Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Goal for 2012: "I'm Going back to Kkkkkkkkk.. Kathmandu!"

Kids Around the World are planning a playground build trip to Nepal and since I've been there twice, it would make sense for me to go with them and "show them the ropes" of navigating around Nepal. With their connections and playground project partners in Nepal, maybe....just maybe we can get OUR playground equipment out of the Customs warehouse near the airport (if it is still there after 2 years....it was as of last year). Also, I want to stay at HOPE Home and try and figure out a way to provide some on-going help and support.

The best thing you all can do is to promote this blog and get others involved in our work.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Mr. Playground

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My New Best Friend...Michael McMeel

Michael McMeel is the Founder and President of Inner City Slickers. He has been working with inner city and at-risk young people for over 19 years. He is the "real deal" in my book. A true gentleman and compassionate individual who's word is his bond.


Inner City Slickers is an on going "Old West" program that was inspired by the film City Slickers. We chose this program because the "Old West" symbolizes Strength, Preservance and Hard Work.

This program builds self-esteem, self-confidence, character, and breaks down the social prejudices that are so prevalent in our culture today.

Our slickers learn what it's like to be a cowboy- Kindness, Dependability, Keeping your Word, Responsibility - an ethical and moral code that will stay with them throughout their lives. They learn how to rope, groom, feed, and sit a horse.

Our kids learn what it's like to Trust & Respect the horses, themselves and each other.

The Inner City Slickers program is one of the only means we have seen that can virtually erase the color barrier between teens. With the Magic of horses and our expert volunteers, our kids are transformed. They change right in front of your eyes.

They forget about color and concentrate on what's in front of them -- a magnificent animal. Our kids face this challenge with Courage and Optimism. Once getting through it and our continued contact with these kids, they have more of a chance to become Responsible citizens.

Inner City Slickers is going nationwide. We are creating partnerships with existing ranches that have a similar vision as we do. In doing this, our expansion will increase at a faster pace and we will be able to reach more trouble kids.

Pine Ridge, Nepal Update & Partnership with ICS

Greetings POP Supporters. I had a wonderful weekend in St. Louis with the Inner City Slicker organization and the St. Louis core group. After participating in this 2 day event, it confirms my thoughts that "kids are the same and want the samethings worldwide." At the begininning of each day, I saw the same looks of on the faces of the children from inner city St. Louis as I have seen on the faces of children in Poland and Nepal. By the end of the day, no one wanted to go home. Children got to be kids again for a whole day and learn core life values such as trust, committment, respect, teamwork and "surrender" (yielding to help others and be helped yourself). Wow, what a wonderful group of "like-minded" adult leaders and mentors or "Wranglers." Photos later.

As for the Pine Ridge project it looks like we are changing locations for the playground. Founder and President of "Inner City Slickers" Michael McMeel got me in touch with a lady at the Pine Ridge Reservation who is a friend of the Principal at the elementary school at Wounded Knee, SD. It seems that the need for a playground is greater at this location and may be actually easier to coordinate since it part of a public school district. Stay tuned.

As for Nepal, the trip with Kid's Around the World is on. Whether we can get our playground equipment out of Customs storage (where it has been since 2009) is another question, but we continue to hope and pray for a good resolution to this situation.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Playground Celebration - Square Dancing in Poland 2011

POP - "Poster Child" for KaBOOM's End of the Year Giving

Got an email yesturday from KaBOOM (a playground advocacy and community build organization) asking me to be part of 50 people they want to highlight in order to inspire people to give to KaBOOM as "a part of the year end giving." This is great publicity for Playgrounds Of Peace and our work in Poland and Nepal.

Help Me Promote this Blog

Greetings friends of Playgrounds Of Peace. I was wondering if you could do me a huge favor? Would you please promote this blog to others who might be interested in supporting our efforts around the world? With Pine Ridge and the Nepal build trips on the horizon, I could use your help in promoting our work and this blog. Any suggestions for promoting this blog to the world would be great!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Update for 2012 Projects

Well it looks like I will be going back to Nepal in the spring with Kids Around the World this time. Hoping they can help POP get our playground equipment out of the Customs warehouse facility. Our equipment has been held by the Nepali government since 2009 and is still in a warehouse near the airport in Kathmandu as of October 2010. If I can get another team from LSCC together we will continue our work at the HOPE for Nepal Children's Home. If not, I will go to the home myself.

Another project is in the works for 2010 involving building a playground at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, SD. POP hopes to work in concert with KATW, the Inner City Slickers organization as well as the Open Range Native American Outreach, Pine Ridge Gospel Fellowship and former NBA player Mr. Joe C. Merriweather. Not are we only building a playground but we hope to build a sense of "community" understanding and hope.

Check out the current "Before" picture of the playground at Pine Ridge and what we hope to install next year along with a baskeball court.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Update from Mr. Playground

Okay, so it's been awhile since my last post. Well, a lot has happened and at the same time nothing has happened with POP. I have wanted to go to Cambodia for about a year now and Kids Around the World (KATW) was overseeing a playground build with another organization called Awareness Cambodia. I said "here's my chance" since the fall Nepal trip fell through and I had nothing on the horizon in regards to mission trips. It seemed I like was set on going then an opportunity to go to a conference to network with other successful business owners in my company who are humanitarian minded came up. In the long term this may be the best move in that my desire is to be totally self funded for my personal expenses and more or less full time in the next 3 years. So, no foreign trips with KATW this fall. They are looking at going to Nepal in the spring so that might be a possible trip.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Future of POP

Okay, so it's been a long time since my last post. It has been a busy summer so far. No fall trips are being planned at this point. Waiting on direction from the Lord as to the future of POP and HOPE for Nepal. Working on getting Mamata here to go to school but the money is a huge hurdle. I'd like to work with Kids Around the World on future playground projects but nothing is happened in that regard. It looks like we'll do a project at Pine Ridge Reservation. More later. Mr. Playground.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Last Day in Poland and Maybe the Most Important

Today I am meeting with our lawyer to help another couple to adopt a child. Still no exact time for our meeting. This afternoon I am going to the Dom Dziecka to visit with the girl, then meet with the Director of the facility. On July 1, this facility will close and the remaining children moved to a smaller facility in a nearby town. This creates an unexpect problem in that the 11+ pieces of equipment that POP teams have installed over the past 6 years needs to go to the new facility IMMEDIATELY! What I have heard so far is that one of the staff members wants to remove the equipment from the current site and move the pieces to the new site using the labor of the older boys in the Dom Dziecka. Coming from a playground safety background (CPSI) I am not happy with this idea. Hopefully, I can work out a way to safely remove the equipment with the least amount of damage and lost parts or hardware, then design a new playground at the new Dom Dziecka. Again, it isn't as easy as just pulling the stuff out of the ground and transplanting to a new site with a little concrete. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More Photos from the Build in Poland

Check out these photos of Police, neighbors, City Officals, Baptist Church members, Rotarians and the KATW team all working together on a common cause so the children can have a nice place to play!

Glogow, Poland Playground Building 2011

Here are some photos of work day #1 and #2. Note: We didn't work Sunday and today (May 3) is a national holiday in Poland (Constitution Day).

Greetings from Glogow, Poland!

This is my 10th trip to Poland and my 6th playground building project. This time I am on a team organized and lead by Kids Around the World (KATW). KATW is working with the local government, law enforcement, the Baptist Church and Rotary Clubs International to build a playground in a complex of "block housing." The "reconditioned" playground equipment as well as tools and supplies was brought over by shipping container. KATW is an absolutely wonderful organization! They are doing what I have envisioned Playgrounds Of Peace to be like. The hospitality of the Baptist Churcha and the many partcipants in this projects is fantastic!