KaBOOM! News • page 106

High school senior and KaBOOM! Forum power user Sammy12 (AKA Samantha Furco) was just featured in her local newspaper discussing her work to try and build an accessible playground in Phoenix, N.Y.


Furco has contacted manufacturers of playground units specifically designed for children in wheelchairs and other disabled children. A suitable unit will cost about $50,000, she said.

To raise the money, Furco is planing a series of events, including raffles, donation drives and community fundraising dinners.

"The fundraising is not a problem. I can take care of that," she said. "But I need land, some place to put it. That's my biggest obstacle. Without that place to build, we can't do it."

So far, she said, her proposal has received polite responses but no promises of support. She also has tried several times, without success, to enlist the help of local officials.

"I've called and called, but they haven't returned my calls," Furco said. "I think it's because I'm 17 and they're not taking me seriously. That is one of the biggest obstacles my mother told me I would face. But she said, 'Stick to it and don't let it get you down.' " [More]

Since the article was published, someone has offered her the land!

August 08, 2008 KaBOOM!

Playgrounds and Experience Design

andDESIGN Blog
Aug. 6, 2008

Both David Rockwell and Frank Gehry are designing playgrounds for New York City. Playground design moves the typical design of an environment to more of a design of an experience.

Frank Gehry is one of the world's most influential architects famous for his metal-clad buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. He will be designing a playground for Battery Park in New York City.

David Rockwell, the founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, a Manhattan-based architectural firm, is best known for his work designing theaters, such as the Kodak in Los Angeles (home to the Oscars); high-end restaurants, such as the various Nobus around the world; and Broadway stage sets, including those for "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde" and the coming "Catch Me if You Can." Now the designer of grown-up amusements is focusing on child's play and children's playgrounds. [More]

MazeA recent KaBOOM! build at the Marsha Barbour Community Center in Pass Christian, Miss. featured a unique side project - a brightly-colored, kid-sized maze!

The kids and adults came up with the idea during their Design Day, and Justin Fitzgerald, KaBOOM! Project Manager, took on the task of creating the plans and figuring out the logistics to create it.

The maze, which measures 25 feet by 30 feet, was made of 4x4 pieces of lumber and 4-foot tall sheets of plywood. On the outside of the maze, kids painted beach-themed murals, and on the inside of the maze, they painted bright, solid colors.

On Prep Day, volunteers dug holes for the 4x4 posts, primed the plywood sheets and sketched the kid-designed murals onto them. On Build Day, they assembled the maze and as soon as each plywood sheet was attached, the kids began to paint it.

"People loved it," said Justin. "It turned out well."

We hope to post the maze plans soon!

David Rockwell Keeps to Playground Design Plans
Aug. 6, 2008

An interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal about an alteration of career plans for famous theatrical/building designer, David Rockwell. Known for his work building backdrops for big name Broadway shows and even serving as the lead architect for the theaters themselves (he designed and built the Kodak Theater in LA), he's recently decided that he's still very into the playground designing market (for kids, specifically), the first of which should be completed sometime within the next year in NY. All this in the name of making urban life a little more kid-friendly and kid-encouraging. [More]

By Rachel Warner Blosser

Our best fundraiser to date has been a murder mystery dinner called "Montana Marie Gets Gunned Down at 3!"

Many participants wore their best western apparel for the event. The performers greeted the guests in character at the "chili bar." Following their western buffet dinner of pulled pork, barbecue ribs and chicken, the show began. With props, sound effects and tremendous ad-libbing, the performers presented the show while interacting with the dinner guests. The guests kept track of various clues throughout the show, and prior to intermission, the audience was given the opportunity to question the cast and determine the murderer and motive. After intermission, the murderer was revealed, and prizes were given to the super sleuth who figured out "whodunit" as well as the best-dressed cowboy and cowgirl.

We had a great silent auction, prize raffle, a live auction for Steelers tickets and Disney tickets, and a 50/50 raffle, where people purchase tickets to win half the money in the pot (the other half goes toward the project). Our 50/50 raffle winner donated the winnings back to parks and recreation.

How we did it
Dinner tickets were sold for $20 each and the profit from the event was $5,000.

We found the performers online at www.mysterysmostwanted.com. They were terrific!

Our expenses included the hall rental, the cost to hire the entertainers, and the food and drinks, though our committee got most of the food donated or purchased at cost. Donation requests for everything from food to raffle items were mailed out several months in advance of the event. In addition, personal visits to our local restaurants garnered their support for the event. We were also sure to send thank you's to ensure people's continued support.

Our next fundraiser
People still talk about the Murder Mystery Dinner and ask when the next one is scheduled. We are already in full swing to make this year's fundraiser dinner a success. This year we want to fill the hall to capacity for "Mobster, Molls and Marinara." The fire hall will be turned into a gin joint set in the roaring ‘20s!

Rachel Warner Blosser has been the Secretary-Treasurer and elected tax collector for Cross Creek Township, Penn. for eight years and serves as chairman of the parks & recreation committee. She is a leader for the Cross Creek 4H group and has two teenage children.

It has truly been a summer to remember! I've vacationed in France with family, re-signed with the Washington Wizards, held my 3rd annual basketball camp in Charlotte, N.C., and just traveled back to Bossier City, La., to go through the design process for a playground I'm building there with KaBOOM!. I grew up in Shreveport (right next to Bossier City) and it will always have a special place in my heart, but I must warn anyone going there for a visit to be ready for some extreme summer heat! I'd almost forgotten how hot it was there until I stepped off the plane! I just hope we're blessed with some (relatively) cool weather on Build Day!

This was my first Design Day experience and it was so exciting to spend time with the kids who'll actually be using the playground. Those kids really had some great personalities! After seeing their playground drawings, I'm convinced that some of them could be future artists if they wanted to - very impressive! I'm participating in another playground build in Washington with KaBOOM! and KOOL-AID and was looking forward to seeing what kind of drawings the kids from that community could create but was unable to make the trip due to a prior engagement. I had to travel to Brazil (which is where I am right now) to do a project with adidas, who has also worked with KaBOOM! and NBA Cares to build a playground in New Orleans! In fact, it was on this project that I first met our new friends at KaBOOM!. I can't wait to get back for both of my playground builds in September!


Wall Street Journal
Aug. 5, 2008

David Rockwell, the founder of CEO of Rockwell Group, a Manhattan-based architectural firm, is best known for his work designing theaters, such as the Kodak in Los Angeles (home to the Oscars); high-end restaurants, such as the various Nobus around the world; and Broadway stage sets, including those for "Hairspray," "Legally Blonde" and the coming "Catch Me if You Can." Now the designer of grown-up amusements is focusing on child's play and children's playgrounds. [More]

August 04, 2008 KaBOOM!

The end of playtime?

By Sarah Cassidy
The Independent (London)
August 4, 2008

Play time is over for children, with up to half of youngsters banned from climbing trees, playing conkers or riding their bikes by over-protective parents who are terrified that they might get hurt.

ICM research for Play England shows that half of seven to 12-year-olds are banned from climbing trees. Four in 10 were banned from playing in their local park or recreational area without an adult present and one in three cannot ride a bike without parental supervision.

One in five had been banned from playing conkers and one in six were not allowed to play chase because over-protective parents had ruled that it was too dangerous.

Yet parents were much less vigilant when it came to internet safety, the study found. Three-quarters of children aged seven to 12 were allowed to surf the internet without adult guidance.

Professionals in child welfare warned that children's development was being damaged by parents' obsession with safety, which was depriving youngsters of adventurous play. [More]

Aug. 4, 2008
Center for Justice & Democracy via PR Newswire

The national consumer group Center for Justice & Democracy released today a new report entitled, Kids 'N Safe Play: Regulation, Litigation And Playground Safety. The report, by CJ&D Attorney/Policy Analyst Amy Widman, herself a mom with young toddlers at home, comes on the heels of passage of major consumer project legislation, much of it aimed at child safety. [More]