“Playing and pretending are like a halfway house between inner and outer reality.
This leads on to play and to imagine a playground in the mind and on to the adult capacity to give the inner playing and imagery an outer form in terms of enriched work and living.
It could be said that the quality of life depends on how far we are able to play out and live what is within us.”
– Sidoli and Davis
SCV Adventure Play Foundation believes that physical and mental space for self-directed play is an essential piece of a healthy and happy life, as well as access to nature, a supportive community, and a measure of the benefits of risk.
We advocate for these beliefs by facilitating both permanent and temporary self-directed play spaces staffed by playworkers and equipped with open-ended play materials. In addition, we offer public outreach, consultations and educational workshops to support larger cultural acceptance of self-directed play.
WHAT IS AN ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND?
Adventure playgrounds got their start in 1930's Europe when Dutch Landscape Architect, Carl Theodor Sørensen discovered children were more inclined to play in rubble from bombed structures than his playgrounds. This spurred a re-contextualization of what adults think children need to play and what children actually need to play.
In America, the spirit of an adventure playground is similar to what many past generations experienced as they played in vacant lots or open spaces in their community without adult supervision.
Playing with whatever materials we could find, frames of play were created by those who were there at any given moment. Freedom and the ability to take risks, work out our issues with peers, and have the permission to be independent, were major elements in how many of us built our own sense of autonomy and to think critically on our own.
Our hope is to create these spaces again for today's often over structured youth and adults.
In our adventure playgrounds, we offer building and creating materials called “LOOSE PARTS”. These parts are open ended, they do not have a specific use to play (think recyclables) and the players can use and manipulate them however they want.
At an adventure playground, the entire space is altered, adjusted, created and re-created every single time by the individuals who play there. Players take charge of problem solving, risk taking, working and existing together to form their own one-of-a-kind play space
Since adventure playgrounds organically shift with the ideas of those at play, the space needs to be ready for anything. This is where our PLAYWORKERS come in. Playworkers are there to keep the players safe, but in addition are trained to anticipate their needs and interfere as little as possible. Unless the player(s) ask the playworkers to join in, the ultimate goal is making the space feel as if adults aren’t there at all.
In simple terms...
LOOSE PARTS + PLAYWORKERS +
SELF-DIRECTION = ADVENTURE PLAY
WHO WE ARE
SCV Adventure PlayFoundation was formed as Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play in 2014 by then reality TV editor, Jeremiah Dockray and his wife Erica Larsen, media arts & animation teaching artist. Their first event was a community wide pop-up adventure playground as part of Pop-up Adventure Play's 2014 US Tour. Shortly before that, Jeremiah discovered a 30 year abandoned park just a mile and half down the road from their new home in Val Verde, CA which is now the home of the Eureka Villa Adventure Playground. Since then, Jeremiah and Erica have gradually transitioned this "side project" into their full-time work and passion. They are devoted to building the 7th adventure playground in the US and creating a channel for more individuals to be exposed to adventure playgrounds and gain awareness playwork and the importance of self-directed play.
Check out our pages below for more on how we got started, our playworkers, books and media we have been included in and written meanderings of this ongoing journey.