As part of our ongoing GameTime Cares™ initiative, we're kicking off a new series called Caring Communities. We work with many great people all over the continent to build parks and playgrounds. It seems a shame to keep all of their fantastic work and accomplishments to ourselves. So we're going to share their stories to provide hope and inspiration.
Introducing Graham, North Carolina - A Caring Community
When Brian Faucette, the parks and rec director in Graham, NC, began planning an inclusive playground for his community, he wanted to ensure it was a place everyone could enjoy. In his research, he discovered a lot of considerations for making a playground truly inclusive. He brought together a group of parents, teachers, and other experts who knew how to develop a playground with purpose.
Using the research from our parent company, PlayCore, Brian and his team carefully considered every piece of playground equipment they selected. Each climber, ramp, panel, swing, and slide was evaluated and chosen to ensure every child could play together.
It really does take a team to make sure something is a success. Brian and his team in Graham were passionate about this work, so they held many community meetings where locals were asked to provide input because, after all, this is their park.
This research-oriented approach proved to be an eye-opening experience for Brian and his staff. The evidence-based research provided a concrete reason for including every piece of equipment in the park, rather than just picking their favorite slide.
The first phase of Graham Regional Park included GameTime play areas and an outdoor obstacle course in a beautiful, natural setting.
After years of hard work and determination, GameTime, in conjunction with Cunningham Recreation, completed the first phase of Graham Regional Park in Haw River, NC. The project features a nature playground, Challenge Course, outdoor fitness areas, and a recently completed inclusive playground. It is recognized as a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore.
Design with Intent
When this project began almost five years ago, the organizers were focused on providing one thing: access.
"There's a huge difference between inclusion and accessibility. From the parking lot all the way through the playground, you have to look at all aspects of the park," said Josh Hammond, a sales associate with Cunningham Recreation. Cunningham Recreation is GameTime's exclusive representative in North Carolina.
Accessibility is paramount in Graham, whether it's access to education for staff members or playgrounds and children's transportation. In addition to prioritizing accessibility, officials wanted to create a park inclusive for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
Heart of the Community
Brian grew up in Graham. He's been working at the City for 19 years. He's been the parks and recreation director for nearly four. He's seen a lot in his years as part of this community.
Brian played in the parks and slid down many slides that he eventually replaced himself. He learned about National Demonstration Sites from PlayCore, and all the research and science to support them.
The new inclusive GameTime playground in Graham, North Carolina features double-wide ramps, sensory play activities for all ages, and adaptive equipment for people of all abilities.
Because he was committed to making sure his parks aligned with best practice design and research, he set a goal. The goal was to have a National Demonstration Site from each category in his community. That's a pretty awesome goal.
"I believe that our playgrounds will only get better. Everything will be designed with purpose and to go along with the National Demonstration Site standards," said Brian Faucette. "We also want to duplicate the community pride that this park has created across all our other parks and playgrounds. I want everyone to think 'look what we did TOGETHER.'"
Caring for Communities
GameTime is committed to parks and recreation departments. Since 1929, parks have been an essential focus of our research, development, and design efforts. We know parks are vital to the health and wellness of children and families.
If you live, work, and play in a community that shares our passion for play and recreation, we want to hear from you. Contact one of our local play and playground experts to plan your next project.