Rev. Greg Martin Center for Creative Play

Rev. Greg Martin Center for Creative Play

Crowdfunding Completed: June 22, 2017

Amount Funded: $1962

Project Owner: Miami Valley UU Fellowship

Short Description of Project

Help us turn part of our yard into an outdoor gathering space for play, conversation and building intergenerational connections

How was this project connected to UU?

The Rev. Greg Martin Center for Creative Play honors a part of the legacy of our beloved UU minister, Rev. Greg Martin. It celebrates the outdoors, play, and nurturing multigenerational connections as resources for creativity and recreation. It honors the inherent worth of our children, families, and other adults by providing a safe and attractive space where they can have fun and relax, supporting the principle of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all. It honors the interconnected web of life by using sustainable materials (re-used and recycled, wherever possible, pea gravel fall surface) and allowing for expansion into a raised bed garden area and native plants for wildlife (e.g. butterflies).

Full Description of Project

Rev. Greg Martin Center for Creative Play
The children, youth, and adults of Miami Valley UU Fellowship are creating a playground and common area for all ages in our front yard. In addition to a high-quality play structure for climbing and swings, we will include toddler-sized play equipment for younger children, benches and a table for all ages, to create a welcoming outdoor place.  We picture kids of all ages playing while parents are nearby, teens and adults enjoying an inviting outdoor hang-out during coffee hour.
This kind of spontaneous gathering is how so many friendships are begun and nurtured.  We seek out opportunities to be together and get to know each other, to find where we have commonalities and differences, where we can combine those to transform our community.  When we know and value each other we can do so much good in the larger world.  We’ve been actively trying to provide opportunities for different generations to connect at MVUUF, to celebrate our rising UUs and show our community our fellowship is a fun place to be. This visible and inviting common area will help us do that.
We received a private donation of a used play structure from one of our members, but there are many other expenses: rental equipment to prepare the ground, weed barrier and material  for a safe “fall zone”, border shrubs and plants, and seating.  Most of the fundraising our youth did through craft and art and bake sales went to an unexpected application fee ($500) to get permission from our township zoning board to place the structure in the front of the building.  Because we are stewarding a wetland behind our church building, it is not feasible to create what we envision there, so we forged forward with zoning waiver.  Fortunately, the zoning board unanimously approved our application, and we are ready to get started.
Earlier this year, our beloved minister, the Rev. Greg Martin, died unexpectedly.   He was playful, caring, thoughtful, and adventurous, encouraging exploration (and minor mischief, perhaps) with a twinkle in his eye.  He was a lover of outdoors and he adored the children of our congregation. He was very supportive and encouraging of the "playground project" as it had begun.   We have decided to dedicate this play and social area in memory and tribute to Rev. Greg and hope to be able to have it ready to dedicate by the end of June.
Our basic desire is to provide a comfortable and safe space.  We have a high-quality "SkyFort" that was donated and will need minor cleaning and staining and a climber, sand table, and small picnic table for toddlers.  We will need to do ground surface preparation that will require rental of an excavator and 27.5 cubic yards of pea gravel, which is the most expensive part of the project. We will add landscaped borders for visual boundaries for safety and a plaque to honor Rev. Greg.  We will be able to move a couple of existing benches to the area for seating.  We believe that our goal of $1,100 will allow us to to do this.
We would like to buy up to four benches that can convert to picnic tables, a tree for shade, and lumber and good soil to create raised beds for children to be able to plant and maintain their own gardens for food or habitat.  This second "reach" goal would cost about $740.