GameTime Opens New Play Trail in Camarillo, California

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Grant from American Water Charitable Foundation Brings Nature-Based National Demonstration Site to Southern California.

Play pockets, like this giant ant hill, allow children to imagine life as an ant as they explore the trail with their family.

Community parks like Camarillo Grove Park are vital in connecting children to nature.

GameTime, a leading manufacturer of commercial playground equipment, outdoor fitness equipment and custom playscapes, recently opened a Play Trail in Camarillo Grove Park in Camarillo, California. The play space combines nature-themed play pockets with educational signage to encourage children and families to rediscover the natural environment.

The Play Trails concept is based on the research of the Natural Learning Initiative and their breakthrough program, Pathways for Play. Pathways for Play was developed in partnership with PlayCore and helps communities integrate play - critical for children's health - into walkable, bikeable, shared use community pathway networks infused with "play pockets" providing opportunities for playing along the way.

The Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District worked closely with Great Western Park & Playground, GameTime’s exclusive representative in Southern California to create play and recreation for the community that reconnected children with nature. “Community parks like Camarillo Grove Park are vital in connecting children to nature,” said Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District General Manager, Mary Otten. “Nature-based play areas foster an appreciation for environmental stewardship, while providing opportunities for physical activity. In Camarillo community members will benefit with the installation of nature play elements geared for children. The nature play elements have been incorporated along the newly developed interpretive hiking trail.“

Tyler Kyriopoulos, Vice President of Great Western Park & Playground, is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist who was excited about designing this unique play environment. “Play Trails is such a fun way to reconnect children and families with nature,” said Kyriopoulos. “There are great pockets of play around every bend of the trail. Children can pretend to be different animals, like ants or bees, and experience the animals’ natural habitat. The informational signs give adults an opportunity to interact with children along the way and learn about animals and the natural environment.”

The project was made possible through a grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation (AWCF), administered by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA). The grant is part of the Building Better Communities philanthropy initiative by American Water. The project is the only nature center of its kind within a 35-mile radius and is an important part of the community’s efforts to encourage children and families to enjoy the great outdoors.

In a statement released on the American Water website, Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA, said, “Parks and public lands are integral in conserving natural resources, but it is experiences and interactions that foster a strong sense of responsibility and appreciation for nature - especially among children.”

AWCF selected the Camarillo location because of the community’s commitment to fostering a greater sense of appreciation for the environment to enhance the quality of life in a fun and engaging way, an important aspect of American Water’s corporate mission. Debra Version, AWCF President, stated on the American Water website, “This project will not only enhance the quality of life in the community, but will also encourage the continued viability of and appreciation for our nation's water resources.”

The Play Trail at Camarillo Grove Park has been designated as a National Demonstration Site for Pathways for Play by PlayCore. National Demonstration Sites receive certification, become part of a national registry, and are promoted actively to other communities wishing to offer appropriate environments to promote outdoor immersion.

About GameTime
GameTime is a leading manufacturer of commercial playgrounds, custom play spaces and outdoor fitness equipment. Headquartered in Fort Payne, Alabama, and with distribution around the world, GameTime has been dedicated to enriching childhood through play since our founding in 1929. Our products combine play research with thoughtful design to create playgrounds for children of all abilities. We bring together the right corporate, civic and nonprofit partners to build healthy, active communities that make the world a better place for children and families.

About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 46,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space.

About the American Water Charitable Foundation
Established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water, the American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company's ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors.

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