Mission’s Camp Bennet, a free sleep-away summer camp for inner-city children from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, has been awarded an Imagination Playground in a Cart™, an innovative playground equipment system, thanks to a grant provided by Target and national non-profit KaBOOM!. KaBOOM!, the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through play, is working with Target to increase access to play across the country.
Grants for Imagination Playgrounds are helping to achieve that goal by bringing active play to more than 430,000 kids across the country. Imagination Playground in a Cart™ is an innovative design in play equipment that encourages creativity, communication and collaboration in play. With a collection of custom-designed, oversized blue foam parts, Imagination Playground™ provides a changing array of elements that allow children to turn their playground into a space constantly built and re-built by their imagination.
“Because our campers often have some lags in learning, we look for every creative experience we can to enhance their stay at Camp Bennett. Imagination Playground is a larger-than-life-sized foam block system that encourages kids’ problem solving, teamwork and, of course, climbing,” describes David Treadwell, Mission Executive Director. “It’s perfect for rainy days in our gymnasium, and it will also be available to youth and community groups who host retreats at Camp Bennett.” Started as a ministry of Central Union Mission in the 1940s, Camp Bennett provides a free week-long summer camp for children from families who could not otherwise afford camp. For many, this is their first time away from home, where they can make new friends and experience the wooded Maryland countryside.
Children enjoy camp activities like swimming, a ropes course, crafts and bonfires along with the silly games and compassionate guidance of their college-age counselors. Central Union Mission’s generous donors sponsor these lasting memories for needy children. Unstructured, child-directed play has proven to help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually, yet today’s kids have less time and fewer opportunities to play than any previous generation. The grant is part of Target’s ongoing efforts to help make wellness more affordable, accessible and inspirational for its team members, guests and communities.
Founded in 1884, Central Union Mission is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit with its homeless shelter located at 65 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001. In addition to its emergency shelter program, the Mission operates rehabilitative and job training programs for men, a clothing and furniture distribution center, a retreat and recreation center with a camp for underprivileged children and a ministry to families and senior citizens. www.missiondc.org.