Saturday, June 11, 2011


South Dundas, ON – South Dundas has been selected to receive a national award that will lead to the redevelopment of the children’s playground in Earl Baker Park.  The award, furnished by Let Them Be Kids, a non-profit organization based in Oshawa, ON, was given to the municipality following an application by the South Dundas Community Playground Committee.  The volunteer-led initiative will build the playground and redevelop the park on Saturday, September 24, 2011.

“We are incredibly excited to revitalize this playground for the children of the community,” said Matt McCooeye, the chair of the group.  “It is our intention to recreate this park, making it a place where children can gather and play with their friends, where parents can connect with each other, and members of the community at large can watch their friends and family members continue to grow.”

The idea for the community project was hatched in April, when the group nominated the municipality of South Dundas to Let Them Be Kids.  After an interview and selection process, confirmation of the ‘Helping Hands’ award was officially received.  Let Them Be Kids will provide significant financial and logistical support to make the project a success.  Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the award is the 50/50 matching program, which gives the community one dollar of equipment purchasing power for every fifty cents raised.

“We saw a unique opportunity because of a vision of how to take a park that was down by the water, and make it a wonderful community gathering place,” explained Let Them Be Kids Founder Ian Hill on why South Dundas had been selected as an award winner.  “The application was submitted by people that wanted to be inclusive in the approach that they took to include the community in the project, and make it more than just a playground.  We were impressed by the passion, the commitment, and the drive they exhibited.”

From Monday, July 27th, to Friday, July 1st, the organizers will hold what they call a ‘dotmocracy’.  This is an event where the children themselves will vote to decide what play structures they want in the park.  Each child in the community will have the opportunity to see posters of all the different playground structures.  They will be given three stickers - or dots.  They will place their dots on the structures they like.  The structures with the most dots will be a part of the playground! 

The dotmocracy events will be held at Morrisburg Public School, St. Mary/St. Cecilia Catholic School, and Iroquois Public School on June 27th and 28th.  The group will also be present at the July 1st Canada Day festival.

On Saturday, September 24th, the playground will be built.  The committee is looking to sign up hundreds of volunteers to be part of the process.  On that day, the volunteer group will not only set up the play structures, but also plant shrubs and trees, and make the park a true community gathering place. 

We are looking for volunteers to join the team to make our community a better place for our children.  Sign up by clicking on 'Join the Effort' button on the right side.