During a recent CHART meeting, one of our fabulous Parks and Recreation directors discussed the need to tune into young people's current interests and language in an effort to engage them more effectively. During the conversation she mentioned the growing Parkour phenomenon: Park...who??? Exactly my reaction when I first read the notes from that meeting!
And so off I went to start learning about this trendy sport that has been taking over social media channels frequented by teenagers and young adults. While first developed in France in the 1980's, deriving from military training courses, Parkour has been gaining popularity starting in the 1990's and 2000's. Parkour practitioners (a.k.a. traceurs) aim to get from A to B in the most efficient way possible. Parkour involves a strong reliance on the built environment and identifying the best ways for maintaining momentum and navigating around, across, through, over, and under its features by using the human body and movements such as running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling and more. While often taking place in urban settings, Parkour can also be practiced in nature and rural environments (follow the links to view traceurs in action!)
We are not quite sure about how prevalent Parkour is in our geographical area and are also not sure about how our communities are prepared (or not) to deal with the potentially growing numbers of traceurs. Here are some questions we are pondering:
- How do we balance the need for protecting the safety of individuals and public spaces, while also promoting active living and preventing chronic diseases?
- If Parkour is here to stay and more people become interested in it, how can we proactively jump on the bandwagon and support this movement, while also minimizing injuries?
- How do we plan public spaces and the built environment to include opportunities for play for all ages and interests?
- What kinds of active recreation programs can we offer for aspiring traceurs?
What are your thoughts? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org