Pocono Raceway partnered with KultureCity to assist Pocono Raceway to become the first motorsports facility in the world to be sensory inclusive. This partnership compliments the #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground project, which will be completed prior to the Pocono 400 this year in 2018. The #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground was designed for children of all ages and abilities to learn, grow and play together.
The relationship between Kulture City and Pocono Raceway began after The NASCAR Foundation named Julian Maha, M.D., and KultureCity as the winners of the 2017 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide in Las Vegas in November. KultureCity received a $100,000 donation following the online fan voted conducted on NASCAR.com.
“Today’s announcement brings great joy to our entire staff and added appreciation to everyone at KultureCity for assisting us with our new initiatives,” said Nick Igdalsky, Pocono Raceway CEO and Mattioli Foundation Director. “Our company’s vision is to become the most beloved motorsports facility by exceeding expectations in guest services, entertainment and value while embracing our uniqueness and character. The creation of the #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground, coupled with the remarkable assistance from KultureCity, are huge steps towards achieve this vision. These initiatives also ensure guests of all abilities, and those with any sensory sensitivities, will receive the best overall experience and customer service our staff can provide.”
KultureCity will also assist the Raceway to promote an accommodation and positive experience for all guest and fans with sensory issues that may visit ‘The Tricky Triangle’ throughout the year. KultureCity, through a certification process and with leading medical professionals, will provide training to select Pocono Raceway staff members on how to recognize and handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise cancelling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads will also be available to all guests who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Fans will also have access to two dedicated sensory rooms, one located behind the Grandstand and one located in the Infield, for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment. Additionally, a private lactation room will be available for nursing mothers near the sensory room behind the Grandstand.
Sensory sensitivities, or challenges with sensory regulation, are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part in a sporting venue like Pocono Raceway. With its new certification, Pocono Raceway will be better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible.
“To know that you soon will be able to see families attend a NASCAR event, a true community binding experience, with their loved ones who have a sensory challenge and who were not able to previously attend, is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Traci Johnson, Executive Director, KultureCity. “Our communities are what shapes our lives and to know that Pocono Raceway is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
The recently renamed #POCONOMTNS Inclusive Playground will be open to all camping guests during Pocono Raceway’s NASCAR and INDYCAR race weekend. Additionally, and in partnership with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, the playground will be open for the local community to use free of charge. For additional information about the playground, please visit www.poconoraceway.com/playground.