Our 2015 was a big Pop-Up year. Even before the year draws to a close, the action doesn't stop! I am sitting at my desk having just recovered from a 36-hour power outage as a result of local floods. That alone seems to set the tone for our year of adventure! What else happened again? Oh yes...
We published a book - Our adventures from 2014 yielded us a book - The New Adventure Playground Movement: How Communities across the USA are Returning Risk and Freedom to Childhood - to be exact! We are really proud to have put this out still can't quite believe it has happened. Grab yourself a copy of it from us directly if you'd like one that's signed!
We went to Australia - (23,000 miles) For the first time ever, Morgan and I set foot in Australia and were greeted by the wonderful team at Malarkey. It was a great multi-stop adventure were we saw seemingly mythical creatures (kangaroos) and met play advocates who were keen to instill the importance of play in this giant hot country. It was an amazing journey in a beautiful country - we were so excited to be invited back again!
We went around the world - (37,000 miles) We didn't think it would be possible, but 6 countries on and 37,000miles later, we have traversed the earth in a big loopy loop. Our adventures took us from the UK to USA, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore and China before going back to the UK. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, done in two months - a feat which is normally pretty difficult for even the most savvy traveler. We can't believe that we took 16 flights, none of which were delayed and all of which flew us directly into the hands of wonderful hosts with passion for play. This was an amazing journey. Absolutely amazing.
Our Playworker Development Course continues to grow - Our course now has 150 students, and we have recruited some new tutors to help with the workload. We continue to evolve the course based on the needs of the students and are getting great feedback.
We worked locally - I was able to do some small pieces of work locally with a workshop and training in Blackpool and in Bradford. Though they were not big events, they kept me grounded, and reminded me of how important it is to always put theory into practice.
We made loads of new friends - So many new people have signed up to be Pop-Up Adventure Playground independent organisers. There are loads of guest blogposts available for you to read here and if you want to host your own, here's why you should register!
We were written about a few times - Some of the key pieces that other people wrote includes a piece on Atlas Obscura about playwork and adventure playgrounds, one by Bernie DeKoven about our book, and a niece mention in this NPR article. Mr Playgroundology wrote a nice piece about us too!
We were published a few times too - Morgan wrote a piece for the Community Design Collaborative and Team Pop-Ups was published in Play and Playgrounds Magazine, Winter 2015 edition! There's more of these to come soon!
So there you have it - that was our Pop-Up year. We have met and talked to so many people from all over the world and are excited to see the start of something awesome happening in play on a global scale. Thank you all for your continued support for our little organisation. We wouldn't be able to do any of this without you - keep on fighting the good fight for play!
To read more from Pop-Ups Zan, please visit her personal blog. For more information about our work, please visit www.popupadventureplay.org.