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Orchid Blog

AAOS - Volunteer Playground Build

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013

AAOS - Volunteer Playground BuildLast year, the fourth most important San Franciscan tourist attraction during the month of February – after a bridge, a crooked street and a water-bound prison – was undoubtedly the Moscone Centre which was hosting the 2012 AAOS meeting.

The show attracted more than 500 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors. In fact, it seemed at one stage that the longest queue in San Francisco was not for the last ferry leaving Alcatraz Island but instead the one the never seemed to wane at the MAKO robotic surgery demonstrations. However, it wasn't the throngs that flocked to the biggest orthopedic show in the world that was the highlight for me, but instead the sight of a few brave warriors who shuffled up to the Tel-Hi Playground Build Site on Lombard Street to knuckle down to a little bit of voluntary hard labour that was burned in my memory the most from my week on the west coast of the USA.


As always, while all the intelligent members of Orchid made their way to the Canaccord Genuity conference, the rest of us geniuses gathered at the Playground that was yet to be. More than 200 volunteers turned out and rolled up their sleeves at the annual volunteer event, part-sponsored by Orchid. For the 10-person Orchid crew it meant working side-by-side with customers, competitors, partners, surgeons and local volunteers to help in some small way to change an rundown lot into a safe playground.

For those of us that had done this in previous years, it was immediately a relieving sight to notice the absence of mulch! However, there was no shortage of gravel and cement, dust and dirt. Being a much smaller lot to convert this year, after a ½ day’s sweat and toil we were ready to suit up and get ready for the main event - the Academy.

Since 2000, the Academy’s annual volunteer build project—the award-winning Safe and Accessible Playground building program in partnership with KaBOOM!—has provided an opportunity to visibly support playground safety and give something back to the communities we serve by helping with the construction of a safe and wheelchair-accessible play structure for children.

This year we'll be battling the chill of the Windy City to transform the Faith Community of Saint Sabina in the Auburn-Gresham neighbourhood into a Safe and Accessible Playground, so that children with and without disabilities can play safely together.

I'm looking forward again to digging holes, mixing concrete, pushing wheel barrows and maybe even taking a minute's break to chat with you on Tuesday.


By Paul Hewitt, Regional Sales Manager - EMEA