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Tag Archives: Playground

The Calm before the Storm

Tomorrow we launch the largest Vacation Bible School in the history of our church.

We spent no money on advertising this year.

We didn’t put a banner out on the corner of our property with dates and times of our event.

We’re seeing a 20% increase in registration over last year… which was a 20% increase over the year before.

Our student leaders, youth in the 6th-12th grade, have doubled in size over the last two years. (you can follow their journey here)

This year, we’ve added an adult prayer team that has been praying for our event over the last month and will continue to do so as the week continues.

Our prayer team will be offering classes during camp to teach parents how to pray for their children.

Nearly 30% of the kids who’ve signed up to spend the week with us, leaders included, have no church affiliation.

During our 20+ hours of volunteer training leading up to the event, 29 student leaders accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Another 150 recommitted their lives to serving Him.

I’ll now spend the next 24 hours praying that I don’t get in God’s way this week.
It should be a blast.

We welcome your prayers as well.

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles

 

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Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremony @Glenkirk!

Playground Ribbon Cutting Party @Glenkirk 09 on Vimeo.

I’m thankful that this day has finally come.
Sleep should come a little easier now.

Thanks to all who supported this tremendously awesome project.

It couldn’t have happened w/out you!

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground

 

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Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremony This Weekend!

Playground-Banner-09

Ribbon cutting ceremonies for Glenkirk’s New Children’s Playground will be held on Sunday, May 31 at 9:45am and 12:20pm.

All are invited to share in this special time of celebration with those who’ve been instrumental in this project’s completion. Refreshments and snacks will be provided!

Want more info?
Email kids@glenkirkchurch.org with any questions.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2009 in Kidmin, Playground

 

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Busy week… more posts to come

toddler playground

The toddler area of our new playground finished construction this week.  Next week should see the arrival of our larger play structure.

Providing oversight for a project like this is something they don’t teach you in school (or, at least, not at mine)… so, if you want to see how our project happened – make sure you check out the 3 part series detailing what we’ve learned about playground projects.

Next week:

Stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles

 

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So, You Want A New Playground (3 of 3): Making it Happen without Killing Yourself

Our church’s new playground project will be completed within the next month.
This last weekend, we completed phase 2 of the project.

We’re learning a ton about the playground business and what it takes to re-imagine a play space and I thought I’d share my insights.

The final post in this series will offer a couple suggestions to keep in mind before you launch into a project of this scope and magnitude.
Adding a space to your church that is designed with your kids in mind can be one of the most exciting things you’ll be a part of in CM.  Just don’t kill yourself, your ministry, or your family in the process.
Three ways you can get through a project like this with your sanity in tact can be found below:

God’s Timing, Not Yours.
If you try to tackle a project too fast, you may find yourself spinning your wheels until you’ve collapsed.
Take a deep breath when you start this process and remember to pray.  It’s not unheard of for a project like this to take over a year.  Pace yourself.
God may move in ways during this process that will grow your faith exponentially.  Keep a journal so that you can remember how faithful God is.
Matt McKee, a fellow CM, has some thoughts on the importance of remembering.  Check them out here.

Value before Vision.
Your church won’t rally behind the vision you have for your area unless they value the things you value.
As I wrote here, great ideas don’t sell themselves.  Your church has to first understand the importance and value of reaching young families in your community.  Creating a space for them to feel comfortable on campus won’t matter if your church doesn’t see that as something that will add value to the church.
Phase 1 of any large project is a process of rallying people behind your vision and raising the means to accomplish it.  Don’t try to do those things at the same time or in reverse order.  You’ll burn yourself out.

Make it Safe. Make it Last.
Save yourself time and energy and plan for this space to last 10-15 years.
This means you’ll need to get the parents of kids in your nursery just as involved in this project as the parents of your pre-teens.
Your space also needs to look and feel safe (for parent buy-in)… while also looking adventurous and exciting (for kid buy-in).  Do not sacrifice one for the other.
By making your space lasting, you’ll save yourself the trouble of redesigning the space in 3-5 years and repeating the process all over again (fundraising the second time will be harder than the first).
By making your space safe, you’ll show parents that the safety of their kids matters inside and outside of your programmed time.

Our hope is that this series has been helpful for you and your church as you think creatively about the space you provide for children in your programs.
As I said before adding a space to your church that is designed with your kids in mind can be one of the most exciting things you’ll be a part of in CM.
(Sam Luce, Children’s Pastor at Mt. Zion Ministries Church in Utica, NY, talks about his experience revamping their space in a series of posts from early 2008.)

So, what kind of project is in your church’s near future?
Have you recently undergone a similar project and have thoughts to share?

The comments section awaits your input!

Proposed Toddler Area

Proposed 5-12 Area

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground

 

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So, You Want A New Playground (2 of 3): $aving Money While Serving Jesus

https://i2.wp.com/blogs.psychologytoday.com/files/u295/saving-money-during-hard-financial-times-01-af.jpg

Our church’s new playground project will be completed within the next month.
Yesterday, we completed phase 2 of the project.

We’re learning a ton about the playground business and what it takes to re-imagine a play space and I thought I’d share my insights.

Today, we’ll be looking at REAL ways you and your church can save money.

Some quick facts about our situation can be found by reading yesterday’s post HERE.

As I wrote yesterday, our first quotes came in at just under $150,000.  By the time we signed the final project, we had knocked that price down to $60,000.
How did we do it?

Saving Money While Serving Jesus

  1. We were honest.
    Companies knew, up front, who their competition was and that we were going to go with the lowest bid. Period.
    Our testimony to these companies was twofold: 1) We were a church that handles business in an open forum and 2) We value the gifts and offerings that our parishioners have given… we will not spend more of the church’s money than we have to.
    Just in the bidding period, we were able to see the $150k reduced to $120k.
  2. We designed our own product.
    Not from scratch, of course.
    We assembled a team of parents and kids who looked at each bid’s structure and chose their favorite play areas.
    We took everyone’s favorites and had each company do a mock up of the same structures using their lowest priced manufacturer.
    By replicating a name brand structure and using a local manufacturer to do the work, our $120k bid was reduced to $95k.
  3. We made phone calls.
    You’ll want to see the last 3 finished projects each company submitting a bid has done… but you also want to ask those churches or schools what deals they were given.
    If you followed the “rule of 3” and are asking 3 companies to give you a list of their last 3 projects, then you’ll come up with at least 9 places to call to see what ways they were able to save money.
    Did you know that some companies will offer to absorb the cost of taxes?  Some can offer discounts on products already in their warehouses.  Others will have grants that you can apply for.
    The options vary from company to company and state to state, so you’ll need to make those phone calls.
    At the end of the day, we were able to get a final bid of $75,000 because we knew what cards the company we were dealing with had in their hands and what they could offer.
    That’s right, networking saved us $20k.
  4. We used our own sweat.
    Remember when I said that your overall cost will be about 1/3 Play Equipment and 2/3 Demo, Install, Surfacing and Labor?
    We were able to cut the Play Equipment cost down with the first 3 tips… and you can nearly zero out Demo and Labor costs by rallying members of your church and community to do the work themselves.
    Make sure that you ask for a line item bid from your possible playground rep.  You can then go through that list at this stage and zero out any work that your congregation can do on its own.
    The work that we finished yesterday (tearing out old equipment, removing sand and concrete from the area, and preparing the site for install) saved our church another $15,000.
    Our final bid came in just under $60,000.
  5. We prayed.
    Before every phone call.
    Before every meeting.
    Before every e-mail.
    Before every work/demo-day.
    We continually welcomed God into the work we were doing and asked that the work we would be a part of on that day, at that moment, would reflect the Kingdom of God.
    Did I mention that we saved $90,000?

Tomorrow, I’ll finish up this series with some simple ways you can take on a project like this without burning yourself out in the process.
For our church, this process has taken just over a year and a half from start to finish
Had I not taken the steps that we’ll discuss tomorrow, there’s a good chance my marriage, family and ministry could have been negatively impacted by some of the hurdles and frustrations we faced.
If you’re ever going to take on a project of this scale, you need to read tomorrow’s post.
Monday (part 3 of 3): Making it Happen without Killing Yourself

Proposed Toddler Area

Proposed 5-12 Area

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground

 

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So, you want a new playground… (1 of 3): The Law of 3’s

https://i1.wp.com/mashburnfaireshomes.com/pics/child_on_slide_large_resized_1.jpg

Our church’s new playground project will be completed within the next month.
Today, we completed phase 2 of the project.

We’re learning a ton about the playground business and what it takes to re-imagine a play space and I thought I’d share my insights here.

Today, we’ll be looking at budgeting and planning tips for your playground renovation.

Some quick facts about our situation:

Our current playground is over 15 years old.
In California, that means that many safety precautions now in place were never considered when our current structures were installed.
In church culture, that means that the playground was built in the early 90’s… a time when Children and Family ministries did not hold the weight they do today in budgeting conversations.
The amount a church is willing to spend today is dramatically higher than the amount a church would have spent on a children’s play area 20 years ago.

Our space is limited.
When our church was built, children were intentionally hidden from view and the area available to us is limited because of it.
Overall, the space our project will fill could be split into approx a 35′ x15′ area and a 60′ x 30′ area.

Disneyland is half an hour away.
Being located in Los Angeles, you cannot even begin to compete with the options that families have for entertainment.
Instead, we focused on creating a safe place where families could spend time together and children could expend large amounts of energy.
For us, this meant we valued active space and circuit play over excitement value.

With those things in mind, we assembled a planning team to create a proposal for our church’s Session (board of Elders).

Here are the Top 3 things we wish we could have known at this stage of the project:

The Law of 3’s

  1. Think of an amount you’d like to spend on the project.
    Triple that number… the first quotes you receive will come close to that amount.
    We originally wanted to replace our current playground for around $45k.
    Our first bid came in just under $150k.
  2. Triple every number you find in a playground equipment catalog.
    Keep in mind that your overall cost will be about 1/3 Play Equipment and 2/3 Demo, Install, Surfacing and Labor.
    There’s plenty of room to cut $ from a project like this and I’ll share tips on how to save money later in this series.
  3. Get, at minimum, 3 bids on the project.
    Different companies can offer different savings.  Write all of these savings options down… you’ll want these later.
    Be up front about who you’re getting bids from.  Companies know who their competitors are and will work harder for you if they know the face of their competition.

Being realistic in the early stages of your project will save you immeasurable amounts of time and stress.
Keeping the Law of 3’s in mind, you’ll go into Budgeting and Planning (Phase 1) for your project more prepared than the majority of people in your shoes… which will set you up nicely for what we’ll be talking about tomorrow.

Tomorrow (part 2 of 3): $aving Money while Serving Jesus

Proposed Toddler Area

Proposed 5-12 Area

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 25, 2009 in Kidmin, Los Angeles, Playground

 

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