Stories of Optimism

Caribbean Club Fulfils the Promise of Play
May 16, 2013

Two years ago, past International Vice President Adrian Elcock and Optimist Kelly Hunte announced that the Optimist Club of Barbados Bridgetown would be building a playground at the Society Primary School. The school is located in the rural parish of St. John and is the oldest primary school in Barbados. Unfortunately the school and grounds had become a bit neglected.

The announcement of the playground was met with loud cheers from the students. Club Members saw this as a promise and were determined to make the playground into a reality.

A successful golf fundraiser was conducted and all the necessary funds for the project were raised. Selection of the materials for the playground presented a unique challenge. The school is situated on a cliff edge overlooking the picturesque east coast. Members had to consider the impact of the salty sea breezes on the equipment. After some research, pieces were selected that would contribute to the development of the children’s muscles, particularly their core muscles, as well as their balance and coordination skills.

An engineer designed the pieces so that they could be manufactured locally and although it was a bit different for them, a local metal works company accepted the assignment.

Once all the pieces had been prepared, an installation day was scheduled. Club Members worked in three shifts to complete the difficult task. Jobs ranged from priming and painting to hammering to digging and hauling. At the end of the day, everyone was tired and bit dirty but very pleased with the results of their hard work.

The assembly of the playground was watched intently by children who attended the school and lived in the neighborhood. Members felt the greatest endorsement of their efforts was that they had to persuade the children to let the paint dry before they used the playground.


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