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Behind Spirit’s April Issue

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Southwest moves you to where you want to go. We at Southwest’s inflight magazine try to move you in other ways. Sometimes to tears. And usually on purpose. What else would you want from a magazine called Spirit?

Spirit

Well, this time we want to move people literally. As in, get you moving. Here’s how it started:

Some months ago, I got an email from a fellow Spiritista (that’s what I call my magazine teammates), reporting that Keen Footwear was trying to “bring back recess” for adults. They were starting an ad campaign, and my pal Hilary wondered whether we could offer some sort of editorial mention in return for advertising.

Usually I say no, but this time I got excited. I’m a passionate believer in playtime. And, after years of being made fun of for my tendency to throw stuff and bounce around the office, research backs me up. Periods of pointless, stupid fun are proving to be beneficial to the health of both body and brain, for adults as well as for kids.

I told Hilary, “We’ll do big stuff for them! In return, though, our readers should get Keen’s active participation. And free shoes!!” So Hilary and I, along with Kevin, our Creative Director, flew to Portland, Oregon, to meet the Keen people. The CEO and “Chief Recess Officer” of that company, James Curleigh, is a wild man who made me look unplayful in comparison. James insists that his co-workers play with toys. Several times a day.

The result of our collaboration is this month’s issue on “the art and science of play,” plus a regular play column every month. We recruited an expert panel, all under the age of 12, from around the nation. And, yes, we’re giving away Keen shoes.

Sure, Keen is trying to sell a product. But they’re also selling an important cause: bringing play to the workplace. (Check out their recess toolkit!) Play is one of Southwest’s not so hidden secrets. I think it should be everybody’s.