Service Project Update 2 : Playground

Emily and I have been getting more and more excited about our playground service project.  We have contacted Tamarin Simpson, founder of The Tippy Toes Foundation in South Africa and Terri Johnson, director of Academic Affairs at Quinnipiac University.  Both women gave us a plethora of suggestions and ideas and we couldn’t be more grateful.

When speaking to Tamarin, she informed us about what kind of playground we should be aiming towards.  Although in her latest email, her idea was somewhat “over the top”, we still took away valuable suggestions.

Before talking to Tamarin, we did not think about the conditions of the wood that we are planning to use.  We must remember that the wood we use must be smoothed and treated for different weather conditions.  Although this seems like a minor issue, it can become a significant problem if it was not taken into consideration before approaching the project.

Terri Johnson also gave worthwhile suggestions, ideas, and advice.  She showed us some pictures of the service projects that she worked on in Costa Rica and told us what we should keep in mind before and while building it:

First, she told us that we must put the cement down first and wait for it to harden before doing anything else.   Second, Terri suggested that we find a reliable and loyal source living in the community that will store the equipment to prevent stolen or lost items.  Because Emily and I are planning on bringing balls and sport equipment for the children to play with, the items must be put in a safe place when the kids are not playing with them.  Third, she gave us more ideas to how we can approach the project.  We plan to make different obstacle courses utilizing tires so that the kids can play on them and Terri gave us many ideas and pictures relating to this.

Since last week, Emily and I have come up with an outline, a sketch, and a budget of building a playground.

We plan to build about 2 or 3 tetherball sets, using wood (or pipes), rope, tires, cement, and a tetherball.  After researching the price of these items, the only things that we will have to buy are the tetherball and rope.  The tires, wood, and cement will be in South Africa when we arrive.  Therefore, it will cost us approximately $50.00.

In addition, Emily and I are going to set up a tire obstacle course for the kids in the community.  We will put the cement on the bottom, setting the tire in place and then spray paint the top to decorate each tire.  This will not cost much because we will only need to buy spray paint.

Lastly, we are going to bring a badminton set, tennis balls, volleyballs, racquets, and birdies for the children to play.  We will be setting the net up and cementing it to the dirt so they will not have to worry about it falling over.  The badminton set along with the other items will cost us approximately $100.00.

There haven’t been many challenges that have come up thus far.  Emily and I seem to be on track with our project and where we stand as of right now.  However, we are still working out the exact costs and the exact design so when we get there we will know exactly what we are going to do.  We are having some trouble thinking about the “little things” such as the weather conditions and if the equipment will last when we’re gone.  However, after talking to Tamarin and Terri, we have been figuring out solutions and answers to each problem.

Overall, Emily and I have been discussing and working hard to make an exact plan and outline for our playground service project.  We are very thankful for Tamarin and Terri for giving us the advice they did.  We are so excited to get started with the playground and truly make a difference in the kid’s lives.


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