Editor's Desk - April 2010
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The Only Constant

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

—Margaret Mead

very once in a while, you've got to stop and look around you, and then marvel at how much things change—and how quickly.

When I think about my own time spent in recreation and sports facilities as a child and teenager, what I remember is the playground, the summer theater, the big open concrete room where we went to Halloween parties and preschool activities, and summer camp, with its pool, shuffleboard courts and croquet games.

Reading the features in this issue—covering the latest trends in splash play (see page 14), climbing walls (see page 24) and green facilities (see page 20)—I was stricken by how much has changed since those fun-filled days of my own childhood.

Did climbing walls even exist back then? If they did, I didn't know about it. Likewise with splash play, a relatively recent development, and now on the to-do list for many parks and recreation facilities across the country looking to jump on this trendy bandwagon. And while the '70s may have witnessed the first-ever Earth Day, the development of greener buildings and landscapes also has recently gained a lot more steam.

This month we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. In parks, recreation centers, sports facilities and fitness centers across the country, people will be thinking about how their actions impact the planet. A lot has changed about those facilities to help improve their efficiency, reduce their use of precious resources and fit just a little better into their surrounding environment. You may think it takes a hefty investment to turn your own facility a little greener, but you might be surprised by how small steps can make a big difference.

Speaking of small steps, you're in for another surprise. Turn to page 42, and you'll find our "Before You Go…" column, which highlights how one park agency took a lot of tiny steps to save big money. Six figures' worth. All through individuals making small changes.

It boggles the mind sometimes to consider the pace of change in the world today. But that's not to say that I long for the days of my youth, though I do sometimes feel wistful for the time when kids didn't have schedules to rival any CEO's weekly list of meetings.

No, I can recognize that much of the change that has taken place over the past several decades means that my own daughter has a lot more opportunities than I did—to be involved in a wider variety of sports and other programs, to play in more ways on safer playgrounds (ours was built over asphalt), to splash and play, to climb, to swim and have fun in facilities that are a little easier on the earth.

And the thing about change? It never stops. Nor should we want it to. When my daughter, who celebrates her fourth birthday this month, is my age, what will she look back on from her own childhood and think, wow things sure are different. What opportunities will the next generation have that we can't even fathom today? And the generation after that?

It's a funny thing. Most of the time, we're hunkered down in our day-to-day lives, doing the hard work that we all do. And we don't even realize how that work might be impacting the future. How what we do every day can enable other changes to take place that might not have happened.

What I'm saying here is: You matter. Every last one of you. You make a difference, whether you intend to or not.

Now let's all go out there and change the world!


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director

Correction Corner

In the March issue's story "Pointing to the Future" about The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, we mistakenly omitted the associated firms that worked on the project design. Barker Rinker Seacat served as design architect for the facility with Architects West as architect-of-record. And on the Salem, Ore., Kroc Center, Barker Rinker Seacat served as architect-of-record with CB2 as associate design architect. We regret the omission.


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