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Anuenue Playground build week approaches: More than 60 volunteers and team leaders still needed in various capacities per shift

September 19, 2017 - 1:15am

WAIMEA — In just over a month from now, hundreds of volunteer hands at all skill levels will be working in sync to build a new state-of-the-art Waimea playground in seven days.

“In concept it is like a barn raising, but one that will serve and benefit all of Waimea,” Vicki Missien said, one of the Friends of Anuenue Playground’s (FOAP) founding members. “It will be a phenomenon in our town, not only for the fact of creating an inspiring new playground, but for the gift of working together as a community to build it.”

Anuenue Playground first opened in 1992 and has remained the town center’s main public playground ever since.

The task at hand will take place the week of Oct. 23-29, with team shifts between 8 a.m.-noon, 12:30-4:30 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 29.

“The Monday through Friday shifts require 60 skilled and unskilled workers per shift, and 100 per shift on Saturday and Sunday,” Missien said. “Half-hour lunch and dinner breaks will be offered between shifts, with full meals provided for volunteers. Evening shift volunteers can come for dinner if they arrive by 4:30 p.m. Water and snacks will be available throughout the day.”

The founding board filled five critical lead coordinator positions for build week back in July.

“The full-of-aloha, Waimea community supporters are Cynthia Heinjus as our site coordinator, Kit and Christina Metzler as the materials coordinators, Eric Mitchell is his role as tools coordinator, Kamalei Stovall as food coordinator and Erin Wilkinson will be the childcare coordinator,” Missien said.

But many other positions need filling.

“There are still openings for mid-level team leader positions, and we would especially like these filled ASAP,” Missien said. “We need eight construction site team leaders who will direct work crews under the guidance of our Play By Design specialist Lee Archin, and Site Coordinator Cynthia Heinjus. These eight must be able to commit to being there for the length of the project, with construction, building or contractor experience, but they don’t need to be doing heavy work, so an experienced, retired, or ‘bad-back-bad-knees’ person can do the job if they are interested and have the requisite background.”

FOAP will also need two team leaders for childcare, food, materials and tools. Each of these will work under the direction of Lee Archin and the relevant coordinator.

“This is a significant and generous commitment on the part of the folks involved, not just for their expertise, but in real-time giving. In addition to whatever time they require for pre-planning, they are on-site for the entire time of the build,” Missien said. “We are deeply grateful, in awe of their gift and commitment to our town and keiki.”

Volunteers can find many spaces still available on a link on the FOAP website at

Once build week officially concludes Oct. 29 at 4:30 p.m., a brief blessing ceremony, cake and ribbon-cutting will be held at 5 p.m. that night. Thereafter, the new Anuenue Playground will officially re-open for children and their families.

FOAP reached their fundraising goal in June, and immediately jumped to the next phase: setting the actual rebuild in motion.

“Many donors contributed to make this dream a reality, and giving ranged from children’s small change to all levels of donor and grant-funding,” Missien said. “It all mattered, and it all together purchased the innovative design and its implementation, materials, equipment and shipping for an updated, code-and-ADA-compliant renewed Anuenue, forward-looking yet in style and appearance very much like the original,” Missien said.

Future donations will go into an Anuenue Playground maintenance fund that will continue to be managed under the fiscal sponsorship of Friends of the Future. All donations are tax deductible.

“In addition to sending joyful thanks to the many who supported the saving of Anuenue with their rebuild donations, we want to acknowledge and extend ongoing gratitude to Friends of the Future, whose fiscal sponsorship, guidance and support remain essential to making the build a reality,” Missien said. “And we want to thank Waimea Outdoor Circle, who for many years supported Anuenue through their volunteer efforts and a managed maintenance account. Groups like these are the backbone of our community, and often their contributions are quiet and unsung.”

The new playground will preserve the essence of the old facility, but provide a much safer play area for children at the end of October.

“To all whose hearts are bound in love for the ‘old’ Anuenue, as founding and core members of Friends of Anuenue Playground we are aware of and very much share in the sentiment and love our town has for Anuenue,” Missien said. “We again emphasize and assure all who love the playground that the decision to demolish and replace it was not made lightly. Following four years of regular volunteer maintenance and repair, and separate inspections by two independent structural engineers, the county could still only promise about five years of playground life remaining, until it would need to be demolished for health and safety reasons.”

“There are no bad guys in this effort, but there are a lot of people working together to save something which has been great, and create something even greater. This is a time of special and rare opportunity, to be part of the same community-shared enterprise that built the original Anuenue 25 years ago,” she concluded.

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