Milky Milky – Love Outdoor Play goes BIG on the Isle of Man
Hi my name is Chris Gregory, I’m Playwork Development Officer at the Isle of Man based children’s charity The Children’s Centre. I have no idea how to introduce to you what I’m about to write, but I think it’s kind of a big deal in terms of children’s play, I hope you enjoy…
November 16th 2010
I found myself standing in front of the board of governors for The Children’s Centre, the Isle of Man’s largest Charitable organisation; attempting to explaining why I’ve deemed it acceptable to have had over 4000 children playing with fire, climbing trees, building tree houses, making bows and arrows and using knives; what-is-more I wasn’t just standing there explaining why I’ve allowed this, but explaining these opportunities should be available to all children, everywhere.
To say I was guilty of filibustering during this nervy affair would be a little unfair, but the 10 minute slot I was given was never going to be long enough to explain the ins and outs of children’s play. So, some 40 minutes of preaching the importance of play and play promotion, with considerable focus on Love Outdoor Play campaign, I concluded that there had been enough nodding of heads from the board to take a step into the unknown. So I put into practice a philosophy my father had long ago taught me about having the courage to ask “if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”
In my mind the events played out like a high noon shoot out from a badly dubbed spaghetti western. A moment of uncomfortable silence arose; I locked eyes with one of the most recent additions to The Children’s Centres board, CEO of the largest dairy supplier on the Island, Mr Findlay (Isle of Man Creameries™) MacLeod. As my target looked on in confounded awe at my intense gaze and dancing eyebrows, I drew from my holster (a nearby box of family circle) a carton of his finest semi skimmed…
5 hours earlier
An excited phone call had just taken place between me and Dan Raven-Ellison, about my impending meeting with the committee and an idea to advertise Love Outdoor Play on some milk cartons. This conversation was followed by some brief time spent putting my long forgotten art degree to good use and culminated in a mocked up love outdoor play logo on one of the faces of a carton of Isle of Man Creameries, finest semi-skimmed.
It took a moment for Finlay, my CEO and the rest of the board to come to terms with the surreal nature of my actions, but, as their eyes blurred with bewilderment re-focussed on the non-weapon in my hand, they saw the familiar yet awry looking carton and the nervous and hopeful looking smile that had spread across my face.
The ensuing laughter at my actions and my audacity to go as far as I had, by producing a mock up of a design felt like a sure sign that the end of my time with board had come to an undignified end. However, as the laughter died down, John Knight (CEO of The Childrens Centre) spoke up and questioned Findlay on his thoughts to carton, to which he responded… “Lets, make it happen.”
29th March 2011
I am delighted to announce that on April 11th 2011, 100,000 Love Outdoor Play milk cartons will be released to supermarkets and stockists across the Isle of Man; 15,000 Love Outdoor Play window stickers will be available Island wide and radio and press coverage will be announcing and following the launch of what is a major development in a quest to give all children on the Isle of Man a childhood enriched by countless hours of outdoor play.