Author Archive for Nicole Stoddard

How to Set Up Playground Fundraising through Three Popular Channels

You have probably heard, made donations to, or even participated in an online fundraising format, but have you ever thought this might be a great way to raise awareness about and for funding your playground?

Perhaps you don’t know where to start! Well, LuckyDog Recreation has taken the guesswork out of it by providing you key information on how to make a kick-butt fundraising campaign. Three of the most popular online funding channels we explored for you are GoFundMe, Chuffed, and YouCaring.


GoFundMe is a popular fundraising solution for nonprofits. According to the site, GoFundMe is, “the world’s largest social fundraising platform, with over $5 billion raised so far.”

  • There are no penalties for missing your goal.
  • You keep all donations that you receive.
  • You have access to expert advice available 24/7.
  • There are other listed benefits at GoFundMe

GoFundMe is a for-profit organization.

Pros of using this site:
Donor protection guarantee
Mobile app available
24/7 support
0% Platform Fee

Possible cons of using this site
2.9% plus $0.30/donation Payment Processor Fee

Where to Start
To better understand how it works, scroll to the bottom and select “How It Works” underneath the “Get Started” category. The site is here.

Watch the how-to video on that site.

Select the button that says, “Start a GoFundMe,” located in the top right corner, or the one right under the video. There you can begin setting your campaign up.

You’ll be able to send out thank-you notes and updates right from your dashboard.


Chuffed is a social enterprise, focused on nonprofits, charities, social enterprise, and community groups and individuals making a change.

On the homepage of their website, it outlines the basics of how to get started.

Pros of using this site:
There is no cost for campaigners.
You keep all of the money that you raise.
There’s no sign-up or monthly fees.

Possible cons of using this site:
2.0% + $0.30/donation payment processor fee


Recently, YouCaring and GoFundMe have joined forces. Here is a link for more information.

Pros of using this site:
0% Platform Fee
8 million donors
1 billion dollars raised
Real-Time Customer Support
Daily Access to Funds
Easy 5-Minute Setup
Mobile Friendly

Possible cons of using this site:
2.9% + $0.30/donation payment Processor fee

Other fundraising sites worth looking at:
FundRazr (For-profit)
Fundly (4.9% + credit card processing fee 2.9% + $.30/transaction)
Kickstarter (For-profit)
Indiegogo (For-profit)
JustGiving (For-profit)
Razoo (For-profit)
Pozible (For-profit)
Crowdrise (For-profit)

Sites that compare different fundraising channels against each other:

By Sarah Knight, Nicole Stoddard

Join In The Fun! Grand Opening of Pirate Island Playground

City of Rigby and LuckyDog Recreation announce grand opening and ribbon cutting for Pirate Island Playground

By Sarah Knight
June 6, 2018

Rigby, ID – The City of Rigby and LuckyDog Recreation will be holding the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Pirate Island Playground on June 9, 2018, at Scotty’s South Park in Rigby. A professional photoshoot will be held from 10 to 11 am, with the ribbon cutting at noon.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their family and a picnic. Families will be invited to meet Slyde the Playground Hound® and enjoy free games and activities.

About Pirate Island Playground

This playground represents the union of Playcraft® and Berliner®, two well-known playground manufacturers, each with unique takes on their equipment design.

The playground, as the name suggests, has a pirate ship, complete with a cannon, wheelhouse, balcony deck and telescope, pirate sail, a maze, an alligator balance beam, rock steps, a cargo net, and much more. In addition to the pirate ship, there is a thirteen-foot double slide, with a drum, horn, chime, and bell panel. Between the large structures, there are two 20ft tall climbing nets, connected together with a net bridge.

As if it couldn’t get any more exciting, there is a multi-spring speedboat for toddlers and a 100ft long zip line for everyone (yes, grownups are welcome!) —and the most incredible feature of it all, is that children can go from one end of the playground to the other without ever touching the ground!

About LuckyDog Recreation

LuckyDog Recreation is Idaho’s local playground equipment supplier and installer with 30 years of experience. They walk clients through the selection, design, purchase, delivery and installation of their playground, and offer post-construction inspections. LuckyDog offers a variety of brands, including Playcraft Systems, Dog-ON-It Parks, Coverworx, Custom Canopies, Aveer Tile Systems, Playsafer, FlexGround, ForeverLawn, Sof’Fall, BRP, ID Sculpture, Goalsetter, Bison, Freenotes Harmony Park, Berliner and Everlast Climbing.

Arrrh Maties – Join us for the fun this Saturday!

Nicole Stoddard – LuckyDog Recreation

P.S. Pirate Island Playground is one of my favorites, the City of Rigby chose some fabulous playground equipment…like the pirate ship in the picture below. Plus the Scotty’s South Park playground is the perfect marriage of Playcraft playground equipment and Berliner play equipment.

Scotty's South Park, Rigby Idaho - Pirate Island Playground

The LuckyDog crew installing Berliner Play Equipment at Pirate Island Playground

“The process [of working with LuckyDog] was a pleasure from the very beginning, from the planning stage to completion; this company was fabulous to work with! They worked in the worst weather and were always cheerful…what a great bunch of guys!

“Nicole, Lynette, Jordyn, CJ, and the rest of the crew feel like family! Not a day went by that we were not in contact. What a wonderful experience!

“The equipment is a well-thought-out portion of our park, and it all fits together perfectly. It catches the eye from the highway and the kids are all smiles! [The playground] has been busy every day since it’s completion!

“I have already recommended LuckyDog to other cities, counties, and schools. They are even my favorites on Facebook! We are hoping to use them again soon in our other park. Thank you!”
Rigby City Clerk – Rigby South Park Playground, Rigby, Idaho

Scotty's South Park, Rigby Idaho - Pirate Island Playground

Playcraft System at Pirate Island Playground


Make the most of your playground real-estate with our

LuckyDog Recreation presents THE Berliner® SPACEBALL!

You can learn more about the Berliner® Spaceball with this short video…

Presenting Berliner Spaceball – Perfect School Playground Equipment

Architects: download the specifications/CADS here:  Berliner® Spaceball

Berliner Ready to Ship Playgrounds - LuckyDog Recreation

Ready to add new Berliner Play Equipment? – Call LuckyDog Recreation.

Playground Equipment Utah Call Button


Getting Fit Is Fun With An Outdoor Fitness Gym Right In Your Park

It is simple to add the element of fun to exercise with outdoor fitness equipment. Now you can easily include an outdoor fitness gym to you park and pathways.  

Four Key Elements of Fitness

LuckyDog Recreation is pleased to announce our new ACTIONFIT™ product line-up. To serve you better the new and improved fitness courses at ACTION FIT™ are expertly configured to provide the opportunity for a well-rounded workout and focus on the four key elements of fitness:

  • Aerobic
  • Muscle
  • Core
  • Balance
  • Flexibility

“ACTIONFIT™ outdoor exercise equipment is “well designed, affordable and accessible” – Rick O’Rear (Recreation Division Manager, City of Chattanooga).

Calling all public space designers!

Whether you’d like to place the single units Compact Course or our fully loaded Endurance Course, let us help you find the perfect mix for your space and budget.

CAD drawings, pricing and all the support you have come to expect from us are just a phone call away.

Call today! 1-800-388-2196

Nicole Stoddard, Marketing and Sales Manager

Outdoor fitness Equipment - LuckyDog Recreation

Why Recess Matters – Kids In Pursuit of Play

Kids are built to move! Growing bodies are pushing their boundaries as they learn both how to move and how to build lifetime habits of being active.

Unfortunately, many kids are deprived of the opportunity for recess and physical education as schools focus on standardized testing emphasizing academic subjects. The most frustrating part of this is that kids who move more do better on those tests!1,2

Kids in Pursuit of Play with LuckyDog Recreation

Kids In Pursuit of Play

Regular physical activity is key to the growth and overall success of children as they grow into maturity. Current recommendations for children under 18 years of age:

  • Kids need at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, and including at least three days of vigorous physical activity.
  • Include muscle strengthening activities such as climbing trees, using playground equipment, etc. on at least three days of the week.
  • Also, bone strengthening activities like running or jumping rope should be done at least three days of the week as well.3

That’s a lot of activity for a child who is essentially confined to a desk for most of the day.

It comes as no surprise that teachers commonly complain about behavioral disturbances, when research clearly shows that even one period of recess time of at least 15 minutes has significant positive improvement on classroom behavior.4

Recess Matters Because Children Matter

If we really care about children and their ability to succeed in today’s world, we need to prepare them for success by building strong habits early on.

If we really want to see school test scores improve, we need to provide opportunities for growing minds to succeed with built in physical activity.

Kids are meant to move; let’s show how much we care by giving them that chance.

Dr. Brett McIff

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association between school based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
  2. Physical activity and sedentary time in relation to academic achievement in children. Haapala, Eero A. et al. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport , Volume 20, Issue 6, 583 – 589.
  3. US Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. 2008.
  4. 4. School recess and group classroom behavior. Barros RM, Silver EJ, Stein RE. Pediatrics. 2009 Feb; 123(2):431-6. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825.

Cutting Edge Playground Equipment For 2018 – What’s New In Play

Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has been a year since I joined the LuckyDog Recreation Team. Traveling the state of Utah to meet with architects and representatives from cities and schools have become my favorite part of this job. To say the least, joining forces with you in the “Pursuit of Play” is an exciting adventure.

I am sure you will agree that the play industry has grown by leaps and bounds. This growth has spurred some of the most amazing new innovations in playgrounds, nature parks and community spaces.

You will find that the playground equipment companies that come under the LuckyDog umbrella are the leaders in the play industry. They stand above the fray with cutting-edge products.

Playcraft Systems™

• Playcraft Systems™ has a newly designed catalog for 2018. The new Contour line is designed to develop coordination, balance and decisiveness in a compact structure that reduces barriers and isolation.

New Playcraft Contour - Utah, Idaho Wyoming

Berliner Play Equipment™

• The Berliner line is pushing the boundaries of design with their custom creations. Amazing playground projects come from your ideas of how you want to use the Berliner line. We always have access to fabulous Berliner pieces to revitalize your play spaces which we can deliver for installation in as little as 2 weeks.


• PlayTime® is a recent addition to the LuckyDog portfolio. When you want to add a spark of whimsy or something completely unique to revitalize your play area, PlayTime® is the way to go! If your school mascot is a dragon, let’s replace a standard slide with a vibrant dragon – enter his mouth and slide down his back….so cool!

You imagine it — they bring it to life.

Let’s Create…Call Me Today!

Rhetta McIff, Utah Creative Play Designer, LuckyDog Recreation

P.S. Call for your new playground equipment 2018 catalogs.

LuckyDog Recreation at URPA 2018 Tradeshow in Provo, Utah

Thank you! We enjoyed meeting everyone that stopped by our booth at the URPA 2018 tradeshow in Provo, Utah.

As you know, every year we like to do a drawing for a big prize. This year the drawing was for a Freenotes Harmony Park™ outdoor musical instrument. Karen Yocum of Park City Recreation was the winner!

“Thanks for the great addition to our play! We are going to place it at our bus stop next to another sound toy for our community enjoyment.” Karen Yocum, Park City Recreation

Congratulations Karen. We are excited for your community.

A BIG thank you to our education breakout session presenters – Kate Morrison of Freenotes Harmony Park and Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.

In Pursuit of Play,
Nicole Stoddard and the LuckyDog Recreation Team

LuckyDog Recreation team at URPA 2018

In Pursuit Of Play With Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments

Now you can bring music to your playground, park or facility with Freenotes™, the industry leader in outdoor musical instruments, invented by Grammy Award-winning musician Richard Cooke more than 20 years ago.

Whether it is the little diddy that keeps rolling around in our heads, or the tunes we love to play on our way home from work, or the music that guides us through a movie, there is no doubt that music plays an integral part in our lives.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”- Victor Hugo

Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments™ are based on the pentatonic scale, a musical scale with five notes per octave. Think the 5 black keys on the piano: no matter how you play them, they sound great. Pentatonic scales are encountered in music all over the world. It is the basis for Chinese music, Celtic folk music, blues, jazz, country music and gospel music, to name a few.

The pentatonic scale plays a significant role in music education. The creative improvisation of the pentatonic scale makes the Freenotes™, xylophones, bells, marimbas, chimes and drums native to our ability to play freely and be in harmony with any other instruments being played at the same time. There are no wrong notes.

Benefits of Outdoor Musical Instruments

1. Inclusive Play – No matter the limited ability of a person, outdoor musical instruments provide play that other playground equipment cannot.

2. Music is Universal – Music does not differentiate between ability or language. Musical instruments are for everyone, everywhere, regardless of social, educational, mental or medical differences. Musical play is for teens, adults, the elderly and children alike. This important concept is often missed when determining what to offer in a Park or Playground.

3. Builds Community – A musical playground brings community music-making directly into your public space, for community use.

5. Everyone is a Musician – Freenotes Outdoor Musical Instruments™ are pentatonic scale instruments designed for improvisational play, created in a way that allows success for every player.

6. No Special Surfacing Requirements – Because of the nature of the instruments, you do not need to provide special safety surfacing. A well-designed musical space will give easy access to everyone visiting the area.

7. Low Maintenance – The all-weather instruments look like variations of xylophones, chimes, marimbas and drums. Made of aluminum, fiberglass and other durable materials, they require very little maintenance.

What is the Perfect Space for Outdoor Musical Instruments?

The simple answer would be wherever people could possibly gather. But to spark your imagination, here are some ideas:

1. Exercise trails – Make going from the drudgery of exercise to the chance to stop, create and experience joyful music.

2. Walking loops around park and playground facilities – Encourage more walking by appealing to the senses with musical instruments.

3. Outdoor common areas of your business – Imagine the fun employees and families will have creating music together, building a community.

4. Outdoor Waiting Areas of Hospitals – Relieve stress and bring the pleasure of lighthearted sounds to your environment.

5. Lake and River Walkways – These visual works of art are interactive and a delight in beautiful natural settings.

6. School Playgrounds – Spark imaginations and improve academic performance, the power of musical instruments is an undeniable force in any educational setting.

7. Public Parks – Outdoor musical instruments provide play activities that interest kids, teens, adults and seniors. Most public parks provide play for kids but leave the rest of us with very little to do.

8. Residential Communities – As we see more and more residential communities going up in our cities, a musical park would be most appreciated by teens and adults of your community. Because kids of all ages flock to the instruments, your residents will be delighted.

9. Museums – Imagine these beautiful works of art at the entrance to your museum. Enhance the experience of your visitors with an interactive musical experience that will surprise them.

10. Community Gardens – Freenotes is the perfect fit for any nature environment. The pentatonic scale instruments are soothing. Selecting a diverse variety of instruments will bring a sound texture equal to the rich textures of a community garden.

11. Libraries – A musical park could not be more appropriate! Music is a wonderful multi-sensory enhancement.

12. Senior Centers or Assisted Living Facilities – Promote social activities and bonding. Decrease depression and feelings of loneliness.

13. Business Centers – Bring a sense of community and enchanting interaction to your business area. Provide distinctive unique experiences that will make your center stand out.

“At a Freenotes Harmony Park, there are no insurmountable disabilities, and there are no wrong notes.” Freenotes

Social Proof

“I get more positive comments about the musical playground than anything. People actually pick up the phone – after a trip to Moab – to tell me, ‘That was the greatest thing we have ever seen in a park. We loved it. We want a musical playground for our community.’ People, from all ages, usually have a big smile on their face when they play the instruments. Here we are in Moab, surrounded by gorgeous National Parks, and we have visitors telling other visitors that they must go to Rotary Park and play the instruments.”
– David Olsen, Moab Community Development Director

“One of the best things about these instruments is that they provide all ages and abilities an opportunity to interact with spontaneous creative expression.”
–Jeannene Bragg, PACE Center’s Cultural Director

“Without question, the best resource I have ever seen for nurturing the musician in every child is Freenotes Harmony Park™ outdoor instruments and playgrounds by Freenotes.  The instruments are designed by Richard Cooke who feels that everyone can and should be a musician, even without formal training.”
 – Patricia Jones, Teacher Support Force

“Combining music with nature has such a profound impact on us – not because science tells us so – but because of how it makes us feel.” Freenotes 

Want to create a whole musical park or add outdoor musical instruments to your project?

Call us, we can help you with creating your Freenotes™ design and help you choose the right musical instruments for your particular installation.

In Pursuit of “Musical” Play,

Nicole Stoddard – LuckyDog Recreation Sales and Marketing – 800-388-2196

Rhetta McIff, Utah’s Creative Play Designer  – 385-222-1030


URPA 2018 Educational Sessions Presented by LuckyDog Recreation

“Natural Harmony: A guide to blending Outdoor Music and Community”

10:45 am – 12:00 pm  –  Presented by Kate Morrison, Freenotes Harmony Park

Music is an expressive language that is woven throughout the cultural fabric of all generations and all civilizations. There is a growing body of research that confirms music in nature positively engages the brain, builds social cohesion, and even creates the conditions for building harmonious communities.

Music transcends age, gender, ethnicity, and mobility. It is a gathering force that promotes kindness and helps us build stronger community connections.

Recent brain-based research explores synchronicity between music and nature and the impact it has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. The collective benefits can lead to more harmony within a community.

Explore the connection between music and nature in a park setting where every member of the community benefits.

Because few communities have a music program available and affordable to everyone, we will explore how a permanent installation of musical instruments can change that. With a simplified system of musical instruments that allow anyone to play regardless of age, training, or ability, individuals or several people all at once can enjoy music.

  • Participants will learn how musical instruments in a group setting create meaningful ensembles.
  • Participants will also learn to design musical settings for their own communities.

URPA 2018 educational session with Kate MorrisonKate Morrison is the Sales and Business Development Manager with Freenotes Harmony Park. Freenotes is the industry leader in outdoor musical instruments, invented by Grammy Award-Winning musician Richard Cooke, more than 20 years ago. LuckyDog Recreation is the distributor of Freenotes Harmony Park equipment for Utah.

“The Power of Place – Why Parks Matter For Health”

4:30 pm – 5-45 pm  –  Presented by Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health

It has been said that your zip code is as important as your genetic code when it comes to health.

Public health agencies across Utah are working with communities to build healthy behaviors and environments.

In this session, we will discuss how health data can help you make the most impact in your communities, and how you can best access that data.

  • You will learn how to use local data to identify what people want when it comes to parks and playgrounds.
  • As a result, you will know how to make the healthy choice, the easy choice for everyone.

 Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity.

Time – Date – Location – Register URPA Tradeshow 
Tuesday, March 13th
Floor Event – 8:00 to 3:30
Utah Valley Convention Center
220 W. Center St.
Provo, UT 84601
Register here.

Dog Parks Provide Your Canine Friends a Place to Play

Our four-legged friends love a playground just as much as we do, and Dog-ON-It Parks knows just the right things to keep your pups happy!

Dog parks are quick to install and can fit into any space, providing your canine friends with a place to play, sniff, socialize, and have a little fun before getting down to business (yes, a doggy bag stand and trash can are a must for your space!). We can even provide an anti-microbial turf that cleans up with a quick spray of water.

Our friends at Aderra Apartments in Roy, Utah recently added a few fun toys to their dog park, giving the residents a great place to let Fido get the wiggles out!

Check out Dog-ON-It’s monthly newsletter for incredible ideas to fund your new dog park and darling events to host with your neighborhood pooch patrol! Our furry friends make our houses a home so let’s make sure they have their space to play, too!

It’s the “Year of the Dog” so let LuckyDog Recreation give you the best deal on your new dog park toys today!

In Pursuit of “Doggy” Play,

Rhetta McIff, Utah’s Creative Play Designer  – 385-222-1030

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