 5—18 runs June 5 – July 28. We have five playground sites and four Youth Centers that are supervised by qualified, trained staff. Kickball, t-ball, bumper pool, Mancala, basketball, arts & crafts, and character-building activities are just some of the opportunities for play that will be offered.
The Lifetime Sports Academy is free and open to boys and girls ages 7 – 18. The program runs June 5 – July 21. Group lessons in golf, tennis and swimming will focus on skill development, training, and participation and will be taught by certified coaches as well as highly trained professionals and volunteers. Participants may come as often as they wish and stay as long as they like. The Pavilion Program during LSA takes place in the McMillen Park Pavilion and children as young as 6 may attend. This option is for children not participating in LSA group lessons or those waiting between lessons. The program is a balance of unstructured supervised play and organized activities. The Fort Wayne Community Schools summer lunch program will be available at McMillen Park for LSA participants.
Our 39th Annual Senior Games for adults 50 years and older will take place June 5 – 22 and is an affordable way for adults to add some play into their lives while they make new friends. The cost to participate in each event is only $1 for those who sign up by May 19, and $2 for each event after the early registration date. Most events require little or no experience, and although some of the events are more strenuous, like pickleball or canoeing, there are many choices people of all physical abilities can participate in, such as card games, fishing, darts and billiards.
KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization dedicated to saving play, created Playful City USA in 2007 to help local governments address the Play Deficit by ensuring their children have the time and space they need to play.
“We are thrilled to recognize Fort Wayne for putting kids first,” said KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal. “The well-being of our communities starts with the well-being of our kids, and play is critical for them to thrive. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all kids get the childhood they deserve filled with play.”