KOOP Directors Kelsey Langley & Naomi Sukenik were invited to speak at the Play Symposium: Digging Deeper in Ithaca, NY on September 30 & October 1, 2016. We were so thrilled to share about KOOP and what we’re doing in Champaign- Urbana.
We went with a speech prepared to share stories about our challenges and successes as well as to invite open discussion about community buy-in and the differences in play in kids from differing socio- economic circumstances.
We were thrilled to meet people who we had previously only met virtually, as well as so many new people from around the country who were passionate or curious about children’s play. We met mentor’s, trainers and people running amazing play projects coast to coast.
We toured Ithaca Children’s Garden- including their Hands- On Nature Anarchy Zone: an adventure play area with loose parts that is staffed by trained playworkers. It was so inspiring to tour an adventure playground together as the KOOP Play Team!
While we were there, we met Joan Almon, founder of the Alliance for Childhood. She is writing a book Playing It Up and invited us to be a part of it! We will share with her what KOOP is doing and what our goals are. What an honor to be included among so many play projects in the US during this wonderful revival of play and playwork! Keep an eye out for the books release date at the beginning of 2017.
We were also invited to join the North American Adventure Play Association (NAAPA.) We attended our first meeting, joined committees and are thrilled to be on this team of changemakers! We will keep you updated on our progress and our involvement with NAAPA.
Last but not least, our trip to Ithaca was the culmination of months of planning and excitement for me and Naomi. We were able to spend the whole weekend together focused on play, able to explore new ideas and avenues for making Champaign- Urbana a more playful city and we came home with a renewed excitement and re-energized
towards our efforts. We can’t wait to share our ideas with you!