Volunteers construct playground in Simnasho

More than 45 employees from Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton lend a hand
News Editor
   SIMNASHO -- A bus load of volunteers gathered here Thursday to give this community of 250 something it had been missing.
   More than 40 employees from Nike's world head quarters in Beaverton lent their labor for an entire day in Simnasho, constructing a $36,000 playground for the children of this northern Warm Springs area.
   "We're all about sport and community," said Brian Rogers of Beaverton, chairman of Nike's Native American Network. "And there's been nothing for the kids to play on."
   The Nike employees sent to Warm Springs were participants of an outreach program. They stayed on the company's payroll during their time here, and the shoe-giant donated another $3,150 to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to continue programs geared toward diabetes treatment, education and prevention.
   "Our efforts are to participate with them and to help the tribe promote the fitness portion of their diabetes programs," said Sam McCracken, Nike's Native American Business chairman, who's a tribal member of Fort Peck in Northeastern Montana. "Because diabetes is prevalent in all native communities."
   Kathy Quaempts, Warm Springs' Community Health Services Manager, invited the company to build the playground using materials the tribes purchased through a grant from the Warm Springs Diabetes Grant Committee.
   They finished 70 percent of the playground, including three play areas, during an eight-hour workday as curious children looked on in the cold, windy conditions.
   "I met with their outreach committee in November and shared several projects with them, the first one being the playground installation," Quaempts said. "Nike was very excited to partner with Warm Springs. They had more people sign up than they could bring."
   Some Nike employees also spent a portion of their day painting over graffiti at the reservation's community center and a location by the post office. For their work, all of the volunteers were treated to Indian tacos during their lunch hour and also got a taste of Native American culture as the Quartz Creek Drum Group performed a cultural dances in full regalia.
   "Anything tied into youth, health and fitness we want to be a part of," said Rogers. "And many of these folks had never been on a reservation."
   The Warm Springs Human Services Department funds programming geared toward diabetes prevention.