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.