Central Ohio LNCI “Dirt Pile” Group Strategy Meeting Report!

April 1, 2009 kidsandnature DiversityEducation/SchoolsMental and Behavioral HealthOctober Action ItemsParentingParks and LandPhysical ActivitySpiritual and ReligiousStatewide

Central Ohio LNCI “Dirt Pile” Group Strategy Meeting
Columbus Metro Parks Headquarters
Thursday March 26 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Attending: Sue Alexander, Alice Hohl, Jennifer Kramer, Judi Levicoff, Betsy Loeb, Kezia Sproat

Using the Alvarez diamond diagnostic tool, which balances mission, structure, resources and power, the group agreed

1. The “Dirt Pile” group mission was/is defined by the guiding question posed at the Sept 2008 Summit of the Central Ohio LNCI Collaborative: i.e., to provide more opportunities for daily unstructured outdoor play.
2. No new structure is needed; for many reasons, we definitely do not want to form another organization.
3. [As in #1 above] Our goal is to continue prompting commitment to “dirt pile” creation by many different entities, including neighborhood groups, churches, families, so the dirt pile idea “catches on” and grows freely.
4. To move toward this goal, we have huge resources:

* the 58 organizations in the Central Ohio collaborative and their PR staff
* our own passion for the mission
* favorable national political climate, including backlash v. No Child Left Behind
* many supportive research studies completed and organized on websites
* several [film, video, audio] presentations produced and ready to go
* boom in birth rate
* public commitment to stop obesity epidemic
* Community Gardens program up and running well in Columbus
* Land available (Columbus Redevelopment Office)
* Dirt (several places in the world have very little of this resource)
* Columbus Public Schools
* Model of successful grassroots/wide (as opposed to common top-down) campaign in the recent election

1. As a catalyst group, our ongoing, continuing action is to encourage existing organizations (MVADIA Mount Vernon Avenue District Improvement Association, SCOPS South Central Ohio Preservation Society, COSI, King Arts, Community Gardens, Columbus Public Schools, Neighborhood organizations) to create “dirt pile” unstructured play areas.
2. We will ask Bill Dawson to add a few minutes during the Community Garden training sessions, to tell how & why to include an unstructured children’s play area in their gardens.
3. Alice roughed out a poster design that educates visually. We agreed it’s a “grabber” that can be a key image in a public education campaign, put on the web for downloading and printing by LNCI Collaborative members and others. Pending funding, it can also go on billboards.
4. Project Love, SCOPS, and Mount Vernon Avenue District Improvement Association will focus on making a demonstration model dirt pile in the abandoned swimming pool at Mt. Vernon Plaza, hopefully to be completed by summer.
5. COSI is looking into obtaining funding and approval to create an unstructured playspace, with future possibilities of documenting the process and creating a tool kit for replication aimed toward the museum industry.

Notes by Kezia Sproat

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