Volunteers build YMCA playgroundPublished 9:40pm Monday, October 7, 2013
Taylor Bend Family YMCA experienced a whirlwind culminating in a new playground Saturday when almost 200 volunteers came together for a one-day build event.
The 2,500-square-foot multi-generational playground is thanks to national nonprofit KaBOOM!, which has developed or improved more than 15,000 playgrounds, and health insurer Humana.
“We have a four-year partnership (with KaBOOM!) to build 50 playgrounds,” said Neil Steffens, Humana’s Mid Atlantic vice president.
A lot of preparation was accomplished overnight Friday, he said, with the KaBOOM! team trucking in the materials.
Volunteers were split into teams, Steffens explained, with each team assigned a different task.
“What’s important, this is a multi-generational space,” he said. “There’s going to be some traditional kids equipment, but also places for adults and seniors to gather.”
Local children were summoned to the Y in August to help design the playground, expressing their wishes on paper with crayons.
“We are building their vision here today,” he said.
Kelly Bridgman, its executive director, said the playground marked an important milestone in the 6-year-old Y’s transition from a health facility for adults, to “a fully-fledged family Y.”
“There’s almost 200 people here today,” Bridgman said. “That’s unbelievable. A lot of them are not tied to the Y — they’re just people from the community.”
Work Saturday got under way with gusto, folks bolting play equipment together and shoveling mulch into wheelbarrows, for instance, at a frenetic pace.
One volunteer, Rick Matthews, was a concreter for the day. “I look forward to the challenge,” he said.
Lindsey Everett was given the duty of shoveling mulch. “I think it’s really important that kids get an opportunity to play outside,” she said.
“I have a 1-year-old, so I’m very excited to bring him here. He loves to go down the slide.”
Barbara Keaton, yet another volunteer, was with Matthews concreting. Keaton said she visits the Y almost every day for Zumba.
“We have a little grandson, and that’s why we decided to come and give our time back to the community,” she said.