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Using Play Areas for Outreach
By: Mark Nichols

“Build it and they will come and play…” It sounds like a clip from an old movie about a baseball field, but when it comes to the playground business, there is a lot of truth to this statement. Our company, BoMar Softplaygrounds International, is in the business of designing and building custom playgrounds for clients around the world…not just ordinary playgrounds, but playgrounds that are soft and safe. Our custom and unique playgrounds are made of high-density foam and coated with soft urethane rubberized materials that have flexibility and feel like soft skin.

The process is easy to describe. Artists first sculpt the foam in the shape of a character. The sculpted foam is then coated with rubberized material, forming a durable, but soft, skin. Finally, the character is airbrush painted with flexible paints to give the piece a high gloss, smooth finish that is durable and very nice to look at. What’s more, the pieces are easy to keep clean and shiny.

Whether we are building playgrounds for malls, water parks, theme parks, resorts, or even churches, no matter the setting, the playgrounds become “kid magnets” because they are so attractive to look at and give the kids a safe environment to do what they do best… play! And play they do. You have probably seen some of our playgrounds in your local community mall or water park.

Three years ago, our church, West Orange Church of Christ in Winter Garden, Florida, embarked on an expansion program for the existing building. It seemed to be a perfect fit for a new play area. BoMar Softplaygrounds decided that it would be a good showcase for our products, so we donated our services to design and build a soft playground, if the space was available.

Not only did the elders accept our donation, but they designated the playground to be located front and center at the entrance of the building. The theme was a beach and tropical theme, which is perfect in central Florida. The play area consists of a treasure chest slide and tunnel, a seahorse rider, clown fish, starfish, crab climb-ons, and a log slide. The area also includes a beach-themed mural with clouds that spell out “Jesus loves the little children.”

Our intentions for building the soft play area at West Orange were also for an outreach to the community of Central Florida. West Orange Church of Christ is situated in a rapidly growing area where there is tremendous building of new homes and businesses. We have seen through the development of our playgrounds that the playground itself becomes a destination area where young families love to come and have fun.

Churches are always seeking new ways of reaching out to their communities and attracting people to attend. Many times, it is through our children and their activities where we develop relationships with other people.

Our hope is that, through the new playground, children will be attracted and their parents will be attracted, as well. Parents always have their children’s best interests at heart and seek places to develop their children’s minds, hearts, characters, and souls.

I can’t think of a more safe and nurturing environment than the play area at West Orange Church of Christ. Our prayer is to attract honest seeking people so we all can grow in our spiritual relationship with Christ. If more people are attracted because of the new building and play area, and God is gloried, then hallelujah!

We have a huge opportunity – and, therefore, a great responsibility – in the central Florida region to help bring more people to God. My prayer is that the new play area will be a blessing to the children and families that come to worship God with us. We know people will come to visit, but we hope that they decide to come back and grow with us spiritually.

Fun is a huge motivating factor. We all love to have fun. What makes me most happy is to watch young children playing and having a good time. The interaction with the other kids develops character and social skills. Plus, the children get a lot of exercise.

While our company has not targeted churches in the past, as our business has primarily been with corporate entities, it seems to be a natural fit for churches to look at soft and safe playgrounds. Remember, “Build it and they will come and play.”

If your church is interested in a soft and safe themed play area, visit Bomar’s Web site at www.bomarsoftplaygrounds.com. They make play areas for wet and dry environments, inside or out. You can also contact Mark Nichols directly with any questions by emailing him at BoMarSD@aol.com.









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