Let Them Be Kids

Let Them Be Kids is an all volunteer, non-profit organization created to build community capacity on the grassroots level, while building playgrounds, skate parks and fitness parks across Canada. These projects leave a legacy of community members who are inspired and better equipped to lay a strong foundation for a brighter tomorrow.

St. John Catholic Elementary School in Perth is a proud recipient of a 2010 Let Them Be Kids "Believe" Award! Every dollar raised by our community will be matched by Let Them Be Kids
to build a much needed playground at St. John's!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our Video of Build Day at St. John Catholic Elementary School!

Want to relive Build Day at St. John's

We are thrilled that our Let Them Be Kids Video is complete. Check out the video at: http://www.viddler.com/explore/ltbk/videos/164

P.S. - keep your kleenex handy. Build Day is an awesome memory for so many of us, and the video makes us proud of our community and especially our students, who worked so hard to transform our school yard and our sense of community at St. John's!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Amazing Build Day Volunteers and Happy Students!

Now that St. John School students and local children in Perth are enjoying their new playground, which was built on Build Day (May 29, 2010), the playground project is winding up. 

We would like to especially thank local photographer, Chris Crain, who volunteer his time and talents to be our official photographer on Build Day. Chris captured some amazing moments of the playground build. Below is a group photo in front of the new Primary playground structure! 

If anyone in the Perth area needs to hire a friendly, talented photographer, then Chris is your man! You can reach him at: 

Chris Crain Photography
Phone:  (613)-812-4649
Email:   crain18@gmail.com

Thank you Chris for helping to create memories of our amazing St. John's School Build Day!
 Photo courtesy of Chris Crain

Monday, May 31, 2010

Check out St. John's New Playground in Perth!

St. John Catholic Elementary School in Perth, Ontario is thrilled to tell you that our playground project is now complete! We held our fabulous Build Day last Saturday, May 29, 2010, and our students are ecstatic!

On Build Day, we had about 200 dedicated volunteers turn up to make drastic changes to our tired, old school yard! By the day's end, our students had:
-three brand new play structures: one for the kindergarten classes, primary division and junior division!
-a brand new outdoor classroom with prayer corner, outdoor stage for dramatic productions and theatrical student performances during recess(!), and a storyteller's chair
-outdoor community gardens and landscaping, including many new trees planted to provide shade, and a wonderful outdoor reading area at the front of our school
-colourful, beautifully painted outdoor murals of flowers and children in motion, mounted in our outdoor classroom and outdoor reading spaces
-newly built and installed soccer nets both in the primary and junior yards 
-brand new 10'x12' sandbox in the kindergarten yard
-improved sports fields and long jump pit, and freshly painted bike racks and monkey bars
-plus, a brand new, renovated kitchen compliments of Team Depot (Home Depot, Carleton Place)

Thank you to all volunteers who came out that day, including Jesse John of Let Them Be Kids, the Team Depot members, and Dan from Belair Recreation, who supervised the building of our three play structures. You all did a magnificent job!

The photos below show the gorgeous, sunny day God blessed us with on Build Day! Here are some of the amazing results achieved when we all got together to work to improve our students' school experiences: 

St. John's new outdoor classroom (prayer corner) and outdoor stage being built on Build Day!
Outdoor reading area with new murals to add some colour, plus the new Primary Division play structure!
Two more play structures! The first is St. John's new Junior play structure and the next photo shows the Kindergarten play structure with our new (very popular!) airplane spring rider!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thank You Crains' Construction, Dowdall Mechanical and Ricky White!

St. John's Playground Project would not have been possible without the extraordinary help of a few highly-skilled volunteers and local companies.

It was a challenge to pull this project together, and the Playground Committee members and school students will be eternally grateful to the volunteers as well as companies like Crains' Construction, Dowdall Mechanical and local contractor, Ricky White.

In the days leading up to Build Day, there is much prep work to be done, including tasks such as measuring out, excavating and levelling the playground site, and welding the three play structures. Long days were put in during the weekend prior to Build Day as well as the Thursday and Friday before the big build! Luckily, we were able to count on local restaurants, Jersey Joe's Pizzeria and Chipmunk Chippery, to keep our hard-working volunteers well fed!

A big thank you to Jason and Joey Dowdall for doing the welding, to Brent Easton/E&S Logging for donating the boom truck, and to Ricky White who donated the tractor, to get this prep work done! 

A big thank you as well to Crains' Construction who supplied thousands of dollars of materials,  such as filter cloth, 50 tonnes of clear stone, river rock and crushed stone, as well as two mini excavators and a skidsteer.  In addition to this, skilled Crain's employees volunteered their time both on Build Day and for the prep work, so a big shout out to Mike Crain, Terry Harper and Dave MacDonald, who not only work for Crain's but have children who attend St. John's!

Crains' Construction is a locally owned and operated company, which was established in 1976 in Maberly, Ontario.  It is owned by Archie Crain, Wib Crain, Norman Crain, Tom Crain and their families.  Two of Archie's grandchildren attend the school - Matthew and Abby Crain, and younger sibling, Anna, will also eventually be an SJ scholar! 

Prepping the St. John's yard to get ready for Build Day! 
Hard-working volunteer and dad, Mike Crain, takes a break with his children, Matthew, Abby and Anna, as well as Dougie Harper (far left), whose Dad, Terry Harper, also dedicated his weekend to get the St. John's school yard ready for the new playground! 
The crew is standing where the outdoor classroom is about to be built!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pray for a Sunny Build Day!

So far, the weather report looks good for this Saturday's Build Day at St. John's!  It is supposed to be sunny with a high of 25 degrees C - yippee!

Only three more days before our students will have a brand new school yard, thanks to about 200 volunteers, who have already registered to help transform the playground on Saturday. 

It should be an amazing day, and here is some IMPORTANT INFO for all our volunteers to help get ready for Build Day!

-Please bring the waiver form (which will be emailed to you on Thursday) with you to
Build Day.
-When you first arrive on Saturday morning, please register at the Registration Table at the front of the school before entering the school yard.
-Lunch, coffee and snacks will be provided to all volunteers!
-Please bring your own water bottle with you that day. It might be a good idea to bring sunscreen, too!
-Parking is available on side streets around the school, and you may also park in the church parking lot.

Thanks again to all our volunteers, and we look forward to seeing you this Saturday!

Generous Perth Community Donations Make St. John's Playground a Reality!

With just days remaining until Perth area volunteers transform the St. John Catholic Elementary School yard into a playground extraordinaire for our students and children within the community, we will always be grateful for the many generous individuals, service groups and local businesses who made monetary donations to make the students' dream a reality!

Our initial fundraising goal set in January, 2010, was to raise $51,000. As of today, almost $68,000 has been contributed, which has allowed the school to complete its total vision for the school yard, including outdoor classroom, gardens, mural paintings completed by staff and students, and sports field improvements. 

The community support St. John's has received throughout this project has been overwhelming! Thank you to each and every one of you who donated, whether you contributed your time, energy, ideas, talents or funds - the St. John's community thanks you! 

Below are just a few of the many generous companies and service clubs who helped make St. John's new playground a reality!  

All photos courtesy of Chris Must, The EMC

First photo:
Perth Civitan Executive Members Gwen Ramsey, Trish McConnell, Andre Frommer and Richard Peskett hand a generous donation to St. John's principal, Mrs. Terri Brady, while surrounded by SJ students who will benefit from the Civitan's contribution when the playground is built! The SJ students include: Emily Donovan, Tasha McGregor, Sierra Peskett, Nolan McKinnon, and Kira Peskett. 
Second photo:
Kevin Costello of Costello and Company makes a generous donation to the playground fund, which was accepted by teacher & playground committee member, Peter Imeson, & excited SJ student Gracie Costello
Third photo: 
St. John Catholic Women's League of Perth - CWL members Claudette Truelove and Susan Roach support St. John's students Brooklyn Cooper, Natasha Cooper, Jocelyn Cooper, Molly O'Neil, and Katelyn Copp

Top photo:
Mr. Chris Stranberg (CA), Ms. Lisa Dowdall and Mr. John Quigley (CA) of the accounting firm of Kelly Huibers McNeely present kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Melanie O'Neil, with a donation to the playground fund, in front of grateful students Mason Miller and Madison Miller.
Next photo:
The Perth Firefighters' Association become an Amazing Arch Donor for the playground project, as Firefighter Mike Gemmill presents the donation to students Ryley Gemmill, Michael Hogan, Jessica Hogan, and Mikayla Gemmill.

Photo above:
When the SJ Playground Commitee approached Albany International of Perth, Albany immediately responded with a generous donation! Russ Williams and Brian Majaury from Albany make SJ students Sydney Murphy, Haley White and Mark McKay and SJ teacher Sarah Bowes-Christie very happy, when they learn that Albany's contribution brings us closer to building a new playground!

Monday, May 24, 2010

SJ Playground Prep Work Has Started!

Thanks to some hard-working, dedicated St. John's community volunteers, our school yard prep work was completed this past long weekend to get ready for Build Day

St. John's School would like to thank the devoted, caring guys and women who gave freely of their time, talents and tools, especially under the hot  sun on Saturday and Sunday! A big 'thank you' to Mike Crain, Terry Harper, Rick White, Phill Brackenbury, Jason Dowdall, Dustin Murphy, Paul Thomas, Clint Bron,  Jeff Bron, Dave MacDonald plus Louise Bron and Erin Crain.

The challenging part now for our teachers is try to keep our excited children from playing in the holes dug in the ground, where the play structures will be placed this coming weekend!

Here are some great photos of the prep work:

A boom truck, donated by Crain's Construction, placed large boulders in front of the school, which will be used to create an outdoor area for reading and teaching for St. John's students.

Trimming the trees above the area where the primary students' play structure will be placed!

Digging the hollow where the Primary Play Structure will be located!
You can see Father Al's house in the background!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chipmunk Chippery Feeds Happy St. John's Families and Donates to our New Playground!

Cheryl Fournier of Perth's Chipmunk Chippery really knows how to make St. John's families happy! 

Last evening, on May 20, Cheryl dedicated all proceeds from the sale of food from her local chippery to the St. John's Playground Project! Many, many St. John's families know a great deal when they see one, especially when it includes the option of hot fries and family meal deals at the Chipmunk Chippery on Foster Street. There was a huge turn-out that evening to support the Chippery and the playground.

In just three hours, a total of $1100 was raised and donated by Cheryl for the new playground! Your generosity amazes us, Cheryl, and thank you for not only filling the bellies of our students last evening, but their dreams of a great, new school yard as well! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Countdown is On! Build Day is in just 9 days!

Hear ye, hear ye, students of St. John's and all Perth community children!  

Very, very soon, recess will never be the same!

Build Day at St. John's Catholic Elementary School is just 9 days away! Here is an agenda for the day, so get ready to have fun all you volunteers!
Saturday, May 29, 2010  8am – 3pm

8am: Registration opens
8am: Play structure building, gardening & other activities begin
8am: Start laying cloth, arrange/build borders, bring in drainage stone & cedar weave
9am: Start assembling structures
9am: National Let Them Be Kids Webcast begins
www.ltbk.ca (tell your friends & relatives who can’t be with us so they can watch the excitement too!)
9am: Refreshments and snacks available
10:30am: Children's activities begin (for school-age children)
11:30-1pm: Knights of Columbus BBQ Lunch
12pm:  Second shift starts.
Around 1:45pm: Playground completed
1:45 – 2:10pm: Inspections of structures done
2:15pm - entire group photo on structures taken
2:20pm – everyone gathers on lawn
2:30 – 3pm: Opening Ceremony
  • Legion Colour Party enters
  • Playground opens!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lanark Leeds Home Builders Association Honours Graham Gent

Being involved in the St. John's playground project is inspiring in so many ways. Not only do we gain the opportunity of working together as a school community and witnessing many acts of generosity within our larger community, but there are many stories we experience as we come closer to building the children's playground on May 29th. 

One of these inspirational occasions occurred recently when our local Lanark Leeds Home Builders Association donated to the playground project in honour of the late Mr. Graham Gent. Mr. Gent owned Gent and Company Construction Services in Perth, and was an active member of the home builders' association. He was known for being a really wonderful guy, who gave back to his community in the same spirit that our playground project promotes. Mr. Gent even organized an initiative called 'Giving Back to the Community', which aims to complete building projects for people in need.

Mr. Gent passed away suddenly on January 1, 2009. The playground donation made by his friends and colleagues on the Lanark Leeds Home Builders Association sets a wonderful example for our St. John's students, by demonstrating to them the importance of honouring the contribution of Mr. Gent as a community leader with a generous spirit.