About Us

The US PLAY Coalition: A Partnership to Promote the Value of Play throughout Life is made up of individuals, organizations and businesses that recognize play as a valuable and necessary part of a healthy and productive life. Our membership is diverse - park and recreation professionals, educators, researchers, health scientists, landscape architects, business leaders, psychologists, physicians, parents, artists and many more. The US Play Coalition is housed within Clemson University’s College of Health, Education and Human Development. We are grateful to the university and the college for their continuing support.

The Coalition was born of The Summit on the Value of Play which took place at Clemson University in the Summer of 2009. The attendees at this important summit made a commitment to create a coalition whose purpose would be to bring together organizations and individuals in support of play and to open up opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to incorporate play into their lives.

The US PLAY Coalition has created 7 committees that each work to support play through various means. See the "Action Committees" menu above to learn more about these committees. The U.S. Play Coalition also hosts an annual Conference on the Value of Play.

US Play Coalition Steering Committee


  • Brett Wright, PhD, Chair, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management, Clemson University - wright@clemson.edu
  • Fran P. Mainella, Visiting Scholar, Clemson University, Former National Park Service Director - fmainel@clemson.edu

Executive Director

  • Stephanie Garst - spgarst@clemson.edu

Steering Committee

  • Jodie Adams - Past President of NRPA, Director of Springfield-Greene County Park Board in Springfield, MO - jadams5557@aol.com
  • Joel Agate, PhD - Assistant Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies, SUNY College at Brockport - jagate@brockport.edu
  • Larry Allen, PhD - Professor, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Clemson University - lalln@clemson.edu
  • Joan Almon - Alliance for Childhood, joan.almon@verizon.net
  • Richard J. Dolesh - Chief of Public Policy, National Recreation and Park Association - rdolesh@nrpa.org
  • Jackie Epping - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - jge5@cdc.gov
  • Joe Frost, Ed.D., L.H.D.- Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus, University of Texas - jfrost@mail.utexas.edu
  • Stephen Hamelin - President & CEO, Vortex Aquatic Structures - shamelin@vortex-intl.com
  • Dan Hendy - CPSI, Site Masters Inc. - danh@sitemastersinc.com
  • Teri Hendy - CPSI, President, Site Masters Inc. - teri@sitemastersinc.com
  • Tom Kalousek - Director, Safe Play for All - tkalou@aol.com
  • Ingrid M. Kanics - OTR/L, Kanics Inclusive Design Services LLC, inclusiveplay@mindspring.com
  • Kenneth S. Kutska - Executive Director, International Playground Safety Institute, LLC - kskutska@aol.com
  • Tony Malkusak - ASLA, CPSI, President and Landscape Architect for Abundant Playscapes, Inc., antonio@abundantplayscapes.com
  • Danielle Marshall - Executive Director, Girls on the Run of Central Maryland - danielle.marshall@girlsontherun.org
  • Tom Norquist - Senior Vice President Product Development/Sales & Marketing - PlayCore/GameTime - tomn@gametime.com
  • Eric W. O’Brien - Chairman, O’Brien & Sons, Inc. - eric@obrienandsons.com
  • Lynn Pinoniemi - Director of Marketing, Landscape Structures, lynnpinoniemi@playlsi.com
  • Peggy Riggs, EdD - Co-Director of Brio2 Solutions, priggs1732@gmail.com
  • Dee Stegelin, PhD - Professor, Teacher Education, Eugene T. Moore School of Education, Clemson University - dstegel@clemson.edu
  • Michael Suk, MD, JD, MPH - Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA - msuk@geisinger.edu
  • Rita Watts - Playground Professionals – rita@playgroundprofessionals.com



"Play Time" exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art - May 22 to September 6 - The contemporary art show Play Time poses a serious question about a seemingly unserious topic: Is play—the spontaneous, unstructured time found to foster creativity and problem-solving skills—strictly for kids?

  • » View this event
  • Sacramento Play Summit - September 12 - The 3rd annual Sacramento Play Summit, presented by Fairytale Town, the Sacramento Public Library and ScholarShare Speaks, aims to highlight the importance of play, the many types of play, ways to incorporate play into daily and school life, and more.

  • » View this event
  • Playground Maintenance Training in Sherwood, OR - October 1 to October 2 - The Playground Maintenance Certificate of Completion Program is an affordable, entry-level program to provide the knowledge required to perform regular inspections of play spaces. The two-day multimedia training program delivers practical information through print resources, presentations, and hands-on training. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive a Certificate of Completion which serves as evidence of their newly acquired skill and knowledge. Email pmt@clemson.edu for details.

    International Walk to School Day 2015 - October 7 - International Walk to School Day 2015 will fall on Wednesday, October 7th. Communities and schools are using Walk to School Day as the first step to change community culture and to create options for getting around that are more inviting for everyone, both young and old.