Going to Gulfport

Prep Day For A Playground

We got to the Ocean Springs Boys and Girls Club bright and early Thursday morning. We met with the KaBOOM! project managers, Bing and Jen, and found out exactly what we were going to do: get the site ready for the big build on Friday. Normally, all that's done on prep day is unloading the playground components, grading the site, and digging the holes. Then, on build day, the volunteers get to see a playground rise, in its entirety, from bare dirt. The KaBOOM! folks call it "From Nothing to Everything in A Day."

This build was a little different.

Because the design called for two tall shade hats (a must for southern Mississippi summer days), we were going to put up the poles for the shade hats as well. Okey-dokey then!

Here's the site.


First we had a nice nosh, complete with good coffee, which lulled us into compliance. Then we gathered at the big semi and unloaded the playground components, placing them in two big POD storage containers for build day on Saturday.

Some of us got to cut all the wood for the wooden benches, planters, and trash bins. Others folks assembled some of the components we'd use later to stabilize the shade hats. I got to shovel dirt. A big old drill, attached to a BobCat, actually dug the holes; I got to shovel the dirt away from them. It didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked, what with big old tree roots and collapsing hold walls, but eventually the holes got dug.

Then it was time to tote the tall poles to the holes and raise the shade hats.


Then the construction manager, Treynor, got to go up in the cherry picker and bolt all the pole arms together in the center.


Oh yeah, we got to hold up the poles and make sure they were straight. I was doing that when I started feeling kind of dizzy, so I grabbed a big guy and made him take my place. I figured it was probably better than fainting and falling in a hole and having the poles (and everyone holding them) fall on top of me. Yah.

Then we attached some of the preassembled components, the better to keep the first shade hat straight and facilitate the planting of the second shade hat.

At the end of the day, the bare bones of the shade hats were up, with concrete poured in the holes, standing straight and tall. These structures are rated to withstand 150 miles an hour winds, so no worries about hurricanes!

The base crew did more work after we left, to ensure that build day would go smoothly. But that's a story for another day!