2022 Health & PLAY Institute at the Conference on the Value of Play

The 2022 Health & PLAY Institute is a half-day series featuring leading health professionals and researchers from across the country.  The institute is part of the 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY.

Building on the inaugural Online Health & PLAY Institute, the second annual Health & PLAY Institute (HAPI22) kicks off with lunch on Monday, April 4 in Clemson, SC.

This year, we will examine the synergies between play and health through the lens of the conference theme, THE NATURE OF PLAY. 

Topics include:

  • “The Nature of Play” – Stuart Brown, MD
  • “The Therapeutic Benefit of Nature PLAY an Acute and Chronic Pain” – Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, MBA
  • “Pushing Through a Fixed Notion of Play” – Brooke Buckley, MD, FACS
  • “National Study of Playgrounds” – Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH & Meghan Talarowski, PLA, ASLA, CPSI
  • “Environmental Determinants of Emotional Intelligence: Role of Nature Play and Greenspace Exposure” – Matthew Browning, PhD
  • …and “Movement Snacks” with Darryl Edwards

Speaker details and Registration information is below.


Meet Our Experts

Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH, MBA, (Moderator) is a leading advocate on health and nature, outdoor recreation as a gateway to better health, and play for life champion as our Moderator for the Health and Play Institute. Dr. Suk is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Professor and Chair of the Musculoskeletal Institute at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. In his role as a Steering Committee Member for the US Play Coalition, Dr. Suk helped to create the Health and PLAY Consortium that aims to build momentum in exploring and promoting the VALUE of play as a tool for improving health.   Dr. Suk also serves on numerous Boards including the American Medical Association, Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Associations and SHIFT at the Center for Jackson Hole. Previously he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior and Senior Advisor on Health and Recreation to the National Park Service.

Stuart Brown, MD, is Founder of the National Institute for Play.  His background in psychiatry, the evolution of human and animal play, as well as his clinical research into the causes and prevention of violence, have shown him that authentic play is a state of being which can be accessed and used by everyone, and that play is as important to humans as vitamins or sleep.

Brooke Buckley, MD, FACS, is Chief Medical Officer at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. She is a board-certified general surgeon and national expert on physician well-being. Dr. Buckley has dedicated a significant portion of her training and professional life to organized medicine and taking a broader look at medical care delivery, with specific interests in emergency surgical care, health-care delivery to rural communities, and physician wellbeing.

Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH, is a Research Scientist for Kaiser Permanente Research and Evaluation.  Dr. Cohen’s work focuses on improving the food environment, so that it promotes moderation and the consumption of healthy foods. She is also investigating how the design of playgrounds can encourage more people to be physically active and whether park prescriptions promote more physical activity.

Meghan Talarowski, PLA, ASLA, CPSI, is Founder and Executive Director of Studio Ludo in Philadelphia.  Meghan believes that play environments in the United States can, and should, be better.  She is a licensed landscape architect and a certified playground safety inspector whose research focuses on how the design of play environments impacts physical health and social behavior of children and caregivers.

Matthew Browning, PhD, is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Virtual Reality and Nature Lab, Clemson University.  His research career encompasses three domains (nature, health, virtual reality) and the intersections between them. Dr. Browning’s research aims to improve human health and well-being through environmental interventions, both physical and simulated.  His collaborative research expands awareness of the protective impact of urban greening on health.  Dr. Browning has published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles and ranks among the top 15 most productive/cited scholars on nature and health based on PubMed metrics.

Darryl Edwards is the founder of the Primal Play Method® and a physical activity, health and play researcher. The Primal Play Method® fuses the science of evolutionary biology with exercise physiology and play psychology.  Darryl is author of the best-selling book “Animal Moves.”


Registration Information for the 2022 Health and PLAY Institute

  • The Health & PLAY Institute is part of the  2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY.
  • Health & PLAY Institute (Monday) ONLY/Single Day option — $75/person (includes lunch)
    This will give access to the Health & PLAY Institute series ONLY on Monday, April 4.
  • Coming Soon!  ADD-ON CME Opportunity Online Health & PLAY Institute plus (6) CMEs — $100/person
    Includes access to our 2021 Online Health & PLAY Institute sessions eligible for up to (6) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits with the successful completion of the related Activity Evaluation Forms.

Register for the full 2022 Play Conference OR choose the Health & PLAY Institute (Monday) ONLY/Single Day option.


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The  2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY   explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more.


Play Therapy Forum Coming to the 2022 Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is partnering with the Multicultural Play Therapy Center at UNC Charlotte to offer a Play Therapy Forum, shedding light on the therapeutic power of play. This special series is one of our new Play Forums for the 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play.

“There is more evidence now than ever that children need play in order to live healthy lives, and play therapy is improving children’s mental health and overall well-being all over the world,” according to the Association for Play Therapy.

The Play Therapy Forum will help kickoff the conference on Sunday, April 3. Sessions include:

  • Healing from Trauma: Play Therapy Principles for Intergenerational Relationship and Connection
    – Jennifer Geddes Hall, PhD, LPC/S, ACS, RPT and Jill C. Shelnut, PhD
  • Time for a Reboot: Prescribing NaturePlay Therapy for Emotional Wellness for Children, Teens and Families
    – Jamie Lynn Langley, LCSW, RPT-S
  • The Power of Play Therapy – Jessie Guest, PhD
  • Understanding Play Therapy, the Barriers, and How to Break Through for School Counselors!
    – Jill Van Horne, Jill Van Horne, PhD, LCMHC-S, NCPSC, NCC, RPT-S, EAGALA Certified
  • A special poster session by graduate students studying Play Therapy at the University of South Carolina

Register for the full 2022 Play Conference or choose the Play Therapy Forum (Sunday) ONLY/Single Day option for just $75 (includes lunch).

Eligible participants may earn APT and NBCC credits (additional fee required).  Approved Providers:  APT Approved Provider #07-191 and NBCC Approved Provider #4208

 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.

Multicultural Play Therapy Center at UNC Charlotte
The mission of the Multicultural Play Therapy Center is to provide educational and supervision experiences for professional therapists in this region to support the emotional growth of children from diverse cultures through the process of play therapy. Play therapy training enables professionals to develop a therapeutic relationship with children aged 2½ – 10 using materials and communication skills that match the developmental needs of the child.  Learn more about our upcoming Multicultural Play Therapy Center Conference


Check out “Libraries, Learning & PLAY” – Postponed to the 2023 Play Conference

UPDATE March 3, 2022
POSTPONED TO 2023 PLAY CONFERENCE

The US Play Coalition is partnering with Let’s Move in Libraries to create “Libraries, Learning & PLAY,” one of our Play Forums for the 2023 Conference on the Value of Play.

“Play is a vital part of lifelong learning, and public libraries are community-based lifelong learning institutions,” says Noah Lenstra, PhD, Director of Let’s Move in Libraries.

“Libraries, Learning & PLAY” will feature exemplars, case studies, best practices, lessons learned and big ideas.  Learn how play is supported in public libraries and consider how to most effectively collaborate with librarians at local, state, and national levels to advance play goals.  Sessions will include topics such as:

  • Museums and Libraries: Closing the Gap!
  • The PlayBrary!
  • Nature Smart Libraries, Outdoor Play, and Learning
  • “Checking out” Play
  • …and more!
Details to come, so stay tuned!

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.


Sneak Peek of the 2022 IN PERSON Play Conference Sessions

(updated 2/14/22)

Check out this sneak peek of some of the amazing educational and research symposium sessions we have planned for the 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY, April 2-6 in Clemson, SC.

Below is an alphabetical list of some of the session titles.
The detailed conference schedule is coming soon!

          

  • AAA Play: Examining Play as The Linchpin to Learning
  • Active Play: What Role Did It Have in Our Evolutionary Past and How Vital Is It for Our Future?
  • Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Who’s Not Ready Holler Eye
  • Authentic Learning and Play Through Intergenerational Connections in Makerspaces
  • Being Mindfully Curious to Discover Our Inner Play Being
  • Bringing Kids Imagination to Life in Outdoor Play Through Augmented Reality
  • Built and Social Nature of Neighborhoods Impact Women’s Play
  • Coming To Our Senses: Envisioning Spaces for Play on A University Campus
  • Community Edinburgh (Inspiration from Scotland)
  • Contextual Play Hackathon – Creating Meaningful Play Solutions
  • Controversial Play: Weapon, Fantasy and Risky Play-Why They Are Important and How to Support Them
  • COVID Roadblocks Disrupting Play Opportunities: Fighting Back
  • Creating Ecosystems of Play: The Synergies of Systems
  • Developing A Love of Learning and Health Through Nature-Based Play Spaces
  • Don’t Throw It Away! Make Something and Play!
  • Earth Tones
  • Experiential Spaces as Immersive Playscapes for Adult Players
  • Exploration In Forests of Learning: Play-Based Ecosystems
  • Get Up, Get Out, And Play Naturally!
  • A Glimpse Beyond the United States: Considering the Trajectories of Play Via The ‘Land Down Under’
  • How Global PLAY Has Influenced PLAY In the Early Years of Australian Schools
  • “It Felt like Complete Chaos…at First” – A Student-Led Play Day with Non-Profit
  • Just Playing: Towards A Universal Ethic of Play
  • Körperkoordinationstest Fur Kinder (KTK): Assessing Motor Coordination Differences in Children Recess
  • The Meaning of Play and Its Implications for Equitable Design in Outdoor Urban Spaces
  • Mindfulness in a Bag – Bringing Social/Emotional Learning to life through Brown Bag Play
  • National Study of Playgrounds
  • Naturally, It’s Child’s Play!
  • A New Perspective on Urban Playscapes: A Case Study Method
  • Parent Motivations for Enrolling Young Children in Early Enrichment Programs
  • Park Ranger Emergency Response Training Needs
  • Play As Liberation: Exploring Self-Directed Education
  • Play Protocols: Maximizing Learning Through Play
  • Playcemaking: Designing Nature Playscapes with Children
  • The Playful Life: The Power of Play in Our Every Day
  • Playful Literacy Instruction: Making Learning Joyful and Culturally Responsive
  • The Playful Remake: Repurpose Tried and True Activities to Make Them Playful
  • The Power of Play Therapy
  • The Power of Quality Recess: Why You? Why Now? And How?
  • Recess Policy Implementation: Beliefs and Perceptions of Site-Based Decisions-Makers
  • Second Nature: Technologies Enabling and Enriching Play in the 2020’s
  • The State of Play: The State of Children’s Physical Activity and Access to Community Opportunities for Play in The U.S.
  • Supporting Health Equity and Environmental Resilience Through Green Playgrounds
  • Teaching For Social Justice: Honest Teaching of History While Building Community Through Playfulness
  • Teaching Off Trail
  • Time For a Reboot: Prescribing Natureplay for Emotional Wellness for Children, Teens and Families
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Equity and Play
  • What Did You Do in School Today? Developing Class Books Around Children’s Play Experiences.
  • YES, I Have An IEP! Climbing, Forts and Snakes: Risky Playing My Way to College, Career and Beyond!
  • You Can’t Fall from That: What National Playground Standards Could Learn from Childcare Regulations
 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2022 IN PERSON Conference on the Value of Play: THE NATURE OF PLAY explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.


Youth Learning Institute’s
Annual Youth Development Practitioner Award

The US Play Coalition partners each year with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for their annual Youth Development Practitioner Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. The YLI award winner is honored during the Annual Conference on the Value of Play.

According to Stephen Lance, Executive Director of Youth Learning Institute, “There are many deserving practitioners across the nation and our goal is to bring recognition to this field of service.”

First awarded at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play, our awards program honors exceptional individuals each year.  The YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award winner receives a physical award, social media coverage, free full conference registration and more for the annual Conference on the Value of Play. 


YLI’s Youth Development Practitioner Award Application Process

Purpose:
To recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

Eligibility:
Must have operated a youth development program or service within the United States for at least 10 or more years. (The nominee does NOT have to be affiliated with Clemson University.)

Evaluation Criteria:
Applicants should show evidence of as many of met criteria in their submitted statement.

  • Accomplishments serve as an example for other youth serving programs.
  • Program/service demonstrates best practices and a nurturing culture that supports inclusivity and human resilience.
  • Outreach efforts promote youth development programs and encourage support and participation from the community at-large.
  • Equips young people to lead and serve, through direct work with youth and by training other practitioners.
  • Demonstrates positive impact on lives of young people and leads by example.
  • Demonstrates high level of leadership, professionalism and integrity in the field of youth development.
  • Strengthens the field of youth work by providing quality training opportunities for youth workers to maximize their investment in young people.
  • Focuses on attempts to improve the quality of youth services by providing training standards and improving program function.
  • Shares best practices with other youth practitioners or serves as a liaison in the community to create a network of participation and sharing of ideas/knowledge.
  • Program/service demonstrates exceptional commitment to public service and/or educational leadership.

Award Winning Play Bracelets Return for 2021 Holiday Season!

Our 10th anniversary play swag took home the “2019 Best Merchandise” Excellence Award from the South Carolina Festivals and Events Association at its annual conference in 2020.

The SCFEA Excellence Awards celebrate the best from South Carolina!  Our “PLAY FOR LIFE” cuff bracelet, featured at our 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, won the 2019 Best Merchandise award.  With the holidays upon us, we thought it was fitting for us to do an encore campaign with our 2020 and 2021 themes added to the mix!!

So order our LIMITED EDITION, AWARD WINNING PLAY CUFF BRACELETS – they make great holiday, birthday, graduation, thank you gifts or “just because” gifts!!

Made locally in Clemson, South Carolina. These very popular cuff bracelets are available in three colors – silver, gold and rose gold.

Each color can have one of three phrases:

PLAY FOR ALL

PLAY FOR LIFE

PLAY IS SURVIVAL

Support the US Play Coalition and PLAY by purchasing a PLAYful bracelet – or get one of each!!

Overview
• Handmade item
• Material: Aluminum, Brass, Copper
• Bracelet length: 6 Inches
• Bracelet width: 1/4 Inches
• Adjustable: Yes
• Style: Minimalist

Please note: Shipping is only available in the continental U.S. at this time.
Shipping in the continental U.S. is just $3.50. 
OR! Locals can save on shipping with pickup at the US Play Coalition office at Clemson University

 


US Play Coalition Announces 2021 Online LACES Play Series

For our landscape architect friends, we are excited to announce our 2021 Online LACES Play Series!  Earn up to 9 LACES credits online and ON DEMAND through December 31, 2021. The LACES series is part of the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL.

Thank you to our partner – the South Carolina Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects. These fine folks work hard to ensure we can provide LACES CEUs for the relevant conference sessions. Glad to have you on our Play Team, ASLA-SC!

Check out the list of LACES approved sessions:

  • “All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time” – Jill Moore White
    Parks today face the challenge of providing environments where all visitors can feel safe, secure and fully engaged. Universal design increases usability, safety, health and social participation. In this presentation, participants will discover how applying the principles of universal design ultimately contribute to social equity and social sustainability in parks.
  • “Designing Everyday Spaces for Children” – Shweta Nanekar, PLA, LEED AP (BD+C)
    How do we modify current approaches to the design of everyday spaces to make them more child-friendly? Available literature on child-friendly environments is reviewed to identify empirical research and project examples that can help designers and planners to create spaces that cater to the “Whole Child.”
  • “Future of Play: Technology Integration” – David Flanigan, CPSI
    We all know that kids are spending countless hours in front of a screen, not only for gaming and social media, but due to COVID, many kids are attending school virtually. What will the future be like for kids if they are addicted to their screens and don’t want to go outside and play?
  • “Healthy Communities, Parks and Splashpads” – Sarah Shepherd
    As demographics, inclusiveness and health concerns evolve, aging facilities need to step up their game to keep communities engaged and active.  Explore effective community infrastructure through the lens of aquatic play. Discover how Splashpads increase park usage, promote inclusion and build social capital that help communities grow and flourish.
  • “The Importance of Failure in Play” – Melinda Pearson
    Failure is an inevitable part of life. By creating play spaces that push boundaries in thinking and stretch the limitations of our bodies we create a safe play to explore our failures and learn great things about our growing selves and our budding potential in the process.
  • “Inclusive Playground Design:  A Case Study of Three New England Playgrounds” – Ingrid Kanics
    This presentation will share the research results of interviews with parents of children of all abilities around the design of three New England Inclusive Playgrounds. We will share what design features they feel make a playground inclusive and how these playgrounds impact the life of their communities, families and children.
  • “Making Connections: People, Places, and Physical Activity” – Ines Palacios, PhD
    Discover planning and design considerations to increase community connectivity, offer more enjoyable ways to be physically active outdoors, and create multigenerational destinations that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being. Effectively champion and advocate for solutions to provide more affordable, accessible ways to activate healthy lifestyles and increase economic vitality.
  • “National Study of Playgrounds” – Meghan Talarowski, MLA, CPSI
    The National Study of Playgrounds (NSP), a joint research project of Studio Ludo and Dr. Deborah Cohen, is the first observational study of playgrounds to compare the impacts of playground design on play behavior and physical activity across gender, age group, and socio-economic status.
  • “Prototyping: Play Applied” – Aaron Goldblatt, Dana Schloss, Meghan Talarowski, Christopher Kircher
    Designers of all stripes occasionally use prototyping to test ideas and physical realities. This discussion advocates for moving the act from occasional to central to a practice and to understand it as an act of play. Designing through joyful exploration makes better spaces for everyone.

Earn up to 9 credits for just $50!  Register for the 2021 Online LACES Series for ON DEMAND access through December 31, 2021.

If you are already registered for the 2021 Virtual Play Conference, please reach out to us at usplaycoalition@clemson.edu for access to the session assessments.


The U.S. Play Coalition
Founded in 2009, the U.S. Play Coalition is an international network of individuals and organizations that promote the value of play throughout life. The coalition is housed in Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department, part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.  Our membership comes from a cross-section of industries and professions – play researchers, educators, park and recreation professionals, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians, parents and more.  Learn more at usplaycoalition.org

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


US Play Coalition Announces 2021 YLI’s Youth Development Practitioner Award Winner

The U.S. Play Coalition and Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute are proud to announce the 2021  Youth Development Practitioner Award Winner:

Joyce Hemphill, PhD

First awarded in 2017, the Youth Learning Institute’s Youth Development Practitioner Award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.  The evaluation criteria is quite extensive and detailed below.  “There are many deserving practitioners across the nation, and our goal is to bring recognition to this field of service,” said Stephen Lance, executive director of the Youth Learning Institute.

MEET JOYCE HEMPHILL:

Joyce Hemphill, PhD, is a play advocate, play consultant and a retired professor of child development. Early in her career, she valued the importance of play, but it wasn’t until her (now-adult) sons’ school district eliminated morning recess that she began publicly advocating for play. After that ruling, Joyce started organizing community play events, speaking and writing on the value of play, giving workshops on ways to play, and teaching classes on the importance of play.

Joyce holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from The Ohio State University and almost 30 years of college classroom experience teaching infant child development, cognition, and learning. While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison she developed and taught a course on “The Importance of Play in Child Development,” which included a service-learning component of a student sponsored community “PlayDay”.

Though she retired from UW in spring 2012, Joyce did not retire from her WORK to promote PLAY!  Soon after retirement, she began writing a column for the US Play Coalition, which now lives on our “Playing from Scratch” Pinterest board.

In 2014, Joyce co-authored The Power of Playful Learning with Laura Scheinholtz and Heather Von Bank, which highlights the various benefits children receive from the making of and playing with games and play props.  More recently, her “Mosquito Badminton” make-n-play activity was featured in Highlights Magazine for Children.

Joyce continues to give workshops for teachers, parents, families, youth groups, and care providers on ways to create playful learning activities using recyclable and low-cost materials. In addition to her involvement with the US Play Coalition, she is very engaged with the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA USA), The Association for the Study of Play (TASP), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Joyce “is a practitioner of play,” says her nominator, Heather Von Bank, PhD. “All the work that she has done in her career has been devoted to supporting children and families’ development through playful activity and interaction.”

Congratulations to our ever-playful, 2021 YLI Outstanding Youth Development Practitioner Award Winner, Joyce Hemphill, PhD.

First awarded in 2017, the Youth Development Practitioner Award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

Evaluation Criteria includes:

  • Accomplishments serve as an example for other youth serving programs.
  • Program/service demonstrates best practices and a nurturing culture that supports inclusivity and human resilience.
  • Outreach efforts promote youth development programs and encourage support and participation from the community at-large.
  • Equips young people to lead and serve, through direct work with youth and by training other practitioners.
  • Demonstrates positive impact on lives of young people and leads by example.
  • Demonstrates high level of leadership, professionalism and integrity in the field of youth development.
  • Strengthens the field of youth work by providing quality training opportunities for youth workers to maximize their investment in young people.
  • Focuses on attempts to improve the quality of youth services by providing training standards and improving program function.
  • Shares best practices with other youth practitioners or serves as a liaison in the community to create a network of participation and sharing of ideas/knowledge.
  • Program/service demonstrates exceptional commitment to public service and/or educational leadership.

The U.S. Play Coalition
Founded in 2009, the U.S. Play Coalition is an international network of individuals and organizations that promote the value of play throughout life. The coalition is housed in Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department, part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.  Our membership comes from a cross-section of industries and professions – play researchers, educators, park and recreation professionals, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians, parents and more.  Learn more at usplaycoalition.org

Youth Learning Institute
The Youth Learning Institute (YLI) is a vital component of Clemson University’s youth outreach effort that helps fulfill the University’s mission of public service by using the research and knowledge of University faculty and staff to develop programs that especially reach youth. More than 100,000 young people participate annually in over 100 programs held at our leadership centers, ranging from one-day school training to two-week residential programs.


VIDEO: “Expanding the Conversation on Race and Play”

In 2018, Harrison Pinckney, PhD, moderated a groundbreaking keynote panel of experts in a discussion on what play looks like for Black youth.  This year, Dr. Pinckney returns with new colleagues to broaden the discussion as we continue to work towards a better understanding of the racial implications of race on play.

“Expanding the Conversation on Race and Play”

Black people have long been depicted as less than human. Studies have shown that this perception has led to Black people being mistreated by police officers, teachers and even doctors. Unfortunately, Black children and youth are not exempt from this mistreatment. There are a number of historic and contemporary examples of play being interrupted for Black youth for this very reason.

This is an engaging discussion on how the portrayal of Black youth contributes to the way they are engaged in play spaces. Video games, free play, and movies are among some of the contexts explored.

This session was recorded live on May 24, 2021.  The recording is included below!  This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL .


Meet our Experts:

Harrison Pinckney, IV, PhD
Assistant Professor of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, Clemson University
Dr. Pinckney’s research focuses on the systems, institutions, and programs that influence the racial socialization of African American youth. Similarly, he examines the ways in which racial identity manifests itself in the lives of African American youth. Recognizing the role of faith-based organizations in the African American community, I also explore the ways in which this institution serves youth and the outcomes associated with participation in/with these organizations.

TreaAndrea Russworm, PhD
Associate Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
TreaAndrea M. Russworm is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Series Editor of Power Play: Games, Politics, Culture (Duke University Press). She is also currently an Associate Editor for Outreach and Equity for the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies. With research expertise in digital media, popular culture, and African American studies, Professor Russworm is also the founder of Radical Play, a public humanities initiative and afterschool program in Springfield, MA, and she is the author or editor of three books: Blackness is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition; Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games; and From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry. She is currently writing a fourth book on race, video games, and the politics of play.

Nathaniel Bryan, EdD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Miami University
Nathaniel Bryan, Ed.D., Ph.D. is an assistant professor of early childhood education at the Miami University. His teaching and scholarship explores issues of equity and diversity, critical race theory, culturally relevant teaching, urban education, and Black education. Though he studies broadly these frameworks, he is particularly interested in the constructed identities and pedagogical styles of Black male teachers and the schooling and childhood play experiences of Black boys in early childhood classrooms through a critical lens. In his spare time, Dr. Bryan enjoys reading novels, traveling abroad, and spending time with family.


Below is the full recording of the featured session
“Expanding the Conversation on Race and Play”


This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL – all recorded live earlier this year.


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


VIDEO Showcases Playful Activities to Support Whole Child Health

This session provides simple and inexpensive strategies to support children’s physical and social-emotional health. It emphasizes inclusive activities and partnerships to help caregivers engage children in PLAYful, language-rich learning opportunities.

“Playful Activities to
Support Whole Child Health”

This featured session explores playful learning resources to help caregivers support the physical and social-emotional health of children. Co-facilitated by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Too Small to Fail, the session begins with a fun, virtual and active icebreaker. After quick introductions to the organizations and the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model,” Jane and Daniel share a series of playful activities that encourage movement and learning. Pausing for a group reflection and “check-in” with attendees, we’ll spend time discussing cross-sector collaborations to help all children thrive. The presentation will conclude with simple action planning and sharing of a resource list. Q/A will occur throughout the session.


Meet our Experts:

Jane Park is the Director of Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, where she leads national partnerships with corporations, nonprofit organizations, and associations to support children and families across the country. Prior to her role with Too Small to Fail, Jane served as the Associate Director of Content in the Education, Research, and Outreach department at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. In that role, she helped develop the whole child curriculum on which the television series is based and worked across the organization, as well as with external partners, to integrate Sesame Street’s educational content across media platforms—including print, video, online, social media, and toy products. Jane also led Sesame Street’s “Healthy Habits for Life” initiative, as well as the development of community outreach resources to support families through challenging situations such military deployment, natural disasters, and economic and food insecurity. Jane holds an M.A. in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in communications from the University of California at San Diego.

Daniel Hatcher, MPH, Director of Community Partnerships, oversees Healthier Generation’s cross-sector partnerships with key youth-serving programs and community-based organizations. A nationally renowned collaborator and trainer, Daniel manages technical assistance services and resources for out-of-school and summer programs as they work to achieve optimal healthy eating, physical activity and social emotional health for the children and caregivers they serve. Daniel has a BA in International Relations and a Master of Public Health, both from Western Kentucky University. You can follow Daniel as he speaks across the country on the topic of healthy communities via Twitter @hatchdw.


Below is the full recording of the featured session
“Playful Activities to Support Whole Child Health”


This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL – all recorded live earlier this year.


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!