Hay River Community Centre Indoor Playground

The Cause

The Town of Hay River Department of Recreation plans to purchase indoor playground equipment to construct an indoor playground in the Hay River Community Centre. This playground will be accessible year-round to all members of our community.
Hay River is a small community of approximately 3600 residents in the southern Northwest Territories. Hay River is an isolated community, with the closest urban center, Yellowknife, being 5 hours away. Due to Hay River’s geographical location, we experience approximately 6 months of winter, from October to March, when temperatures are below freezing and the landscape is snow covered. During this time, our average amount of daily sunlight is low, with approximately 6 -8 hours of sunlight per day. The low temperatures, combined with the lack of sunlight often has a negative effect on our residents and can lead to diagnoses of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It also has a negative impact on the children of our community, who are extremely limited in their recreational options.
Indoor playground equipment in the Hay River Community Centre, which is in the heart of our community, will provide our residents with a recreational gathering space to help them get through the long winter months. The indoor playground equipment that we are proposing will provide children of all ages a place to play and expend their pent-up energy, regardless of the weather conditions. It will provide families with an affordable and accessible year-round recreation option. Indoor playground equipment will help to promote physical activity in youth, even during the long, cold winter months when outdoor physical activity is limited and often impossible in our northern climate.
The addition of indoor playground equipment will also provide the Town of Hay River Department of Recreation the opportunity to expand programming offerings to include a Stay & Play program, which will offer parents of young children the opportunity to connect with one another while their children interact and play. This program will also feature mental health and emotional support components for parents who attend.
The proposed indoor playground equipment will serve as a legacy piece in our community and will add much needed infrastructure to our community.

Who Will it Benefit?

Indoor playground equipment would most benefit the youth of our community, who would have a safe, accessible year-round place to play. It would also benefit parents of young children in our community, as they would have a safe and accessible place to gather and connect with other parents while also providing their children with the opportunity for activity. Many families in our community are comprised of one stay-at-home parent and one parent who works away for extended periods of time in the diamond mines to the north. An indoor playground and subsequent programming made possible by its construction would provide these stay-at-home parents with additional opportunities for connection, mental health support and emotional support.
The addition of indoor playground equipment would also serve to benefit the many privately owned and operated day homes within our community by providing them with a space in which they can utilize free of charge with the children they care for on a year-round basis. It will provide day homes with an additional recreational option where the children they care for can be physically active through play.
Ultimately, indoor playground equipment would greatly benefit much of our community. The addition of indoor playground equipment would add much needed infrastructure to our community, which is lacking in year-round accessible facilities for children of all socio-economic statuses. Its location in the Hay River Community Centre would ensure that it would be available to all residents who enter the Community Centre, free of charge.