Cities Champion the Cause of Play: Nation’s First Playful City USA Leaders’ Summit Draws Leaders from Across the Country to Give Kids the Childhood they Deserve Link copied!

September 19, 2013

Washington, D.C.

For the first time, municipal and thought leaders around the country will gather to chart a path to ensuring all children get the play they need to thrive. Play is critical to the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative development of children. But play is disappearing in homes, schools and communities. A healthy balance of active play is falling victim to TV, video games, structured schedules, declining recess time, and a lack of access to safe play spaces.

The 2013 Playful City USA Leaders’ Summit: Investing in Children Through Play, will be held in Baltimore, Md. from Monday, Sept.  23 to Tuesday, September 24, 2013. A national platform of KaBOOM! and sponsored by The Humana Foundation, the Summit is meant to drive investments in play infrastructure, policies and programming.

“We know that play can transform children – from sedentary to physically active, bored to mentally active, and solitary to socially active. When we make sure that our children’s lives are filled with play, we all benefit: our communities will be healthier and happier today, and our society will be stronger and more resilient tomorrow,” says Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!.

This invitation-only Summit will bring together city, non-profit, Foundation, business and national thought leaders from across the country to advance collective efforts to ensure that all children get the play that they need to become healthy and successful adults. The select group of more than 150 speakers and participants includes The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, The Honorable Arne Duncan, American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown, The Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson, and Mayors from cities large and small across the nation.

Cities are critical drivers for achieving play outcomes and most play-focused infrastructure investment, policies and programming happen at the local level. As such, KaBOOM! created the Playful City USA program in 2007 to recognize municipalities who are prioritizing play, and in 2013, honored a record 217 cities for their achievements.

Because cross-sector collaboration at the local level is a key to success, the 2013 Playful City USA Leaders’ Summit will feature 12 Team Cities from across the country. Representatives from the Team Cities are doing some of the most innovative work and building the strongest cross-sector partnerships to advance the cause of play in their communities.

The Summit agenda focuses on how play is critical to addressing challenges cities across the country face, from building 21st century workforce skills, to reversing the trend in childhood obesity rates, to renewing urban areas. To see the full schedule, speaker bios, and more, visit

“Society’s well-being begins with a child’s well-being, and play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. But play is increasingly becoming a thing of the past,” says Hammond. “I am honored to welcome so many leaders to our inaugural Summit. It will take everyone one of them, and more, to bring about the kind of change we need to see to ensure our kids get the childhood they deserve.”

“At Humana, we believe in making fun things healthy and healthy things fun. The Humana Foundation is proud to be official sponsor of the KaBOOM! Playful City USA Leaders’ Summit, working hand in hand with those on the front lines of our nation’s cities to create safe places for people of all ages to live and play together,” says Virginia Kelly Judd, Executive Director, Humana Foundation.