MPRA Statewide Initiative

A Collaborative Partnership to Turn Research into Practice

Deeply committed to promoting the value of play and recreation as a critical priority, PlayCore, GameTime, and Cunningham Recreation are proud to partner with the Missouri Park and Recreation Association on a multi-year, comprehensive initiative to provide training and funding opportunities in effort to deploy research-based strategies and create high quality park destinations across the state of Missouri.  This unique partnership allows us to collectively promote health and wellness throughout the state and give us the ability to report community impact outcomes in a meaningful way.

By aligning evidence-based design and program best practices that foster inclusion, engagement with nature, and physical activity, 11 projects will serve as national models of how visionary leaders have thoughtfully put research into practice. The National Demonstration Sites created through the statewide initiative, were intentionally designed to enrich and enhance the quality of life where citizens of Missouri live, work, and play. We are honored to highlight the phenomenal leadership of the 2017 MPRA Show Me Healthy Communities Recipients and celebrate their success stories. These award recipients and their outdoor play and recreation projects will inspire others to use play as a catalyst to build healthier, happier communities across generations. Their efforts demonstrate how investing in parks and recreation results in positive outcomes, grows social capital, and builds strong communities through the power of play and recreation.

"We have always believed that play was good for children. Now, we'll have the research-based evidence that our community parks are great places to play!"

- Jan Neitzert, MRPA Executive Director

Goals of the MPRA Show Me Healthy Communities Statewide Initiative

The MPRA Show Me Healthy Communities Statewide Initiative is a multi-year partnership launched in 2017.  Initial outcomes and leadership case examples were shared at the 2018 MPRA 2018 Conference in Osage Beach, MO. The primary goals of the initiative identified by MPRA, PlayCore, and GameTime include:

  1. Execute statewide professional development to educate professionals on best practices design considerations to promote healthy play.
  2. Deploy research and data collection to demonstrate MPRA as a critical contributor to improving quality of life of citizens across the state and beyond.
  3. Provide matching funding to assist high quality projects in each of the four MRPA Regions to create outdoor play and recreation spaces that align with research-based best practices and serve as national models.
  4. Publish white papers and other advocacy communication tools to further champion play and recreation initiatives.


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7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design®

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Putting Nature Into Play

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Pathways for Play™

Infusing Play Into Pathway Networks to Encourage Active Lifestyles for Children, Families, and Communities

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Play On!®

Promoting Physical Activity & Fitness Through Active Play

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Outdoor Adult Fitness™

Best Practices for Promoting Community Health by Increasing Physical Activity

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