Kids United Playground Fundraising Event: Kicks Off With 3 On 3 Basketball Tournament On Saturday, April 13
The grounds of the Stevens Primary School, 1150 Louisa Street, Williamsport will be a buzz of activity on Saturday, April 13, when an event to kick-off fundraising efforts to construct a new playground under the auspices of the Kids United program takes place. The activities that day, beginning at 8 a.m. will include a Community
The grounds of the Stevens Primary School, 1150 Louisa Street, Williamsport will be a buzz of activity on Saturday, April 13, when an event to kick-off fundraising efforts to construct a new playground under the auspices of the Kids United program takes place. The activities that day, beginning at 8 a.m. will include a Community Cleanup from 8 to 11 a.m., a 3 on 3 basketball tournament from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a Community Celebration from 12:30 to 6 p.m.
According to Spencer Sweeting, a member of the group spearheading the Kids United Playground effort, The Kids United Community Playground is a collaborative project bringing together local community organizations to build a positive, healthy, fun environment inspiring our whole community to learn, imagine and play together. This partnership is led by the Kiwanis Club of Williamsport and the Rotary Club of Williamsport and is in collaboration with the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation.
The estimated cost for this project is $400,000. Cost includes preparing the area, playground features, installation, and landscaping. Five percent of the cost includes consultant fees. Their team has already secured a Matching Funds Hero’s Grant, leaving a balance of $275,000.
A mission statement about the project states in part: “In 2015, a core team of community-minded individuals came together on a common dream of building a community playground that would be inclusive for all kids of all abilities and backgrounds. While Lycoming County has over 20 parks for play, recreation or both, we are missing a truly inclusive environment. Our desire is to create a playground where disabilities disappear, and inclusive play is promoted for all children, enhancing the quality of life of children and families through fitness and socialization.
“Kids United Community Playground will feature equipment that contributes to the 5 Elements of Inclusive Play. The structure will include poured rubber flooring, and accessible ramps for wheelchairs and other assistive devices, providing access to all levels. The playground will include traditional equipment as well as structures that encourage cognitive and imaginative play, fitness and instrumental activities, including: Sensory Panels, Whirl with Me, Oval Swing, Conga Drums, Reflection Swing, Max Climb Summit, and the Rock ’n Wave.”
The 5 Elements of Inclusive Play are:
As children play together they learn to cooperate, take turns, and engage in meaningful dramatic and imaginative play experiences, which create lifelong memories. Providing a place for children to feel emotionally secure allows them to belong and to choose how and when to engage in play.
All children need opportunities to be physically active through play; play environments that provide a variety of developmentally appropriate activities offer healthy risk, challenge children of all abilities, and create places where everyone wants to play.
Play is most meaningful in sensory-rich environments that encourage discovery and exploration. Sensory play through tactile, visual, auditory and olfactory experiences helps children understand the world around them.
Children learn through play and interacting with people and the world around them. Supporting intuitive play behaviors that stimulate development can help keep children engaged in meaningful play for longer periods of time. Opportunities for children to problem solve, think abstractly, and develop cause and effect skills help provide unique hands on opportunities to bring learning outside.
Playgrounds can support the development of receptive and expressive language, allowing children to demonstrate knowledge and expressions. Language development occurs through natural play behaviors and routines and is enhanced through developmentally appropriate play elements, loose parts, and outdoor programming.
Kids United Community Playground is about community, and so they are inviting the community to help them make this dream come true by donating through the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations, of all sizes, are tax-deductible and appreciated.
“I think it’s exciting to see how the community has already rallied around the Kids United Playground project, and we’re just getting started,” Sweeting told Webb Weekly. “It’s a true community partnership. Kiwanis and Rotary — which have always enjoyed a playful rivalry — are collaborating to make this happen. The Williamsport Area School District has gotten behind this and provided real resources to make this a reality — ideally located property, long-term maintenance and care, and more. Individuals like Ron Diemer and organizations like the Genetti Hotel have seen the value of the project, and have organized great events to rally people to this great cause. The community partnership being formed around the project is really beautiful.”
He said the Kids United Community Playground would be a genuinely inclusive playground environment, and we’re seeking to bring the whole community together to make it happen.
“One of the chief benefits of an inclusive playground is disabilities disappear. And we’re not just talking about obvious physical challenges, but these playgrounds take into account unique cognitive, sensory, social, and communicative abilities of every child,” Sweeting said. “This is about creating space where all children can learn, imagine, and play together.”
He continued, “The community is coming together to offer our very best for the kids and families who often get our least. We have kids of every ability, background, and economic status in mind — that’s Kids United. Our goal is not simply to create a fantastic playground for all kids, but to be an active part of the generational transformation in our community.”
The Community Cleanup will take place from 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. Volunteers will meet up at Stevens Primary and clean up the school area and surrounding neighborhood. This will be a great chance for locals to meet their neighbors while beautifying the neighborhood.
The 3 on 3 tournament will take place at Firetree place, 600 Campbell St., Williamsport from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Early registration is $45/team with a guaranteed team t-shirt. Event day registration is $60/team. You can contact Ron Diemer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-752-2188 for more information or to register.
Running concurrently with the tournament, volunteers and neighborhood residents may join for an afternoon of celebrating their community in coming together for a brighter future. There will be a Community Celebration that includes food, crafts, educational workshops, music and a variety of activities for kids and families. This part will take place from 12:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., and will also be held at Firetree Place.
Kids United Community Playground will be a true asset to the Williamsport area and beyond, offering several benefits to our community:
• Sense of community
• Promotion of health
• Rally point for children, parents and businesses
• Inclusion and diversity
• Essential building blocks for education and imagination
If you wish to donate to the Kids United Stevens Playground Project, you can make a secure online donation to the Stevens Playground Project using https://www.wasdeducationfoundation.org/give/stevens-playground-donation-page.html. If you prefer, you can mail a gift to WASDEF at 2780 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, PA 17701, or call 570-327-5500, ext. 40602, for more information.
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