A grant from the United Way of Adams County helped make our new school-age playground possible. Despite regular maintenance, 13 years of use and outdoor exposure had caused our wooden playground equipment to deteriorate to the point that children were complaining of splinters daily. Staff members were submitting maintenance requests biweekly, and during our most recent inspection by the PA Department of Public Welfare, we were advised to replace rusted nails and weak boards and to cover exposed screws in the equipment. Staff strongly believed that the equipment would not pass state inspection the following year.
Outdoor playground areas are an important part of the PA Department of Public Welfare's evaluation of facilities in the STAR 3 category - including our Fairfield Road headquarters. The department's environmental rating scale takes into consideration the availability and variety of play equipment and its effectiveness in encouraging children to grow and develop strength and social skills.
The new equipment we were able to purchase with funds from the United Way provides a safer and more engaging play area for the children enrolled in our programs and those in the greater community. It offers opportunities to enhance our education and physical fitness curriculum and promotes development during the window of time when children acquire essential skills.
The equipment includes a fish net climber, a chinning bar, cycler handlers, a double slide, an orbiter and a cliff climber. Paula Howard, director of our Child Enrichment Programs, says that watching a child's progress on various playground equipment like slides and climbing areas helps teachers evaluate his or her development. Our old equipment was obsolete by current standards and did not promote gross motor skill development the way our new equipment does.
Quotes from staff and children:
"Thanks to this donation, we are able to keep our children happy, safe and active. No more having to remove splinters, put in maintenance requests, or explain our playground's deficiencies to inspectors." Paula Howard, CEP Director
"There's a lot of new things to play with, and it's really fun!" Carter, age 7
"I like the bike, monkey bars, and the slide. I also like the twisty things and the rock wall." Jasmine, age 6
"I think it's great! It's fun to play on." Jasmine, age 4
"I like the slides, the spiny things and the net." Miranda, age 6
"Awesome!" Robby, age 9
YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County