This weeks update is more a push and a highlight of an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the Winters Community by participating in the playground build next week at City Park. The Project Playground folks are on the verge of what many communities have tried but few have accomplish, a community/volunteer build of a new playground structure.
Sign up for the Playground Build:
The build starts on Monday. Here is a link to the site to sign up and volunteer. http://www.projectplaygroundwinters.com/the-build/ It legitimately is an opportunity for people to make a genuine and lasting positive impact on the community and the lives of generations of children by helping build an incredible community asset. Think of it as your personnel contribution and sweat equity to the joy and happiness of thousands for years to come.
Winters is an incredible place to raise your children. We have some pretty simple but amazing facilities where children create their memories of a lifetime. These include the baseball diamond at City Park, the Playground, the Community Center Stage and our Community Library. Each of these assets were “community builds” of sorts by resident stepping up to do their share in making a lasting impression.
There are few opportunities in life where you can affect “generations to come” and the build of this playground is one of them. I feel blessed to know many folks in Winters who help shape the lives of children through similar acts. A couple examples of people and projects so many of us know:
- First, it is essential to recognize the entire group who built the first playground. These folk built a structure which lasted for almost 30 years and helped establish a volunteer soul and ethic for our town. They are amazing folks who give back to this day. (I will share that when we went to tear the “old” structure down, it was like trying to take down El Capitan. It put up a mighty fight and we continually laughed that for something which was about to fall down, it did not go quietly!)
- Carol Scianna from the City Staff and the Winters Friends of the Library (WoL) change the lives of our kids through literacy and library programs. WFoL was one of the largest fundraisers for the playground project which will produce a new “community stage” from which the Winters Shakespeare Workshop is held each summer giving young people a chance to play classic medieval roles and broaden their theatrical horizons. Andrew Fridae and Nora Carey who now own and run The Palms Playhouse got their start in the Shakespeare Workshop and Andrew is now a Director with the same program. A great example of investment coming full circle.
- Mary Lou Linvill and for years Denise Cottrell along with many others who facilitate the Winters Shakespeare Workshop. As parents we create those nuggets of opportunity which educate, challenge and provide the chance for youth to build confidence and life skills which benefit them for their entire lives. The program continues to this day and entertains and inspires us.
- The Little League Diamond at City Park was a community build facilitated by local contractor and parent Monte Molina and the entire LL Board. It is a special place where literally thousands of children have played ball.
- Winters AYSO Soccer is going on 40 years providing activity for children almost year round. Bill Davis is our most tenured member having started in about 1982 and gives up every Saturday to referee. My personal referee mentor and friend is Al Pederson who is an absolute role model of commitment to our youth. Al leads the instruction and coaching of our mostly teenage referee core by helping teach not only how to ref a soccer game, but in helping build confidence and leadership skills of these young folks in what can often be a difficult situation. Neither Bill nor Al have had kids in the program for at least the past 15 years, but they keep on investing because I know it is important to them.
- Eric and Laura Lucero helped start and run the Winters Junior Warrior Football program which is the feeder program for Winters High School. Eric is an incredible coach and has made life changing impressions on young folks. Its impressive to see parents/adults of young kids coming up to Eric and calling him “coach”. Its got to feel good.
- Woody and Rebecca Fridae are literally institutions in our Winters Schools through the development of the Angel Island and Camp Loma Mar “experiences” they have developed for 5th and 6th grade students. They both achieved a point where children of past students are in their programs. Imagine the ability for kids to share and connect with their parents on glorious memories spent in common experiences with the same people.
- My friends Kurt Balasak and Jill Aguiar and the Winters Education Foundation are doing amazing things in support of our teachers and the benefit to our children. Not only through funding, but through bona fide programs which enrich our schools.
- Winters Theatre Company founded in part by Germaine and the late Howard Hupe (and their cast of hundreds) gives children of all ages their opportunity to start community theatre. I can remember my daughter starting as a very nervous “fairy” and seeing her confidence bloom to a now confident woman. As both educators and entertainers, the impression is amazing.
- Since moving to Winters, my wife Kathy and I have lived community involvement through many efforts. I will share that our most enriching have been through those which affect our kids. Whether through the Winters Schools, AYSO, Winters Fire, Girl Scouts, Rotary and others the positive impacts on our lives is ten-fold to those I think we have affected. I have exclusively reffed AYSO Soccer over the years because of the positive personal impacts I feel recreational soccer gives to kids versus competitive. All of it is magical and very rewarding. It really is sweet!
And I could go on for pages……………………………
I am convinced that the common thread which makes Winters an incredibly special place is our children and the generations of folks who have made their lives here. At Rotary yesterday, high school English teacher Matt Biers talked about how Winters kids are “really good citizens and nice people”. So much of that comes from the examples and values that we as parents and adults instill in them through our actions. Our actions as adults create the atmosphere and culture which makes good citizens.
October 10-15 is OUR opportunity to perpetuate the soul of our community and set an example for the next generations by helping build a new community playground. We are doing something which most communities cannot accomplish by an all volunteer build. It’s YOUR chance to put a positive mark on our town by contributing to a monument which brings an entire compilation of pride, joy, happiness, kindness and community commitment into a place where generations of children will play.
I hope to see you out there!