The playground located behind Beach Lake United Methodist Church, fondly called God’s Playground, has been open to the community since its inception in 1989.  On any given day, children can be found playing on the swings, slides, and climbing areas.  Years of wear have taken its toll on this community staple, and replacement parts are no longer available. 

“The playground was built the same year we opened the Christian Preschool to members of the Beach Lake and surrounding areas,” says BLUMC Preschool Director Tammy Thuman.  “It has become not just a meeting place for the community, but an option for gross motor development within the program and beyond.  It is not fenced in so that all children can enjoy it.”

If the wear and tear were not enough, last year’s tornado was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  With the exception of the newest piece, the rock wall, high winds and falling debris damaged the big slide and other major components of the structure.  With the help of several members of the community, part of the structure was saved. “We were able to eliminate parts and repurpose others to fix certain sections,“ said Joe Francesco, one of the volunteers.  “The playground area was reduced to make it usable for the children, but that was a temporary fix and a new structure is truly needed.  We are out of repair options at this point.” 

A committee was formed, and fundraising begun. Costs for new equipment have greatly increased since 1989.  A new playset manufactured by BYO in primary colors was selected.  “We chose the ‘Double Treble’ set with some added components, and through donations have raised a little over $17,000 to date.  This is a great start, but $40,000 is needed to make it a reality, and this is where we need the community’s help,” shared Aaron LeClere, Committee Chairperson.  “This is the only publicly open playground for our children to use, a free, safe place for families to meet, play, and enjoy the outdoors.  All are welcome at God’s Playground.” 

A Memorial Day rummage sale and other fundraisers are in the planning stages.  If any community members would like more information on how to help with this project, they may contact Aaron LeClere at 570-729-1054.  “The children were so disappointed when the tree came down and took out part of the structure,” added Tammy Lyons, Head Preschool Teacher.  “We were grateful for the temporary fix, but now is the time to find a permanent solution to keep this family gathering area accessible for many years to come.”