Celebrating McFarland, USA on the Parks Make Life Better Tour
Fitness and Fun for Everyone
McFarland, California is the town from McFarland, USA, a movie starring Kevin Costner that chronicles the elite running dynasty built on nine California state titles in long-distance running. McFarland didn't become an athletic legend by accident. This is a hardworking farming community with a strong commitment to health, wellness and physical education. Being active is part of the town's DNA.
This city of 21,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley doesn’t have the amenities of some of the larger, neighboring communities, but it does have a parks department committed to encouraging healthy habits that last a lifetime. That’s important; because 70% of McFarland households include children under the age of 18.
In 2017, parks department leaders from McFarland attended an educational symposium hosted by California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS) and provided by PlayCore as part of the CPRS Healthy Play Statewide Initiative. After completing the symposium, they applied for funding from GameTime to put that research into action. The city built an inclusive playground that also provided the six essential elements of physical play, as described in PlayOn! - a curriculum developed by PlayCore in partnership with SHAPE America. PlayCore designated the project as a National Demonstration Site for Inclusive Play and for Youth Physical Activity.
We were honored to visit McFarland Park during our 2018 Parks Make Life Better Tour. We saw firsthand how community leaders combined research and education with grant funding to design a fun, active and inclusive space for people of all ages and abilities. Congratulations McFarland Recreation and Parks District. You make life better for the children and families who call McFarland home.