Generosity runs deep in the interdenominational faith community of Treasure Lake Church in DuBois, PA. With a large financial gift from congregation member Charlotte Bushong, the church opened a new family life center in December 2014, followed by a new playground in July 2016 for its “God’s Little Treasures” preschool ministry.
Treasure Lake is a semi-private gated residential community with public access to a variety of activities. As the only church in Treasure Lake, the congregation is about 65 percent residents and 35 percent folks from around DuBois; they are 100-percent focused on community outreach.
“Long-term vision also runs deep here,” says Cathy Donahue, Executive Director of Ministries. “Originally we envisioned raising capital for a family life center over five years. When we learned, however, that Charlotte had been diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer and wanted to donate her inheritance to the church, our five-year plan literally turned into a one-month plan.”
“We’re grateful she’s still with us today. She got to see everything built!” explains Cathy happily. “We’re blessed with continued generosity, and with the help of pledges from our congregation, were able to fund our playground project, too.”
First, they built the family life center with a large gymnasium, a concessions kitchen, and a workout room that is open to the public. The center also houses an educational wing that includes the preschool. It’s a state-licensed safe space childcare center, which is unique for the area.
Usually the staff would take the children to the gym each day, or play outside in the grassy areas however the school was missing a dedicated playground.
She and her team decided to work with Curtis Bischof of General Recreation on the playground design. “First, we went on an adventure to visit a variety of playgrounds in the region. One that stood out to us was Gen Rec’s. We wanted a top-notch, state-of-the-art playground with quality equipment and surfacing. We also were limited with space, so we needed to use it wisely. Curtis helped us accomplish all of that,” says Cathy.
“We wanted to gear it towards young children age 2 to 5, not only for our students and young families in the congregation, but for the public. The playground is a facet of our community outreach plan in the Tri-County area,” explains Cathy.
“We enjoyed working with Curtis. He suggested that we have our church community build the playground with his supervision. We really appreciated this idea. It fit in with how we do things,” she shares.
The “congregation build“ was a smooth success, complete with on-time equipment arrival and a BBQ cookout! “The spirit was good. It brought together church and community members. Also, it was much-needed ‘family time’ for our families. God brought the right people together at all the right time,” Cathy says. “Curtis did really well in orchestrating the day for us, and was willing to support us every step of the way from design and site prep, to surfacing installation, which helped make us a better team.”
When the playground opened on July 15, 2016, the children’s response was amazing to see: they ran in screaming, smiling and laughing as they enjoyed every part of the playground.
“The joy on all the little faces brought tears to the eyes of every childcare teacher that day,” recalls Cathy. “God has blessed us greatly and we felt led to share that blessing to every child who wants to enjoy the playground.”
To learn more about how your church or organization can be hands-on in a community-build playground project, contact your General Recreation Sales Consultant at 800-726-4793 or [email protected]