On Saturday, the 99th Operation Playground build in Picayune, Miss. will feature something unique amid the flurry of equipment-assembly and mulch-hauling: a wedding!
Chris Utter will wed Roxie Zortman on Build Day. "They said they'd stop the build at 10 a.m. for five minutes" for the wedding, said Chris with a laugh. "We're helping build after that."
The build and the wedding are taking place behind a church: Resurrection Life Ministries, where Chris serves as maintenance director in addition to his work as a carpenter and renovator. His fiancée is an interior designer. The two, both 58, have been together since a mission trip to La Hoia, Mexico where they renovated a church together two years ago. Both are members of Resurrection Life Ministries.
The date for the wedding was chosen before the couple made the decision to wed at the build. "She chose Saturday because it's 6/7/08," said Chris. "I heard about the build, and then I went to her and said hey, KaBOOM! is doing this Build Day, and I think it would be cool if we got married out there. And she was like, ‘Yeah, that's cool!'"
They've received a variety of reactions from others when they tell them their plans. "People say, ‘Are you serious?' or ‘That's way cool!'" said Chris. "We've had a myriad of different reactions."
Chris and Roxie will be having their reception Friday night before the build. "We're having our reception, and then we're getting married afterwards," said Chris with a chuckle.
And yes, he's excited for the build, too. "It's a blessing to be able to work and build this playground for the children," he said.
Watch the video here:
Young people's volunteering discussed at conference
Former Sen. Sam Nunn among panel members at community service gathering.
By CHRISTOPHER QUINN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 3, 2008
Millennials, that massive bulge of young Americans born starting about 1982, have been portrayed in media as spoiled, distracted, indulged, obsessed with technology and dependent on their parents.
Less often heard are stories about how much good they do.
They volunteer — build playgrounds, tutor, travel to the Gulf Coast to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and raise money for causes — at twice the rates their parents did, said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Darell Hammond, head of KaBoom, which builds playgrounds using volunteer labor, said after the discussion that millennials are different from their parents in other ways as well. They want results now, and they will not wait around for orders at a helping event. They jump right in and start working, creating their own order as they go.
"They have energy and ambition. And they don't ask for permission; they ask for forgiveness," Hammond said.
"They have this smart mob mentality. They just show up and start doing stuff." [More]
York's ready to play to get city grant funds
Being a 'Playful City' could lead to grant money for playgrounds.
By ANGIE MASON
York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News
May 29, 2008
York could receive grant money by showing the city is serious about playtime.
A new task force is aimed at making York a "Playful City," a designation that could lead to grant funding for playground improvements.
The recognition is offered through the nonprofit KaBOOM!, a group aimed at making sure every child has a playground within walking distance.
York Mayor John Brenner learned about the organization when he helped the group build a playground in New Orleans last year.
His wife, Adrienne, is leading York's effort.
She remembered watching with their son, Sam, 4, as workers removed the seesaw from Lincoln Park a few years ago.
"It was so sad," she said. [More]
KOOL-AID Announces New Products and Better-for-You Brand Direction;
Joins With KaBOOM! & Hip-Hop Pioneer Reverend Run to Build Playgrounds Nationwide to Encourage Healthy, Active Lifestyles
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. May 27 -- KOOL-AID, the iconic soft drink that has stood for fun and refreshment for generations of children and their parents, today announced it will provide additional better-for-you options for consumers by introducing new and reformulated products this spring and in coming years.
The brand, launched in Nebraska in 1927 and now offering both powdered and ready-to-drink beverages, also announced a new partnership with KaBOOM!, the national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Over the next year, KOOL-AID and KaBOOM! will build 24 playgrounds in cities around the country, provide grants toward building 20 more, and work with local communities, parents and children to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles.
"We understand that our consumers are looking for more choices that better meet the needs of their families," said Kirstie Krall, Senior Brand Manager, KOOL-AID. "We're firmly committed to providing moms and kids with products that combine the great fun and flavor of KOOL-AID while providing better-for-you beverage options to help support a healthier lifestyle. And, in addition to offering new and improved products, we're partnering with KaBOOM! to create great places to play for kids in cities around the country so that communities have somewhere to come together and get active."
KOOL-AID has also created a partnership with hip-hop pioneer Joseph Simmons (a.k.a. Reverend Run), who will serve as the new brand ambassador for the KOOL-AID KaBOOM! initiative. He and his family will don hard hats and wield shovels as they join the brand on local community build sites. Additionally, KOOL-AID will include Reverend Run in POS displays and other promotions, and he will speak directly to consumers about healthy lifestyle choices and the benefits of play.
"We can't imagine better partners than Reverend Run and KaBOOM! to help us start a national conversation about the benefits of safe play for kids and the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle," said Ms. Krall.
"I grew up drinking and loving KOOL-AID and associate it with fun childhood memories," Reverend Run said.
"I'm personally committed to bringing families together -- at the dinner table, in communities and on playgrounds. I'm hopeful that by working together, KOOL-AID, KaBOOM!, and I can make a real difference in kids' lives by allowing them to have fun and create the memories that will serve them well for many years to come."
"This is a great partnership, because not only is KOOL-AID committed to building playgrounds, but they're spreading the word that play helps kids live happier, healthier lives," said Darell Hammond, the CEO and Founder of KaBOOM!.
New better-for-you product choices
This year, KOOL-AID is introducing four reformulated products and one new product that meet the company's better-for-you Sensible Solution guidelines.
-- Sugar Free KOOL-AID, a low-calorie soft drink mix originally launched in 1983, has been reformulated to deliver a taste closer to regular unsweetened KOOL-AID. Sugar Free KOOL-AID has 5 calories per serving and is caffeine free and a good source of Vitamin C.
-- Sugar-Free KOOL-AID On The Go packets that are easy to carry and mix with a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle or glass of water. One packet makes 2 servings. Each serving contains 5 calories and is caffeine free and a good source of Vitamin C.
-- KOOL-AID Singles have been reformulated so one packet can be used to flavor a 16.9 fl. oz. bottle or glass of water. KOOL-AID Singles have only 30 calories per serving (60 per bottle) and are a good source of
antioxidant vitamins C and E.
-- KOOL-AID Burstin' Waters is a new ready-to-drink flavored water beverage that comes in a squeezable plastic bottle. Burstin' Waters is caffeine free, comes in three flavors, and is only 35 calories per serving.
-- Sugar Sweetened KOOL-AID has been fortified with antioxidant vitamins C and E. At only 60-70 calories per serving, sugar-sweetened KOOL-AID contains 35% less sugar than leading regular sodas. (Sugar Sweetened KOOL-AID contains 16-17 grams of sugar per serving as compared to 27 grams of sugar in leading regular sodas.)
-- In addition, KOOL-AID will continue to fund research and development initiatives that support the company's better-for-you Sensible Solution guidelines. Sensible Solution criteria require that ALL qualifying
products contain limited amounts of calories, fat, sodium and sugar. In addition, many Sensible Solution products have the added benefit of providing meaningful amounts of good-for-you nutrients like calcium,
fiber, whole grain, protein, or deliver a functional benefit such as heart health.
See our website http://www.kraftfoods.com/ for more information on Kraft's Sensible Solution program criteria for refreshment beverages.
In 2007, 13 percent of the entire KOOL-AID line met Sensible Solution criteria; 35 percent of products sold this year will meet the guidelines, and by 2010, the goal is to transform and rebalance the brand portfolio so that a majority of KOOL-AID products sold will meet the Sensible Solution criteria.
All the new and current KOOL-AID flavors and formats can be found in grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide.
About Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods(NYSE:KFT)is one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, with 2007 revenues of more than $37 billion. For more than 100 years, Kraft has offered consumers delicious and wholesome foods that fit the way they live. Kraft markets a broad portfolio of iconic brands in more than 150 countries, including nine brands with revenues exceeding $1 billion: Kraft cheeses, dinners and dressings; Oscar Mayer meats; Philadelphia cream cheese; Maxwell House coffee; Nabisco cookies and crackers and its Oreo brand; Jacobs coffees; Milka chocolates; and LU biscuits. Kraft is listed in the Standard & Poor's 100 and 500 indexes. The company is a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the Ethibel Sustainability Index. For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.kraft.com/ .
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,400 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network -- a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit http://www.kaboom.org/ .
System offers hands-on playtime
By Andrew Barksdale
The Fayette Observer
May 25, 2008
The four Stonehenge-like towers, with upbeat music and flashing lights, beckon anyone for a game of fun, skill and physical activity.
The unusual electronic playground system is called Neos. Two of the units recently arrived in Fayetteville -- the first city in the Carolinas to get them.
At Honeycutt Park on Fort Bragg Road, children after school last week flocked to Neos, with its sleek purple towers standing over 6 feet tall.
Ryan Wolf, who is 6, pressed the button to play Bubble Burst, which requires players to hit buttons on the towers when they light up. He darted back and forth, using his arms and his feet to reach the buttons. Soon, three children joined him, stretching, jumping and bending. [More]
On Apr. 19, 2008, the San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council hosted their 2008 Playground Day event at West Sunset Playground. Community members gathered at West Sunset to learn about the Playground Initiative, and many also signed up to assess their neighborhood playgrounds.
The playground assessment event was launched in February 2006, to raise awareness of and bring attention to the needs of San Francisco's playgrounds. The assessment is based on a survey created by the National Program for Playground Safety.
In 2007, NPC and RPD kicked-off a series of playground workdays, to resolve maintenance issues at the 30 city playgrounds that received a "D" or "F" grade in 2006. The kick-off event took place at Balboa Playground in April 2007, and the playground renovation was recently completed on March 4, 2008.
Watch an interview with NPC Program Manager Meredith Thomas at West Sunset Playground, discussing the results of the 2008 Playground Report Card survey here.
From Design to Build
by Shannon Amy Stockwell
May/June 2008 issue
ENTER THE WORLD of KaBOOM!, and you will be introduced to a very unique place. In fact, it might be well termed as one of the most playful places on earth. This organization was created after Darell Hammond heard about the death of two children who had been playing in a car, as there was no other place for them to play. Hammond and friend Dawn Hutchison then decided to do whatever they could to provide a safe play place within walking distance of every child in the United States. So began the set up of the first office, in the back of the Comet Deli in Washington D.C. in 1995, and what a great idea that was. This organization has grown and touched so many lives since then with its playful spirit.
Everything and everyone from staff down to the atmosphere of the office speaks "play." It is a brightly colored place, with a foosball table in the break room, and other playful details such as a very colorful and fun mural of children playing on one wall. There's nothing stuffy about this place where play is created. As you walk through the halls of its office, one of the fi rst things you'll find are things to play with, including a swing and slide in the foyer. Working your way back you'll find the "Values of Play" depicted on its walls by photos of children at play.
Lacombe chosen for new playground
By Chad Ruiz
St. Tammany News
May 19, 2008
It's playtime for residents and school children alike in Lacombe.
KaBOOM!, FannieMae and Bayou Lacombe Middle School are teaming up to bring the city its first public playground at a cost of nearly $50,000, but the months of construction and eyesores it would take to build the 2,500-square-foot structure have all been condensed into one day.
The national nonprofit organization KaBOOM!, founded in 1995, is dedicated to providing play structures for children across the U.S.
FannieMae, founded in 1938 as a shareholder-owned lender that provides funding to the nation's housing market, is providing the funds for most of the project that will take place Tuesday beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Dothan's First Community Build Held at Pine Park
May 19, 2008
Rhiana Huckins, WTVY News, Dothan (Ala.)
Funding for the materials used in building the new park came from the city's budget, but the labor force was donated by neighbors, city officials, Dothan police and fire, and leadership from Dothan.
Saturday, a massive group effort was made to restore Pine Hills Park.
"This was a park that was due some attention. The neighbors know it, the city knows it, and they had special requests- on of those were to build a playground," said Kim Meeker of Dothan leisure services.
Thanks to "Kaboom!"-- an organization that helps build playgrounds for children-- the city was able to come up with creative ideas for a modern playground.
"We were named a Playful City U.S.A. and they gave materials on how they've built one thousand playgrounds across their country to use to organize their own playground builds." said Meeker.