That’s the guiding principle behind KaBOOM!, a nonprofit that brings play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty.
KaBOOM! does that by building playgrounds — 11 as of August 2016 — in underserved areas across Tennessee.
“Kids need balanced and active play to practice problem-solving, collaboration and to generally become more creative, healthy and socially active,” says Amy Levner, vice president of marketing and communications at KaBOOM!
Map of BlueCross/KaBOOM! playgrounds in Tennessee
RootsRated is an app and website connecting users with outdoor experiences vetted by the pros.
Professional outdoor writers and bloggers review destinations for trail running, hiking, climbing, paddling and more as recommended by outdoor retailers and local experts (store owners, climbing instructors).
It’s a highly reliable, actively curated platform, enriched with stories of the local outdoor lifestyle.
“I was researching outdoor recreation and found many online reviews hadn’t been updated in years,” says RootsRated founder and CEO Fynn Glover.
“I knew this network of experts exists, so we designed RootsRated to harness authentic local knowledge and make it easier for people to discover memorable outdoor experiences.”
The landscaped, lighted trail leads walkers, runners and bicyclists to parks and scenic spots, drawing more than a million people to the river each year.
“It’s such a beautiful, safe place, especially for people who want to walk or run but who don’t necessarily want to run up a mountain,” says Tennessee Riverpark’s Jeannine Alday, laughing.
“It’s families, groups of friends — even strangers.”
“There’s a group of women that meets every morning to walk. They didn’t know each other before the Riverwalk; they met each other out there, formed a group, and they keep coming because they’re losing weight and feeling healthy. It’s had a huge impact.”
Gym-style workouts are happening in unexpected places: public recreation areas.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) installed three outdoor exercise areas with stationary bikes, pull-up bars and more across the city, and three more are in the works.
By mapping health data, they targeted areas with higher rates of stroke, diabetes and cancer, and those with less access to gyms.
“Focusing on high-need areas is a simple way we can impact the community.” says TPL director Rick Wood.
“We want to connect everyone to a park within a 10-minute walk. Today, 1,700 people live within a 10-minute walk of Chattanooga’s Fitness Zones.”