PlayCore Hero Award
PlayCore’s Hero award recognizes individuals that make a difference in the recreation profession. The Hero Award embodies servant leadership, those who give selflessly with a goal of improving lives and active behavior in their communities and the world. Their dedication reflects PlayCore’s Mission and Values.
The following people are PlayCore Hero Award recipients:
Ramon Barajas, Superintendent of Maintenance Operations for the Department of Recreation and Parks, City of Los Angeles
Mr. Barajas oversees all City-wide maintenance, forestry, landscape, and irrigation, divisions that work on 435 parks on over 16,000 acres of parkland in the City of Los Angeles. Ramon also manages multi-million dollar construction projects for the department. He is currently working along with his colleagues on the 50 Park Initiative. This is a project to develop 50 new parks in neighborhood where a large percentage of the residents do not live in close proximity to a park or recreational facility. Along with managing the budget and overseeing over 700 full time staff, Mr. Barajas is the liaison between Recreation and Parks and City Officials. Mr. Barajas helps in writing grants and continues to be heavily involved in many of the City's urban youth programs.
He began his 29-year career with the City of Los Angeles as a Gardener Caretaker. Due to his excellent work ethic and diligence, always going far above and beyond the call of duty, he was promoted through the ranks to the position he currently holds. Mr. Barajas is also a dedicated family man, adoptive father, and inspiration to all who know him, who puts his customary 110% effort into ensuring that his dedication to work and family are balanced.
Jane Adams, Executive Director of the California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS)
As one of the largest park and recreation professional organizations in the country with over 4200 members, CPRS provides leadership to advance the positive impact and value of the profession on society. During her tenure, CPRS developed several initiatives that have advanced the profession of parks and recreation nationwide. These initiatives include the VIP Action Plan, Creating Community through People, Parks, and Programs, the successful Parks Make Life Better!® statewide branding campaign, numerous statewide park bonds, and educational programs.
Jane has made an impact by serving as the CPRS spokesperson to national, state, and local government officials; nonprofit organizations; and federal and state agencies. She has been instrumental implementing programs at the state level, and also advocating nationwide to develop collaborative relationships that achieve professional and organizational goals.
Dr. Joe Frost, Ed.D, L.H.D., Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas
Dr. Joe Frost, widely recognized as the contemporary father of play advocacy has a rich history in the area of children and play. After moving to the University of Texas in Austin in 1966, Dr. Frost became interested specifically in children’s play and play spaces and went on to develop undergraduate and graduate courses on play, play environments, and play and child development. Dr. Frost initiated a research project on play and play environments that would span nearly 40 years, the longest running such research project in the nation. In addition to the many books he wrote on the subject, Dr. Frost collected books, periodicals, articles, research reports, television and radio broadcasts, abstracts, and monographs pertaining to play. This collection of over 500 bound volumes was donated to the University of the Incarnate Word, dedicated in 2004, so that the world may have access to his vast knowledge of play.
Land for People
On October 19, 2016, PlayCore’s CEO Bob Farnsworth was honored with the Land For People award, the highest honor The Trust for Public Land (TPL) bestows on remarkable individuals who have provided an extraordinary commitment to the organization. The award was presented at a gala event in New York City.
“Bob’s relentless dedication to building best practice play and recreation spaces, his belief that all people have the right to play, and his commitment to give back to the Chattanooga community makes him an ideal recipient for the Land for People Award,” said Rick Wood, Tennessee Director for The Trust for Public Land.
TPL believes that every park, playground, and public space they help create is an open invitation for everyone to explore, wonder, discover, and play. That’s why partnering with PlayCore has been such a perfect fit. PlayCore is a leader in developing programs and education resources, and strives to enrich communities by advancing play through research, education, and partnerships.
Under Farnsworth’s guidance, PlayCore has grown to become not only the largest provider of play and recreation equipment in the US, but a trusted partner for communities to source scholarly research on play best practices, created through PlayCore’s extensive network of universities, scholars, and experts.
“PlayCore is committed to helping communities infuse play and recreation opportunities into the lives of people,’ states Farnsworth. “Play is key to life, at all stages of life, and we help communities build meaningful play and recreation experiences through the combination of scholarly research, best practice programming, and innovative products.”
Most recently, the two organizations partnered to install six Fitness Zones® throughout the Chattanooga area. Each zone was intentionally placed in underserved communities where people often don’t have access to exercise equipment.
The Trust for Public Land used geographic information system (GIS) data to identify locations where these installations would serve the greatest need. PlayCore spent several months gathering research, observations, and data on the sites to help measure the effect over a period of time. Funding for the Fitness Zone® areas was provided by the Tennessee Health Foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Anne-Marie Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Marketing & Communications for PlayCore said, “In conversations with the local residents, so many have commented on the effects that the fitness zones have had on their lives and overall health. Being able to see these changes, hear these stories, meet these people, and know that we’ve made an impact here at home is the kind of thing that makes everyone at PlayCore excited. It’s what drives us. We are delighted to align with the Trust for Public Land in our shared mission, and to call them a partner in play and recreation.”
PlayCore Honored With Ronald McDonald House Big Red Shoe Award
PlayCore was recognized with a Big Red Shoe award from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga at the organization’s annual meeting and scholarship awards banquet. The award recognizes PlayCore’s support and contribution through its employee giving fund to Chattanooga’s Ronald McDonald House. Ronald Mc Donald House of Greater Chattanooga chooses a group of supporters each year to receive Big Red Shoe Awards for their contributions, which help families of critically ill or injured children. Lisa Moore, PlayCore’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Services was on hand to accept the award, and added, “Our employees overwhelmingly chose Ronald McDonald House as one of their giving charities this year. The amazing support the organization provides to children and their families aligns greatly with our mission of giving back to the communities in which we live, work, and play. We are honored to be recognized by such a worthy cause.”
Champion of the Community Award
PlayCore received the prestigious Champion of the Community award from the California Park & Recreation Society in a ceremony held Friday, March 8, 2013. PlayCore received the award for Building Communities through Play, Recreation, and Service.
Champion of the Community recipients are chosen based upon their significant effort to influence and improve the quality of California communities through parks, recreation, and community services within three criterion: volunteer service, active support, and development.
Better Business Torch Award for Ethics
PlayCore is honored to accept the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in SE Tennessee/NW Georgia. The Award honors companies that make a demonstrable effort to promote ethical business practices. “The purpose of this award is to recognize annually those businesses in our community and service area committed to maintaining exceptionally high standards of ethical behavior in buyer and seller relationships,” said Jim Winsett, President of BBB.
The Better Business Bureau system believes that consistently conducting business in an ethical fashion and providing service excellence is as important as any other aspect of corporate management. By conducting this award competition each year, the organization seeks to highlight the importance of a company’s obligation in the marketplace to do what is right and what is fair. Award recipients are selected by an independent panel of judges each year.
“How we conduct business is as important as the business results we achieve,” stated PlayCore CEO Bob Farnsworth. “We believe in building communities through play, a goal we strive for by creating a strong community within our organization. We incorporate our Mission and Values into every aspect of our business. While we design, market and manufacture play and recreation products, we also allocate significant resources into research, education, programs, and partnerships that benefit the industry, and the communities we serve.”
The award ceremony was held May 23 in Chattanooga.
Best Website for Children
www.pathwaysforplay.org, the go-to website to learn about infusing play along pathways for children and families, created in partnership between PlayCore and the Natural Learning Institute has been chosen as the “Best Website for Kids and Trails” by the American Trails organization. The award was recently announced in their March newsletter, which reaches over 20,000 trail professionals. It is also included on the American Trails Website http://www.americantrails.org/webcon10.html.
American Trails continues an annual contest to seek out the best websites in the cyberworld of trails and greenways. Their goal is to recognize the diversity of the trails community, including urban trails and bikeways, greenways, wilderness hiking trails, motorized routes, and winter trails.
Pathways for Play was recognized for helping communities create networks of shared use pathways, infused with play pockets, and usable by all for healthy recreation and non-motorized transportation.
Corporate Philanthropist of the Year
PlayCore has been named by the Chattanooga Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the 2009 Corporate Philanthropist of the Year. This organization recognizes two individuals and one corporation annually that demonstrate a “breadth and depth of philanthropic activity over a sustained period of time” and have made a substantial difference for the Chattanooga community. PlayCore was honored at the National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon, held in Chattanooga.
PlayCore believes in corporate and employee giving, which is exemplified through Employee Days of Caring events, corporate match programs, and other community volunteer efforts initiated by employees as we work together to enhance the quality of life in the communities where we live, work, and play.
Hot 100 list
PlayCore was chosen as one of the Hot 100 companies for 2008 by Business TN magazine. Each year the publication chooses 100 companies who represent the best Tennessee has to offer in terms of entrepreneurial growth and vision, for their Hot 100 list. Business TN describes their hot 100 as "Fast growing, emerging, or full of promise, they represent the best Tennessee has to offer in terms of entrepreneurial vision and growth. Key criteria in the selection process are revenue, employee growth, growth over a period of years, and growth compared to industry average.
The magazine states that its Hot 100 spotlights companies that are enriching local and regional economics, providing jobs, and fueling the state's entrepreneurial culture.
AAPAR Presidential Citation
As one of AAPAR’s PAR Three consultants, PlayCore collaborated with AAPAR to produce the popular curriculum Play On! Playground Learning Activities for Youth Fitness, earning the company a Presidential Citation. Play On! promotes overall fitness, learning, and fun through six key elements of play that support physical activity, help to develop wellness habits, and meet national standards. "We’re excited to be working with PlayCore in promoting the Play On! program, and it dovetails nicely with our new Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play," Mariah Burton Nelson, executive director of AAPAR, said. "We’re confident that the Play On! program will help children reconnect with their love of creative and healthful play."