The Idaho Falls YMCA is about halfway to its goal of raising $80,000 to build a new playground and basketball court. The non-profit organization has a mission “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all,” according to its website.
Right now, one of the greatest needs at the YMCA is to rebuild its playground. The current playground is decades old and is no longer in compliance to “what playgrounds should look like or be,” according to Donovan Stokes, the child care director for the Y.
Stokes said they’re hoping to put in new playground equipment, additional and taller swings and then a basketball court on property across the street from the current playground. Stokes told BYU-Idaho Radio a brand-new playground will help promote more physical activities for the kids where they can build life-long friendships.
“I believe the new playground will be definitely a great asset within this community but also give our children more opportunity to develop those relationships,” Stokes said.
He said the playground will also encourage kids to get off their cellphones and electronics. It will be designed to cater to toddlers through sixth graders.
A recent fundraiser helped to bring in about $6,000. It was the first major fundraiser for the project. There are also smaller fundraisers such as a regular “Pizza for a cause!” fundraiser at MOD Pizza in Ammon where a portion of sales goes to the fundraiser. Stokes said they’ve now raised about half of the funds they need for the equipment and the construction costs.
“I have seen an outpouring of support, overwhelming support, of the community helping with this playground,” Stokes said.
He’s seen people donate whatever they can, whether that’s $1 or $500. Among the donors are people who played on the playground when they were children. They’ve also had some help from corporate sponsors.
When the playground is finished, Stokes said they will name it in honor of a local single mother who died from breast cancer in 2019. It will be called the YMCA Christina Anderson Playground.
If you would like to donate to the playground you can go to the YMCA at 155 N. Corner St. in Idaho Falls or go online to www.idahofallsymca.org.