Prov Bay/Spring Bay Lions land ‘Let Them Be Kids’ award

by Robin Burridge

MINDEMOYA—On Monday, October 3 the Providence Bay/Spring Bay Lions Club announced they had been selected as one of 30 projects across Canada to receive a ‘Let Them Be Kids Helping (LTBK) Hands Award’—funding to redesign and construct a new playground on the Providence Bay beach.

“We are proud to be among the 30 communities across Canada whose projects have been approved,” said Lions Club president Brian Mitchell in a press release earlier this week.

Let Them Be Kids is “an all-volunteer non-profit organization, dedicated to bringing smiles, laughter and the joy of play to kids because we believe every kid has the right to play, period,” said the organization on its webpage. “We act as a catalyst to help build community capacity on the grassroots level, while building playgrounds, skate parks and fitness parks across Canada.”

It was launched across Canada in 2006 when “LTBK identified a deep need across the country; groups, large and small, needed assistance in securing of funds for the building of play structures for children who may not have the availability of safe, secure places to play.”

The organization is led by its founder, Ian Hill, and has been named “one of the four most innovative leisure programs in the world” by the World Leisure Congress.

The organization is unique because the award contributes 50 percent of the project, but the new structure is constructed and erected in one day by over 200 community volunteers on a ‘build day,’ which is video recorded and posted on the website.

This hands-on approach is part of the LTBK initiative to involve community members to participate in the organizing, designing and building of a community-built playground or skate park in order to build a better future for the next generation.

The Providence Bay Lions Club is still busy fundraising for the $135,000 project, but to date has received generous donations from Hydro One, LaCloche-Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) and the Municipality of Central Manitoulin.

The Lions Club outlined its objectives for the new Providence Bay beach playground project on Monday, stating it wishes to “improve our children’s lives and show them that the people in our community care about their well being.”

Lion Murray McDermid spoke of how the playground would be built on the labour of people who worked on the beach and the Interpretive Centre, including Reeve Gerry Strong, Leland McIntyre and Mary Anne McCutcheon. “We need to know where all this came from in the first place,” said Mr. McDermid.

The ‘build day’ has been set for April 28, 2012 and the club is seeking individuals to volunteer for this amazing project.

To volunteer for ‘build day’ or to make a donation, contact Mr. Mitchell at 705-377-5053 or to find out more about the project visit, www.providencebay.itbk.ca