Illinois Park and Recreation Association Education and Funding Initiative

IPRA Promotes Play and Recreation

Illinois Commitment to Healthy Communities

IPRA, PlayCore, and GameTime have partnered in a collaborative effort to improve the quality of life in communities through our Statewide Healthy Play Initiatives. The goal of this partnership is to provide quality education, evidence-based resources, and funding opportunities to create healthy play and recreation spaces across the state of Illinois.

IPRA Commitment to Healthy Communities

Parks are essential to creating healthier, happier societies across generations! Be inspired by the leadership case examples created through the IPRA Healthy Play & Recreation Statewide Initiative which has deployed 60+ high-quality outdoor destinations across the state of Illinois. Evidence-based design best practices for promoting physical activity across generations, addressing physical and social inclusion, and integrating nature into the everyday spaces of childhood, and initial research findings from the statewide initiative will help build a strong case for the positive impact parks have on community health and wellness. Interactive and hands-on learning experiences will inspire and equip learners with the knowledge and valuable resources to passionately advocate for outdoor play and recreation. Join us to learn more about this unique initiative to turn research into practice and the opportunity to participate in meaningful data collection as a project of excellence exemplifying evidence-based best practices.

Statewide Education:
Interactive professional development events will provide training experiences about how play and recreation are essential to creating healthier, happier communities. Ideal for parks and recreation professionals, landscape architects, educators, and other play advocates, these education events and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are being offered at no cost through PlayCore’s Center for Outreach, Research, and Education Deploy.  Join us on April 11, and April 12, and April 13th for an event in your area.


GameTime will provide up to $2 Million in matching funds to IPRA members to support the deployment of National Demonstration Sites across Illinois to create outdoor play and recreation spaces that align with evidence-based best practices. These projects of excellence will focus on the areas of inclusion, nature integration, physical activity, and adult fitness.


Outcomes and Data Collection:
Data collection, outcomes sharing, and impact reports will further champion parks and recreation as an essential contributor to improving the quality of life for children, families, and communities in Illinois. Awardees will assist in data collection and reporting that will be shared with IPRA and their members to create awareness, support advocacy efforts, and further the goals and mission of IPRA.

Goals of the IPRA Statewide Initiative

Provide Professional Development Events

Broaden the knowledge base across the state

Presented by PlayCore master trainers, the CEU workshops cover important topics such as designing inclusive play and recreation spaces, creating nature-infused and trail-based play environments, encouraging greater physical activity for children and promoting health and wellness for older teens and adults. 

Deploy Research and Outcomes Tracking

Set the standard and improve quality of life

By gaining a better understanding of how parks are used across the state of Illinois, IPRA agencies can adjust programming and usage to better serve children and families and have a greater impact on quality of life.

Develop Shared-Use Ventures

Align parks, schools and health partners

Bringing together the right partners means sharing services and increasing social capital in the process. Working as a team, we can make Illinois a happier, healthier place to live, work and play!

Provide Matching Funds Assistance

Put research into action

GameTime is awarding matching funds to qualifying agencies who submit applications after attending an IPRA statewide initiative event. Your application will include an essay that describes your community playground needs and desired outcomes. 

IPRA Statewide Initiative Timeline
PlayCore Professional Development Symposiums View Events

Master Trainer - Jennie Sumrell, M.Ed

Director of Education: Programs, Partnerships & Professional Development

Jennie has worked with children and families of all abilities for nearly ten years. Her formal training and experience in early childhood education, exceptional learning, special education, and assistive technology allow her to have a meaningful influence on program and product development. Jennie is responsible for programs and partnerships that help build communities through play and she leads PlayCore’s community outreach providing continuing education to professionals across the country.

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Lunch and Educational Resources Provided

Each educational event includes lunch and all educational materials covered in the session, including research and evidence-based guidebooks and curriculum from leading play researchers and universities.

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Session Agenda

11:30 - 11:45AM:  Arrival & Networking Lunch

11:45 - 12:00PM:  Welcome & Initiative Overview

12:00 - 1:30PM:  Education Session: Supporting Community Health & Wellness

1:30 - 1:45PM:  Overview of Statewide Initiative Funding Opportunity

1:45 - 2:00PM:  Next Steps & Closing

Registration Closed

Accreditation and CEUs

CEUs will be provided for a total of 2.0 Professional Development Hours (0.20 IACET CEU / 2.0 AIA HSW LU / 2.0 LA CES HSW PDH) for learners meeting outlined requirements. The instructor of this learning event is employed by PlayCore and discloses interest in participants partnering with PlayCore on their play and recreation initiatives.

Registration Closed
Professional Development Learning Objectives
GameTime Funding Initiative Submit Your Funding Application

Up to 100% Matching Funds for Play Systems

Communities who are awarded funds as part of the IPRA Statewide initiative can apply their funding award toward the purchase of PowerScape, PrimeTime, Xscape and IONiX play systems.

View Play Systems

Additional Funds for Challenge Course Available

Create a multigenerational fitness destination in your parks with Challenge Course. IPRA Statewide Initiative funds can be applied to the purchase of Challenge Course Pro or Youth Series

View Courses

Up to $12,000 in Funds for Outdoor Fitness Equipment

Help adults in your community stay more active and achieve their health and wellness goals. IPRA Statewide Initiative funds can be applied to these Outdoor Fitness Packages.

View Outdoor Fitness
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