Over the 4th of July weekend, I traveled to Florence AZ to help a small Greek Orthodox academy install a swing set. The school is located in the desert 60 miles SE of Phoenix.
My host for the project was Symeon Shieh, a resident at the nearby St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery and a teacher at the academy.
Prior to my arrival in Florence, a school volunteer had picked up the metal pipe and bags of Sakrete for the project. The remainder of the swing set parts I brought with me from Utah. The first day, we added scrap to the bottom of the metal swing legs to catch the concrete. This was accomplished at the monastery’s wood shop.
The next day, the volunteers were to assemble at 8 am. Unfortunately beside Symeon and I, there was only one other volunteer. It was July 4 weekend. Fortunately, three teens were rounded up. An icon of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco was set up to bless our worksite.
Because of its length and weight, the swing set frame was assembled in two separate sections to make the structure easier to stand up in place. While standing, the two sections were joined One of the teens had access to a motorized post-hole digger. This sped up the hole digging. Each of the 10 holes were partially filled with concrete.
It was very hot with temperatures in excess of 110 degrees. Individuals took frequent breaks for shade and water. But the work got done; the four volunteers and Symeon worked hard under difficult conditions. The school PTA provided an excellent lunch. The final assembly of swing seats and chain was completed back at the monastery.
Additional structures for the academy’s playground are planned.