It’s been five years since the 2013 flood destroyed the Cochrane Girl Guide’s playground at Camp Jubilee and finally, the organization has announced it is construction-ready for a million-dollar replacement.
Phase one of the playground, Team Adventure Park, comes with a price tag of $200,000 and will begin construction this month; the playground will be built in three phases.
“Play is a really important part of that whole (camp) and for our girls and our members. We wanted to make sure we brought that back in,” said Arzmund Teja, area commissioner for Girl Guides Canada.
Camp Jubilee saw 6,200 guiding campers and 5,500 day users in the 2016/2017 guiding year.
The proposed playground – built on private property and only accessible to the Guides or those renting the camp space – will have three elements.
The sections include a low ropes course (Team Adventure Park), an amphitheatre and a natural playground in keeping with Guides’ programming. Each of the individual areas will be joined with pathways.
“We already do lots of outdoor programming around outdoor play and free play and this is supplementing that,” Teja said.
The low ropes course will be built this summer and is designed to incorporate group activities where participants will need the assistance of fellow participants to complete it.
The natural playground is estimated to cost $500,000 and will be built next summer, followed by the amphitheatre which will begin construction in the summer of 2020 and is estimated at $250,000.
The project total – roughly $1 million – is hoped to be funded partially by grants from the Government of Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program Small Funding Stream and from the province’s Large Funding Stream.
The Guides are also actively seeking support from other community organizations to help fund the project.
Creating the perfect design for the playground was a “robust” process, Teja explained.
“We didn’t want the traditional metal playground – we wanted something that fit in with our path. We have a lot of wildlife that comes through our camp so it was important to us to maintain that environment,” Teja said.
The Girl Guides held focus groups with each age group of girls in the program, as well as conducted research on various playgrounds in Canada and around the world.
“We went to the experts in the field which is our girls. We talked to our Sparks and Brownies and Guides, Pathfinders and Rangers. They drew on what they loved about the (old) playground, what they didn’t like so much, what they wanted to play on.”
The girls were taken to multiple playgrounds in Calgary and Cochrane during the research phase to test out what was and wasn’t working for
“A lot of the playgrounds we visited with our girls was too small. We often have a brownie unit that has 24 girls in it so when we go to a playground we want all of them to be able to engage in play and not have line-ups,” Teja said.
“We also spoke to our leaders about what they wanted to see when they’re supervising play or engaging in play with our girls …they wanted clear sight lines to be able to watch the kids, they wanted to be able to get on the equipment with the kids. “
The playground will have inclusive features for all skill levels and abilities.
“We wanted to make sure everyone was included – so girls with different physical and mental abilities, etcetera could all participate. It was actually a really robust process … five years later we’re finally at that stage where we’re ready to commit to building something.”
The proposed location is beside the roadway, out of the flooding zone and near Pallesen House.