Project Playground Leaders share vision with community and PenFed Executives

Emily Schmidt, Copy Editor

On Thursday, Nov. 15, seniors Andrea Gonzalez Pena, Michelle Castro, and Spencer Falter gave a presentation on “Project Playground” to members of the community, the Offutt 55th Communications Group, and members of Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s in Peter Sarpy Elementary School’s library.

The presentation consisted of an explanation of the team’s vision and a tour of the site. The team also presented Peter Sarpy Elementary School’s Principal Jeremy Weber, Executive Vice President of Member Operations at PenFed Jamie Geyton, Senior Vice President of PenFed’s Operation Division Jim Kingsley, and Offutt with certificates of appreciation.

“This is just to thank everybody involved because there’s so many different parties,” Falter said. “You have the base, you have the district, you have the school itself, so many people we want to appreciate.”

Project Playground is FBLA’s leadership project whose goal is to provide Peter Sarpy Elementary School with a new playground. The task was divided into three separate year-long “phases.” Phase one was determining the need for a new playground by meeting with Weber. Phase two raised $12,000 for the landscaping to be done. Most of the earnings came from a fun run. Phase three consists of securing funds for the equipment and installing it.

FBLA chapter members helped with the landscaping work for phase two in May. The group reached out to multiple businesses for phase three, and PenFed answered. The credit union provided $50,000 that paid for two wooden playground sets, four basketball hoops, three tables, a bike rack, swing combo set, activity net, buddy bench, 34,000 pounds of mulch and more.

Kingsley learned of the project when his daughter who teaches at Peter Sarpy asked if he would like to help with Project Playground. PenFed believed the project was donation worthy because it aligned with a couple of their six strategic intents.

“One of them is that we support the military, people who serve and their dependents,” Kingsley said. “Another one: we want to be a community leader and this [project] checks two boxes. We can do something for the military based school here and we can also support the community of Bellevue Public Schools.”

Along with 10 to 15 people from Offutt AFB, FBLA chapter members will install the playground and set the mulch on Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Kingsley said it’s his favorite project he’s been involved in during his 25 years at PenFed.

“We give a lot of money in the community to organizations and stuff like that and we never actually get to see what they do with the money,” Kingsley said. “We know they do great things, the people we give money to, but we can come see what the playground looks like.”