A project that was started almost three years ago, the Cherry Valley Playground was completed this past weekend.
It is finally ready to accept kids of all ages to come play!
It all began when two young ladies who are part of the Cherry Valley Girls Scout Troop wanted to get their Bronze Award. “You have to complete a journey in order to get a bronze award,” Zola Palmer, 11, said. “We had to think about what would make our community better. We had to figure out an active community service.”
“We really wanted to do something that would draw people to our community, since we’re so small,” Bailey Thayer, 12, said. “We thought if we made a playground, more people would come and visit Cherry Valley.”
The bronze is the highest award a junior Girl Scout can earn. “It goes bronze, silver then gold,” said Angelica Palmer, Zola’s mom. “It’s comparable to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout award. They are both Cadets now, so silver is next!”
After they came up with the idea of the playground, they called some playground companies for help. “We found out this was expensive and we needed some money to get it done. So, we did some fundraising,” Zola said.
The first big fundraiser was the Holiday Drink Special. “We served hot chocolate and mulled cider and it was part of the Cherry Valley Open House Weekend,” Bailey said.
Fundraisers that followed were another Holiday Drink Special, a spaghetti dinner and chicken BBQ at the Tryon Inn, and a 5K run that the Clarks Sports Center helped coordinate. “The sponsors in the 5K were incredible, there weren’t a ton of runners but the fundraising part really came from the sponsors,” Ms. Palmer said.
Then came a Go Fund Me and between all of the fundraising, people and businesses in the community, they raised enough money to finish the playground.
All in all, they raised $10,000.
They have added four new pieces of equipment to the playground. A cargo net, a spinner, a wheelchair accessible swing and a bear digi-rider spring ride. “I think all of the kids will have a good time here, it’s been a lot of work but it’s been a lot of fun,” Zola said.
Everyone who has worked on this project is a volunteer. “The community has been amazing. They’ve all volunteered their time and it’s been great,” Ms. Palmer said.
“We’ve learned a lot doing this. Marketing and fundraising were the biggest things we learned. But we also designed posters and dealt with the money thing. Now we just can’t wait to play here!” Zola said.
“This bronze award project was a lot bigger than we thought it was going to be. A lot more work and a lot more money, but go big or go home!”, Bailey said.
“These two young ladies have really taken this project on from start to finish. They’ve gained a ton of experience and I’m very proud of them,” Ms. Palmer said. “It’s been a lovely way to be involved with the community, and it was one of the positive things during the pandemic.”
Plan to attend the Grand Reveal Party on Sunday, July 17 at 2 pm. Make sure to wear your play clothes, no matter what age!