What is a laser action

GEOlino reader campaign: The playground sponsors

Jan lends a hand: As a playground sponsor, the ten-year-old fights in a reflective vest, with garbage pincers and some classmates for clean playgrounds in his hometown Mettmann. He tells GEOlino about his mission

As a playground sponsor, I have a lot of responsibility: I keep the playgrounds clean, make sure that there is no rubbish or dog waste lying around, that the playground equipment is working, and I put up warning signs when something needs to be repaired at the playground.

I was elected playground sponsor by my classmates at school and since then I have been looking after the school playground and the meadow during the long break. If the meadow is wet, for example, nobody is allowed on it because it is too muddy and too slippery, and I enforce this rule.

In my free time, too, I make sure that there is no rubbish lying around on the playgrounds in our city and that nothing is broken. If I do discover something, I tell my mother and she will pass it on to the city.

Nine years ago my mother had the idea for the playground sponsors in Mettmann. It happened like this: When I was little, I wanted to slide down a slide, but it was way too dirty. My mother asked herself: who actually cleans them? The city itself is responsible for this, but it didn't look after the playgrounds well enough back then.

In the meantime things have changed, because we have already achieved a lot: The city administration takes care of a lot more - this has made our city cleaner and more child-friendly. I'm really proud of that! Because for this success I have fought with the other playground sponsors since I was five years old!

Even at school, taking care of things is a lot of fun, because if you are a playground sponsor, you are taken really seriously, also by the teachers. And over time you gain more and more courage and self-confidence, for example when you have to address strollers who simply let their dogs make a pile on the playground or the meadow and
Don't pick it up and throw it away. Just in case, we always have dog bags with us so that nobody can talk their way out of it.

I think it is important that children are committed to keeping their city clean. After all, it's our business too! We defend our rights and prevent it from getting completely dirty and nobody wants to play outside anymore.

This is how you get involved:

  • TO BEGIN! You can get involved in school, for example as a class or student representative. In this way you learn to express your opinion, to stand up for the interests of your classmates and to get things done with teachers and the headmaster.
  • KNOWLEDGE! With the free app stadtsache for Android and iOs you get to know your surroundings better. She gives you tasks; you have to upload photos and sounds, for example. You are sure to discover a lot of beautiful things around you - and a lot to complain about.
  • MAKE A PART! In Germany there are countless groups, projects, parties and associations in which you can get involved politically. For example, many cities and municipalities have a child and youth council. Find out how you can get active from the city, school or youth center.
  • FIND PROJECT! Take a look at the website of the German Children's Fund. There is a "child policy map" that shows which projects are in your area.