THE SENIOR CRAFTSMEN
Walt Koenig and Ed Schaal (above, from left) by the playhouse their group, the Senior Craftsmen, built at the Frederick Douglass Christian School in Chester.
Recess was just not as much fun for students at Frederick Douglass Christian School in Chester after a tree damaged their playhouse. After learning about their situation, Walt Koenig and the Senior Craftsmen, a group of about 18 volunteers from Media Presbyterian Church who work on service projects, went into action.
“We heard about the playhouse from one of our members who volunteers at the school's art program,” said Koenig.
During the holiday season, the group raised nearly $2,000 for materials from church congregants and well as outside donors for the 8x12, five-feet-tall playhouse.
“We did the framework inside during the winter,” said Koenig, a longtime member of Rocky Run YMCA. “It took about four weeks to build. The kids like to climb in and out of the windows. We purposely made the playhouse only five-feet-tall so it’s just for kids.”
A retired engineer in the club drew up the plans and a home-schooled high school student, whose grandfather attends Media Presbyterian, volunteered with his dad along with typically nine additional volunteers.
“It’s playable now. We’re excited to see the playhouse finished,” said Ed Schaal, a Senior Craftsman.
So are the staff and students, who are “ecstatic” about the new playhouse.
“The weather is warmer now and our children are really ready to enjoy this beautiful, well-designed playhouse this spring, summer and for years to come. We can only say 'thank you' to Walt and the team of Senior Craftsmen,” said Janice Bowdre, head of school/director at Frederick Douglass Christian School.
From wheelchair ramps to deck repairs, the Senior Craftsmen have been serving their community for nearly two decades. The group started with just two people, including Koenig, because small repairs needed to be done at the church. Then word spread, and now there are about 18 members who sometimes split up and tackle three or four different projects at once.
“The members are from all over now,” says Koenig, who adds that all project materials are funded by monetary donations.
And their finished projects can be seen throughout the county.
“We just built some raised vegetable beds at the Media Food Bank,” says Koenig. “Working on these projects keeps me busy and out of trouble.”
If you ever walk along the Linvilla Bluebird Trail in Media, you’ll see the group’s handiwork with 26 birdhouses they built out of scrap wood. The birdhouses were made for Koenig’s friend and Rocky Run Y’s Senior Strut instructor Pam Dimeler, who monitors the bluebird hatchlings.
And community members are definitely appreciative of the group’s hard work.
“We can't thank these wonderful, productive seniors enough for the work they did for us and the love they pour into their work when they built this wonderful structure for our children,” says Bowdre.
To learn more about the Senior Craftsmen at Media Presbyterian Church, call 484-238-2398 or e-mail Walt.
One of the bluebird houses Walt Koenig built at Linvilla. Photo by Pamela Dimeler. (Below) the craftsmen work to replace steps with a wooden ramp at a home in Chester. Photo by Amy A. Winnemore.
If you know someone who should be featured in "Mission Moment Monday" please e-mail Amy A. Winnemore.
The Y’s Togetherhood program connects people from all backgrounds to plan and carry out volunteer projects that address a real need in their community.
The Rocky Run Y is building this member-driven committee and we are looking for members who want to make an impact in our committee. If you're interested please contact AJ Beaulieu at 610-627-9622 ext. 1223.
Rocky Run YMCA
1299 W. Baltimore Pike
Media, PA 19063