It won't be long now.
The time is quickly approaching when the children at Acreman Elementary in Green's Harbour and the surrounding communities will be running around in a new playground.
The lot, which has been empty for years, will undergo an extreme makeover of sorts that will see a new playground built on Sept. 29 that will be of benefit children in the entire region.
For the past five months, the playground committee, made up of teachers and community members, has been involved in fundraising efforts leading up to build day.
So far the committee has managed to raise $45,000 in support of its playground vision.
That is more than halfway to their target of $70,000.
Playground committee member Cathy Reid said since school has finished the committee has worked tirelessly to put plans into motion and make sure everything is ready for late September.
"As you can imagine, an extreme play yard makeover in five months is a lot of work," she said with enthusiasm.
Since being selected for the Let Them Be Kids program, which will match the amount raised by the committee dollar for dollar, the program has picked up a number of additional grants to aid in the process.
There is a $7,500 grant from the United Way, $5,000 from TD Bank Friends of the Environment and $2,500 from the Cal LeGrow Foundation.
"We are still waiting for many others to come in," said Reid. "People are stepping up for our children."
She said the support from the four communities - Hopeall, Whiteway, Cavendish and Green's Harbour - has "exceeded our wildest dreams."
Evolution of a dream
Reid said the vision of the playground committee has morphed and evolved from that of simply a playground.
Now the committee has decided to pursue the construction of an outdoor classroom, a peace garden, a labyrinth and an upgrade to the current soccer field.
"Research shows that children are happier and learn better when outdoors," said Reid.
It does not take much to feel the excitement in the air in the communities that feed into Acreman Elementary.
Reid said she is sure the buzz at the school in September will no doubt be around the new playground.
"The kids seem to have more faith than the adults do," she said. "While they are extremely excited, they often speak of the playground as if it is a matter of fact."
With that said, Reid indicated that as build day is approaching they have 240 volunteers registered and ready to help out.
"I am excited beyond words that things are coming together the way they are," she said. "I can't express how it feels to think back to just a few months ago when we only dreamed of a playground.
"In only a few weeks, that dream is going to be a reality. I get butterflies in my stomach."
Getting over the hump
To help get the fundraising efforts over the hump, Prince Edward Island's celtic-gospel quintet the SKY Family will be in the area next week.
A father-children group, the family features the dad, Tom Sky playing guitar, fiddle and piano, Seth on bass, Joel on lead fiddle, saxophone and flute, Gabe as lead dancer, guitarist and drummer, and daughter Miriam on piano. Each member does vocals.
The group is playing at the Salvation Army Citadel in Green's Harbour Saturday, Aug. 18 with proceeds going towards the playground at Acreman Elementary. The SKY Family will also be at St. George's Heritage Church in Brigus, Monday, Aug. 20 and the Sheila NaGeira Theatre in Carbonear, Tuesday, Aug. in aid of the Helping Hand, during their visit to the Trinity-Conception region.
"The SKY Family is always looking for ways to help a community and bring a smile wherever they go," said Patty Lueken, representative for the SKY Family through email.
Reid said she realizes that small churches in small communities have their own needs and the group "greatly appreciates the church's willingness to host the concert in aid of our playground."
"We are delighted to have the SKY Family from PEI come here to help us out," she said.
Tickets for the show are $15 and are available at local outlets in the Green's Harbour-Whiteway area