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Church Youth Group Builds Playscape at Johnson City Library

Members of the First United Methodist Church youth group created an outdoor play area at the Johnson City Library complete with horseshoe pits and a picnic table. Pictured are Aubrie Norman (front row, left), Mattie Hacker, Johnson City Library director Maggie Goodman, Kourtney Kyzar, Alexis Lira, and Dooley Smith; Ethan Kubala (back row, left), Quaid Thompson, Aubrie Scott, Kip Thompson, and Gavin Thompson. Not pictured are Katie Hacker, Jake Anders, and Carrie Anders. Courtesy photo

JOHNSON CITY — In just 90 minutes, 13 people have made hundreds of children very happy.

That’s the amount of time youth from First United Methodist Church in Johnson City needed to create a tetherball area, a horseshoe pitching court, and a picnic table to go with the washer pitching area at the Johnson City Library, 501 Nugent Ave.

The youth purchased all the material and donated it to the facility, library director Maggie Goodman said.

“They were awesome,” she said. “You didn’t have to tell them what to do.”

Participating youth were Ethan Kubala, Quaid Thompson, Gavin Thompson, Aubrie Scott, Aubrie Norman, Mattie Hacker, Kourtney Kyzar, Alexis Lira, Dooley Smith, Katie Hacker, and Jake Anders.

The group dug a hole for the tetherball pole, arranged it, and poured cement to keep it in place.

The horseshoe court has two tiny sandboxes filled with sand and a stake set several feet apart. It was suggested the boxes be placed at the championship distance level of 40 feet, but Goodman thought that was too far for children.

“We threw the horseshoes to see how far you could throw them,” she said.

The timing of the project couldn’t have been better as staff members are gearing up for the summer reading program and a week of Discovery Academy, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math-related activities for children, Goodman said.

In all, the summer programs are seven weeks, she said.

“The little ones come up, and sometimes, they want something to do out of the house,” she said.

The library has a small play area inside as well.

Some of the youth had volunteered with Texas Ramp Project, which builds ramps for veterans, so constructing a picnic table was no problem.

Before they left, the youth even cleaned out a flower bed.

The play area can be used even when the library is closed, and the library’s free Wi-Fi is available 24 hours a day seven days week. People simply need a password.

The workday wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Carrie Anders, the church’s youth director, and Kip Thompson, who provided tools and a caring heart, Goodman said.

The library is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Call (830) 868-4469 for more information.

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