On July 18, in a special ceremony at the White House, representatives from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) accepted the U.S. Department of the Interior’s prestigious National Volunteer Award — Non-Profit Organization in the 2011 Take Pride in America Awards. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar awarded the AAOS as an “outstanding non-profit organization” for the medical society’s one-day playground build in San Diego, which was built on February 15, 2011. This is the first time a medical association has won a Take Pride in America Award. With this initiative, and to honor the host city of the AAOS’ 2011 Annual Meeting, the Academy aimed to provide a safe place for children and families living with and without disabilities to play and get stronger together.
Take Pride in America is a nationwide partnership program authorized by Congress to promote and appreciate the stewardship of our nation’s public lands. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior for the benefit of all public lands and recognizes and honors outstanding and creative volunteer initiatives. This year, 14 individuals and organizations have been honored in separate categories.
“The Spring Valley Family Fitness and Fun Park is the legacy we were honored to leave at our 2011 Annual Meeting. In just seven hours we created a safe place for three generations to get fit and have fun together. On behalf of the Academy’s 36,000 members, I would like to thank the U.S. Department of the Interior for recognizing the Academy and our partner, KABOOM! with this award,” said AAOS second vice president, Joshua Jacobs, MD.
For the Spring Valley park build, 600 volunteers, including orthopaedic surgeons, medical professionals, donors, community members and representatives from KABOOM!, — the Academy’s long-term build partner — came together to dig, paint and construct a park on a vacant piece of land next to the Spring Valley Youth and East Communities Center.
“The Academy made a commitment to build Safe and Accessible Playgrounds in 2000 and thanks to our volunteers, members, staff and supporters, that one park has turned into 12, with a 13th in the works. The reward is seeing the children and families of the community enjoy the park and knowing we built it to be safe and lasting,” said AAOS CEO Karen Hackett, FACHE, CAE.
About the 2011 Build in San Diego’s Spring Valley
The Family Fitness and Fun Park contains features above and beyond an average park. This project transformed the grounds into a 6,100 square-foot community gathering spot designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities, which is critical to the continued use of any public facility.
This park features two separate playgrounds: one designed for children ages 2-5 and another for children ages 5-12. In addition, the Park includes a quarter-mile walking/running trail and seven exercise stations where community members can perform balance, flexibility, and strength-training exercises.
The History of the AAOS Playground Build Program
Since 2000, the Academy’s annual volunteer build project—the award-winning Safe, Accessible Playground building program in partnership withKaBOOM!—has provided an opportunity to visibly support playground safety and give something back to the communities we serve and in which we meet by helping with the construction of a safe and wheelchair-accessible play structure for children.
Orthopaedic surgeons are the physicians who treat many people with physical disabilities. They see first-hand the fractures, dislocations and other results of playground injuries and falls. The parks will offer children, parents and seniors exercise opportunities for balance, flexibility, and strength to help reduce and prevent falls, build strong bones and give those recovering from joint replacement a safe place to exercise. For more information, visitwww.aaos.org/playground.