STEVENSVILE – Fundraising for Bear Mountain Playground, the all-inclusive playground for Lewis and Clark Park in Stevensville, is going strong and organizers have several events planned.
Bear Mountain Playground is a nonprofit organization committed to bringing accessible, innovative play to all children in Stevensville.
General coordinator Renee Endicott sees the fundraising as being on target for money raised to date.
“I think we’re in a great place,” Endicott said. “We are continually getting more Facebook friends and community supporters.
“I was just talking to (playground design and manufacturing company) Leathers & Associates and we’re just shy of $38,000 going into the Christmas season. We’ve raised a lot of awareness. We have a ‘give the gift of a playground’ theme.”
Holiday festivities and events are planned, giving opportunities for everyone to get involved and support this community project.
A Christmas Family Fun Night fundraiser will be held Saturday at Stevensville High School from 4 to 8 p.m.
“Two senior girls from Stevensville High School will be hosting this and giving us the proceeds from the fundraiser,” said Endicott. “This will be lots of fun and hopefully people will come enjoy the time. They will have a crazy Christmas photo booth with a Santa and wacky props they are building a neat backdrop. There will also be food for a dinner, ornament making, cookie decorating, games and food. So that’s awesome – they are rocking it and getting donations for ads. The community is helping with their needs but they are running the show.”
The playground committee is also planning a pint night at Lolo Peak Brewing Co., and later this winter it is planning a polar plunge and a ladies night.
“We’re doing a big window decorating contest in January, and we get to hang our sign on Main Street, and we’ll show the map with the thermometer slide to raise awareness, and the playground theme is everywhere.”
Endicott said the community is getting involved and showing its support.
“The mayor and his wife just donated $500 and we’re sending out a letter challenging Stevi businesses, professionals and families to match their donation,” she said. “The letter is really amazing because they are so excited to be part of this project and that it will bring the community together. We hope it jump-starts the holiday giving and prompts everyone to consider the playground for their end of year tax donation. It will be a fun challenge.”
The goal of the committee is to have a couple of events each month. The Touch a Truck event brought in $1,100 with 34 vehicles and 24 business and many individuals participating.
“That event was so successful we plan to do it every year and on-going as the maintenance park fund,” she said.
Bear Mountain Playground participated in an event called National Neighborhood Toy Store Day as part of celebrating the birthday of Big Sky Toy Room on U.S. Highway 93.
“Kathleen, the manager of Big Sky Toy Room, gave us 10 percent of proceeds that day,” said Endicott. “So, we were there to do glitter tattoos, free for all kids that came in and free gift wrapping and a raffle.
“It’s those kinds of things that make fundraising fun. We’re trying we have a big silent auction in March. So we’re looking for silent auction items for that. We’re hoping for big ticket items and components. Then, we’ll know budget wise where we are at and it will be a big push then.”
The goal is to have the Bear Mountain Playground installed in Lewis and Clark Park by next September.