Hundreds of volunteers build playground in one day

Published On: May 25 2013 03:55:09 PM HST
Updated On: May 25 2013 04:27:53 PM HST
KAILUA, Hawaii -

Playground equipment totaling 2,500 square feet, 20 tons of safety surfacing and one day to build. That was the challenge for volunteers to create a play area for kids at the Windward YMCA.

It was organized chaos as more than 200 volunteers were turning an empty space at the Windward YMCA into a kid’s dream on Saturday.

“Herding cats. We’re herding cats today,” said Mike Doss, YMCA Hawaii executive director. “But we’ve got six hours to get this playground done and everybody’s committed to doing that.”

The question is -- who has the toughest job?

“So far, I think it’s the people who put this together,” said Antonio Alvarez, a Hawaii marine volunteer who was busy pouring cement for the playground’s foundation.

The design for the playground was based on drawings by children done back in February.

“They just get to draw on paper what they want in a playground and we take those elements and come together with what we’re going to build here today,” said Todd Apo, communications director for Aulani Disney Resort and Spa.

And little hands were busy too, painting a mural that will add color and a sense of connection to the play area.

“We have to do an ocean sea creature or a fruit,” said Jacqueline Chow, 7, as she was finishing her painting of a strawberry.

The Windward Y playground is the 2,292 playground built by KaBOOM! across the nation. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating a place to play within walking distance of every child in America. But it’s also more than that.

“It’s really a time to bring over 200 volunteers to come out and build a playground in six hours for these kids,” said Kristin Karcsh, project manager for KaBOOM!

“It’s team building right there for us. So that’s the best part of that,” said Ron Boverhuis, a volunteer with the U.S. Army.

Has there ever been a project not finished in a day?

“No. We finish all 2,292 builds,” said Karcsch.

In six hours, construction was complete, just in time for summer fun.

This is the third playground built for the Hawaii YMCA by the national organization KaBOOM! and one of more than 12 across the country supported by Disney this year.

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