GYSD: Flip the Playground

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By Nemanja Ostojic, A – SMYLE Montenegro ’12

I had my first encounter with this problem at the end of my elementary school. It continued thorough the high school, and now when I am in college, the problem is still there.

Nemanja Ostojic '12 and Vasilije Adzic '12, in front of the wall the repainted

Nemanja Ostojic ’12 and Vasilije Adzic ’12, in front of the wall the repainted

The “problem” I am talking about is a playground stationed close to the elementary and high school and the student/high school dormitory house. The playground used to be a place where people of all ages would come, have an active day full of sports, fun events, and would socialize. High school sports tournaments would often take place there as well as social gatherings. But maybe the biggest advantage of it was that it was free of charge! After a while the playground started to look more like a junk yard rather than a clean and safe place. It was neglected by the people in charge as they had no monetary profit from it. We knew something had to be done.

April 13th was THE day. With smiles on their faces volunteers gathered and the action began. A big load of work was ahead of us, but our will kept our spirits up. First things first, we removed trash from the court, and removed all the weeds and plants that were growing from the walls. Then we established teams. Each team was in charge of a different task. Where one team was scraping rust, the other was re-painting the graffiti sprayed wall and so on. Special thanks goes to “Dom ucenikaistudenata” who provided meals and refreshments for our volunteers. The action even motivated students from the dormitory and they offered to help. We got new goal and hoop nets, repainted court lines, fences, poles, hoops etc., cleaned the whole playground, removed a huge pile of dirt and covered deep holes, making this playground playable again.

If it wasn’t for our volunteers this action would not have been a success–We had right people for the job. At the end we were both, extremely tired and extremely happy because we knew we managed to fulfill our goals.

Sandra Brkanovic, '13 in action during the "Flip the playground" action

Sandra Brkanovic, ’13 in action during the “Flip the playground” action

I think the best indicator of our success was the moment at the end, where students that used to play there saw what we did, came and thanked us with all their heart then called friends to try out the new court. To summarize we are very pleased with the results, and we think that this is just the beginning! We hope this project will motivate people to do something for their own communities and spread the positive word.