Our Park & Recreation Story
July is Park and Recreation Month and the theme for this year is “Our Park and Recreation Story.” Parks and recreation spaces are essential to life and we are proud to be part of an industry that makes a positive impact on people of all ages and abilities around the world and helps them create their stories. In the spirit of storytelling, we will share “Our Park and Recreation Story” – a unique unfolding of a company that you could say began in a barn. That may be an exaggeration, but it did begin on a family farm back in 1920 as a weather-stripping company with J.E. Burke at the helm. At the request of a family friend, he fabricated a slide and a playground company was born. BCI Burke still designs and manufactures playgrounds on the same land where the company was born more than 100 years ago. Since that time, so much has changed that helped us develop our story and create our “Play That Moves You” rally call.
The story we’re sharing isn’t that of a company – it’s that of a movement and a passion to bring play to play to communities around the world. When we say community, we mean everyone in the community – people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. Which brings us to one of our favorite Park and Recreation Stories – one that still inspires and moves us. It began when we were at a local park doing some observational research and noticed a boy using a wheelchair watching as his friends were swinging. After observing and speaking with the mom and boy, we learned he couldn’t use the swings and, while he could use some swings, no swing offered him the independence to not only transfer himself onto the swing with little to no assistance, but to swing himself. So he always had to rely on someone to be part of his swinging experience. This situation was counter to research that told us children like to have some level of control over their play experience. Thus, the beginning of the Brava Universal Swing. A swing designed to create an equitable swinging experience for people of all abilities. Inspired by our conversations with the boy and his mom, we rallied up and decided this was the next part of our movement. The goal – a swing where children using mobility devices could easily transfer and swing themselves and a place where all children would want to gather, swing, socialize and play together. With the help of this special boy and his mom, we began the design and testing process. The Brava Universal Swing is based on the Seven Principles of Universal Design and the idea that it would be wheelchair accessible but also be the “it” place to be and play. It worked. Our new friend came to test out the swing throughout the process and, at the end, he experienced something for the first time – the ability to independently transfer into the swing and swing himself using his upper body and core. The look of joy and pride on his face is the reason we’re so passionate about play. There is more to this story of beginnings and we can’t wait to share it with you. Check out the Brava Universal Swing on Vimeo, meet our favorite product consultant and see how this swing is designed for inclusive play.