Take a moment to think back to when you were a child and recall when and where some of your favorite childhood memories occurred.

If you're like me, playing on the playground was the first thing that popped into your mind. Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to be a playground. It could be a swimming pool or a sandlot baseball field or a hiking trail or anywhere where children were allowed to be children so that they could run around, have fun and play.

For a host of reasons, I believe most have forgotten just how critical play is for children. Studies continue to indicate that children who engage in an ample amount of play during the course of a day are apt to be fitter, healthier and perform better in school.

We take play among our children quite seriously, which is why it gives me great satisfaction to inform residents that national nonprofit KaBOOM! recognized York as one of 93 Playful City USA communities for the second straight year in 2009. This program honors cities and towns across the country like York who are making a commitment to the importance of play and the well-being of children.

In York, our leadership has taken important steps to ensure that our children have access to quality places to play. To increase the number of opportunities for play, the York Bring On Play Committee (BOP) will coordinate with Downtown, Inc. to discuss opportunities to include play in First Fridays.


The project could potentially include sponsors that provide play activities during First Friday events in downtown York. Additionally, the city will work to coordinate with local organizations to find and promote free opportunities for play, including the development of a community calendar for free playful activities.

York's second annual Day of Play will be held Aug. 3, at Lincoln Park in conjunction with the dedication of the newly remodeled playground. The next city park to have a playground refurbished by the BOP initiative will also be announced.

Through the Playful City USA program, York serves as a role model to other communities across the country. Other cities and towns will examine our initiatives and look to replicate them in their communities. This recognition is a true honor and all York residents should take pride knowing that what we do right here is not only making a difference for our children, but likely will benefit children across the country.

You can learn more about our programs at www.yorkcity.org or by calling York City Recreation at 854-1587.

John S. Brenner is Mayor of the City of York.