Author Archive

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Summer is officially here, signaling the time to get outside to hike, bike and play. Launched last year as a go-to-guide for everything outdoors in Wichita, the online resource has significantly expanded to include all parks and recreation spaces in the state. Now no matter where you live in Kansas, it has never been easier to find new places to “go play.”

“What started as a local effort to get people outdoors and more active has gone statewide,” said Suzie Ahlstrand, vice president for community advancement at the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and coordinator for Visioneering Wichita, a community planning process that spearheaded the effort through its Recreation Alliance.

Visitors can go to to find interactive maps and more information about how to locate bike paths, parks with playgrounds and a list of park amenities.  In addition, visitors can read blogs written by local recreation enthusiasts, post comments and sign up to receive more information.

Designed to promote healthy lifestyles among Kansans, makes finding parks and recreation options throughout the state easy, so families, friends, groups and individuals can get outside and “go play.”

“We really have a tremendous number of assets that can be found in our local and state parks and we want them to be discovered,” said Doug Vance, executive director of the Kansas Recreation and Park Association.  “The GoPlayKansas website is a great way to easily locate these resources, and more importantly to get out and engage in some fun and healthy activities.”

The site also includes a list of activities that can be used to get kids outside and active. The activities were developed by Rhonda Holt, elementary physical education teacher for 33 years and a National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. The plans are endorsed by KAHPERD (Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance), a leader in promoting and advocating for healthy, active Kansans.

“These plans are designed with specific ages in mind, and with the intention that a healthy lifestyle starts early and can last a lifetime,” said Vicki Worrell, executive director of KAHPERD and president of the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. “This is a tremendous resource for the people of Kansas – and for those visiting the state. We hope everyone finds a way to use it.”

Worrell added that the site also is in line with the newly released National Physical Activity Plan, which encourages all individuals and families to be physically active.

“It is exciting to see Kansas really be on the leading edge with this type of initiative,” she said.
Designed and programmed by Wichita interactive agency Howerton+White, the site uses social media technologies to translate GIS (geographic information systems) data about parks, recreation and open spaces, which reside in databases in cities and counties across the state.
To follow on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook, go to

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

The Recreation Alliance – creating a unifying sense of community regional identity – a sense of place that defines what’s there, who’s there and what’s going on. 


The Visioneering process distilled thousands of individual inputs and research told us we have incredible happenings and important assets in our region but we are not aware of what each other are doing or what the amenities are. 


The Recreation Alliance started several years ago with 30 participants representing municipalities and community groups throughout the metro area interested in laying the foundation for the development of a regional, comprehensive recreation plan for the area. 


Our sense of the community’s unmet needs in recreation was how to integrate our rich social, recreational informational and knowledge networks and couple that with higher levels of connectedness.  Built upon the super-infrastructure of Visioneering Wichita, we wanted to leverage new energy and optimism as we engaged and connected with our south-central recreational assets through technology.


Specifically we wanted to find out how to get people out into parks, recreation and open spaces (PROS) – both as a way to increase physical activity but also to become more involved in their physical surroundings and to be come advocates for improved facilities in their community.  Social media technologies provided an answer to translating GIS data, as well as mobilizing people to use their PROS places.


Thus, instead of a static comprehensive recreation plan for south-central Kansas that would reside on a shelf – the dream of implementing a website called GoPlayKansas began to form.  This project will use social media platforms to deliver relevant information on demand to people in Kansas –focusing first on those in Wichita and Sedgwick County.  As a result, there is an opportunity for our communities and citizens to communicate, congregate and collaborate in ways that will benefit individual and community health. 

Visioneering Wichita is the place where we work together on a common vision for our future.

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

We’re united.  We make things happen.  Together.


The Visioneering Wichita initiative is, at its core, about the individual power of thinking and working together differently to improve the overall “vitality and zest” of the region.  From its inception in 2004, Visioneering Wichita intentionally built collaborative and empowered partnerships to ensure that ownership of the plan truly belonged to the citizens of south-central Kansas.  This transparent and inclusionary process has laid a foundation of trust and success and success has breed support and commitment


The goals are simple:

  • Provide the space where citizens can give their input in developing the future;
  • Construct a “people climate” that supplies the super glue connecting personal interests with community resources and;
  • Create a unifying sense of community identity – a sense of place that defines what’s there, who’s there and what’s going on.


Visioneering Wichita is the place where we work together on a common vision for our future.