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2018 Legacy of Play contest winners ready to build playground

Vicki Hermansen | Feb 13, 2019

Club president shares tips for clubs considering a contest entry

The Northwest Territory Community Playground will come to life in 2019 thanks in part to US$25,000 in equipment from Landscape Structures Inc. The Kiwanis Club of Marietta, Ohio, entered the 2018 Legacy of Play contest for a chance at winning equipment for the planned all-inclusive playground.  

The community joined in the effort to replace a 30-year-old play space that had become unsafe. Partners were secured, land was identified and fundraising began. The culmination will be in August, when work is completed and kids of all ages can have a safe place to play.  

ENCOURAGE CONTEST VOTING

  • Post frequently with photos and instructions on your club’s Facebook page.
  • Ask your Facebook followers to share the contest with a wider variety of friends and make certain the post is shareable. 
  • Encourage your club members to share the post and ask them to ask their friends to get involved. Explain that the project benefits the whole community, and votes are needed to be considered for the US$25,000 in playground equipment.
  • Engage club members and other volunteers to share messages on social media and to encourage the daily voting.
  • Encourage community partners to share the Facebook posts about the contest to attract voters.
  • Change your club’s social media content about the contest often. Fresh stories and pictures will draw in more readers and help with engagement.
  • Use local media to help spread the word and encourage online voting.
  • Establish an email list of community partners, key influencers and club members with content they can post. 
  • Keep sharing the enthusiasm with your club members.

"I know this project has brought the community together,” says Marcia Stewart, 2017-18 president of the Kiwanis Club of Marietta and chair of the playground committee. “We have a great fundraising committee that has been active in getting the word to many businesses and children, and their parents. We have many businesses and organizations providing donations and support. Vendors have donated money, slashed prices, pledged hours of service and volunteered to help with the build.”

The contest is sponsored annually by Kiwanis International and Landscape Structures Inc. Clubs enter the projects via Facebook, sharing photos and an explanation of how the playground would benefit the community. Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite project, and the projects with the most votes are reviewed by a panel of judges who select the winner.  

“We entered the year before, too, but didn’t win because we were only in the beginning stages,” Stewart says. For the second entry, the club lined up community support, partners and fundraising.  

Voting for the contest is done online on Facebook. In Marietta, the online voting was promoted by the Kiwanis club, Main Street Marietta and the Marietta Chamber of Commerce, all playground stakeholders. Other partners include a local public library, city schools, the state historic preservation office, the park department and other local service clubs, including Rotary, Lions and Shriner’s clubs.  

“All of our members who use Facebook shared the post that I put on the Marietta Kiwanis page about the contest,” Stewart says. Every partner shared the contest information on its Facebook page as well, helping to secure the winning votes.

“Our members contacted their friends, asking them to vote and share the post,” Stewart says. “We constantly updated the post and reminded everyone to vote. I also contacted several other Kiwanis clubs in the area and asked them to post about the contest on their pages.”

Contest rules allow an individual to vote for a favorite project once every 24 hours. Overall, more than 50,000 votes were cast in the contest among the more than 40 entries in the contest. Clubs have one month to enter and voting is done during a two-week period.  

The Northwest Territory Community Playground will pay tribute to the first settlement in the Northwest Territory. The play space will feature embedded historical facts and an artifact seek-and-find activity, giving adults and children an opportunity to learn about the area. Details about the playground are available online.  

The Marietta club has 41 members and sponsors three youth service groups including two Key Clubs and a Builders Club.

“Our Kiwanis club is all about the children, and this is our way of giving back to the community and proving to Marietta that we are what we say we are,” Stewart says. In addition to a $25,000 donation to the playground, the club oversees a variety of projects including a free library at the local Boys and Girls Club, a Christmas project for foster children, support for YMCA scholarships and Key Club members and donates smoke detectors to kindergarten students. The club has also donated an Amtryke for disabled children.   

“When I heard we won the Legacy of Play contest, I was speechless and had a lump in my throat. The longer we talked, a tear came to my eye because this project was so important to me and the club,” Stewart says.

2018 Legacy of Play contest winners ready to build playground

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