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play / 2016

SCV Adventure Play + Eureka Villa: Self-Directed Play Spaces and Playwork Initiative for All!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by SCV Adventure Play Foundation

Providing self-directed play space created not just for kids but BY THEM as we do finishing touches on Eureka Villa Adventure Playground and launch a year long series of FREE Pop-Ups around LA County!

Please describe your project proposal.

SCV Adventure Play is focusing on two initiatives with the 2050 Grant, opening the Eureka Villa Adventure Playground to a larger public and funding FREE Saturday Adventure Play Days throughout LA County for AN ENTIRE YEAR.

Which of the play metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play
  • Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities
  • Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park
  • Per capita crime rates
  • Perceived safety

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to play?

Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play (SCVAP) will help make LA the best place to play through two initiatives: 1) launching a year long series of free pop-up adventure playgrounds in the LA region and 2) establishing Eureka Villa Adventure Playground (EVAP), the first in LA County.

Since its inception in 2014, SCVAP, with a basic staff of two and a handful of volunteers, has held over 70 pop-up adventure events in the LA area and has been actively developing Eureka Villa, a 2-acre nature park where kids build with hard materials, use tools, and develop the space long term. Through our existing efforts we estimate that we’ve served over 1,000 families, and are eager to expand our reach.

Adventure playgrounds (AP’s) and playwork, although relatively new to the US, have a long and vibrant history of protecting the rights of children to claim space in their communities as their own. Although many older generations played freely in abandoned lots or empty spaces, LA kids’ activities are structured more than ever and available play options, if they exist, largely consist of manufactured playgrounds focusing only on locomotor play. AP’s are staffed with Playworkers who are trained to keep the kids safe while interfering with the play as little as possible. This allows kids to play under self direction, enhancing problem solving, social and emotional skills, and confidence in one’s own life interests and choices.

Our first initiative, expanding our pop-up AP events, increases no-cost options and extends our reach into more communities in LA especially those with little play opportunities. Using supplies such as boxes, containers, fabric, etc., the kids create their own play space. They are unrestricted by income, age, location, learning style or disability. Neighbors both young and old come together at our AP’s creating fun community building opportunities. This play can also continue beyond the event! Our playworkers role model various AP practices for parents, educators and caregivers to implement in the home or anywhere using materials we may otherwise throw away or recycle.

Our second initiative, opening Eureka Villa Adventure Playground (EVAP), offers L.A. County its first permanent adventure play experience. EVAP will be staffed by playworkers to encourage kids to explore their environment, use tools to build, take down, re-build and manipulate the space however they want. At EVAP kids connect with nature by using its natural elements to facilitate their needs, hang out with friends, or find quiet repose from their busy lives. In order to open EVAP to the public, we need to replace fencing, add storage, and prepare accommodations for more visitors to maintain regular hours.

SCVAP’s initiatives fit the needs of any LA community, are any size, for any age and cultivate quality space for kids to play on their terms. By providing radically different permanent and mobile play spaces we will make LA the best place to Play!

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

SCV Adventure Play aims to measure our success by;

1) Bi-weekly meetings: The Playworker team will meet to discuss observations and community feedback on how to solve problems and make changes to the site and events. Discussion, observation, and reflection are essential to connect with the kids in a proper assessment of their play needs.

2) Twice annual community review (Eureka Villa): To build a strong relationship with the community, we will hold open meetings twice a year to address ideas about how goals and community needs are being met.

3) Monitoring data and methods: Playworkers will use photographs, observations of play, journals of their experience, and informal recorded interviews for evaluation as well as documentary purposes.

4) Attendance Sheets (Eureka Villa): Attendance at the park and or “how you heard about Eureka Villa” data will be tracked via attendance sheets collected at each open day and compiled, analyzed and evaluated every month.

5) Surveys and Follow-ups: To make sure we are engaging communities at the park and pop-ups we will perform online surveys once or twice a year to continue a dialogue about how to improve our practice. This will include follow-ups after our pop-up or park events with organizers to specify areas we need to improve while events are still fresh.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support