A new church playground gives children a place to climb... and sit. Ian Stepleton photo
A new church playground gives children a place to climb... and sit. Ian Stepleton photo

     JEANNE WILLIAMS REMembers the day well.

     “One of the things we noticed last year when we did our vacation Bible school here was that the kids were climbing the building,” said Williams, director of Christian education for First Congregational Church in Ripon. “There was no play equipment ... Nobody got hurt, but it was not the ideal play space.”

     In fact, First Congregational had neither a play space for kids outdoors, nor space to create one.

     But it did have an ambition — and some generous donors.

     That means, nearly two years after starting its journey, First Congregational Church now has a small playground that aims to serve not just its church family, but families throughout the neighborhood seeking a safe place for their children to play.

     Currently, First Congregational serves about 30 children within its walls, but Williams sees this playground as serving many more.

     “As we started looking into playgrounds and talking with different vendors of playground equipment, we decided that we wanted to make a playground that was open and accessible,” she said, noting that they wanted to ensure the playground would be usable by a wide range of children within the community as a whole. “The kids who live in this neighborhood don’t have access to a playground without crossing a busy street.”
Selfridge Park, which is closest to the church, sits on the other side of a state highway route, for instance.

     Also, as a former Ripon College educator, she noted plenty of parent professors and staff could use the space, too.

     “There were lots of times when I wished I could have come and sat on the bench and done what I needed to do while [her children would] play,” Williams said. ...

To read the entire column, see the June 27, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.