Multiple award-winning journalist Allen Pizzey relaxes at his cottage on Drag Lake. Pizzey CBS News correspondent since 1980 and print journalist since 1975 retired in late March and plans to spend a lot more time on this deck. For 27 years Pizzey has been based in Rome but the ancient capital just can't compete with the call of the loons and the smell of pine. ANGELA LONG Staff

Playgrounds to playgrounds

By Lynda Shadbolt

Published Oct. 31 2017

For the first seven to eight years of my daughter’s life she spent a lot of time at Head Lake Park running around on the playground. It was where she met her friends. She got strong as she ran climbed and played on the swings.

We parents hung out chatted and connected while kids played.

I remember when Stuart Baker Elementary School got their new playground equipment and how excited the kids were. Every recess was a race to the pirate ship or the slide.

Kids need places to explore play connect and gain confidence physically and socially. We are lucky here in Ontario where there are playgrounds in most if not all communities. Kids will tell you that they love their playgrounds and they are important.

It was a shock to me when I travelled to Guatemala last April and stayed at The Hermitage (owned by Severin Geser and Emma Carruthers) which is located in a small town called San Pablo. The people living in this village are very very poor. It took my breath away.

So many things I take for granted in my life were not available to these people.

One thing I observed were the number of children hanging around on the streets during the day. School is expensive for them ($40 a year) and so many don’t attend. I watched kids swimming in the lake with pop bottles tied together with a rope as a flotation device. Malnutrition is a big problem.

We all noticed there was no playground for the kids. Emma and Severin told us that they were just about to start raising funds to build a playground for the local children. Their plan included hiring local workers and paying them a fair wage to build the structure and the mayor of the town has since given them a piece of land to build the playground on.

Emma and Severin plan to give the playground to the children this Christmas. Since April they have raised $1500 of the $3000 that they need. They started a Go Fund Me page. The funds are sent to Severin’s parents in Switzerland and they will ensure the money gets to the project.

I am pretty sure kids in this community would help out if they knew about this project and if they knew how every dollar makes a difference. So I am asking you to talk to your family and consider helping with this initiative. You can read about the project on line at

You can make a donation on this page or I am also collecting donations at Blue Sky Yoga Studio/ Haliburton Chiropractic until Nov. 15. Every loonie and toonie will help.

Any funds I collect will be sent to the project under the name of the Kids of Haliburton County. I think our kids would be happy to help with this project if they knew about it. Kids want to help kids play. Thank you in advance for any contribution you and your family can make.