Saturday, June 19, 2010

The World's Largest Twister Mat was in Belchertown, MA

On June 18, 2010, every student in the Belchertown School District played a game of Twister on the largest Twister Mat the world has ever seen. The Twister Mat was 42 mats long and 24 Twister Mats wide. Working with Twister Mats donated by Hasbro, Inc. Drew Gatesman and Michael Seward organized the event to kick off a fundraiser for a Boundless Playground, an effort they co-founded.

The playground will be named Jessica's Boundless Playground in memory of a 2009 Belchertown High School Graduate who passed away later that year. Jessica Martins lived with Rett Syndrome and required the use of a wheelchair. However, Jessica did not let her condition hold her back. Boundless Playgrounds are designed to include children of ALL abilities. They also accomodate parents and grandparents with disabilities to play with their children.

Local News Stations Covered the Event


Friday, June 18, 2010

Preparing the Mat

In February of 2010, Drew Gatesman and Michael Seward met with Hasbro executives to get their permission to use their Twister game to raise money for a Boundless Playground in Belchertown, MA. Given the nature of the cause, not only did they grant us permission to use their game for a fundraiser, they also donated 1020 Twister Mats. In early June, we picked up the mats.

Waiting until the last possible moment, Gatesman and Seward began taping the mats in Gatesman's driveway. Each mat was individually wrapped. After unwrapping the mats, the initial method was laying them out in sets of ten and taping them together lengthwise in 4 segments of ten and a segment of 5. After a segment of 10 was taped together, we used PVC pipe to roll them up. We then taped the end of the rolled up segment of 10 to another taped segment of ten until we had 45 mats on a roll. After two nights of utilizing this methodology, we only had 270 mats prepared to go...It was Tuesday night and we still had 738 mats to be unwrapped, taped, and rolled by Friday!!

Drew Gatesman rolls a segment of 10 mats taped together in his driveway.

Since the weather forecast called for rain on Wednesday and Thursday, we reserved the Belchertown High School Gynasium for a dry space to work. Knowing we would need help, we contacted Jessica Martin's mom Vicky who put together a team. That evening we were able to get 585 mats unwrapped, taped, and rolled up.

Helpers save the day and help us get 585 mats rolled up in a single evening in the Belchertown High School Gymnasium

On the final night of preparations, the last of the Twister mats were unwrapped, taped, and rolled. We also started taping the rolls of 45 together to make roll 45 mats long and 4 mats wide. This would allow for a shorter set up time the following morning.

Michael Seward rolls a segment of Twister Mats 45 mats long and 4 mats wide.

After leaving the gym at 10:30 pm. Thursday night, we were at the BHS Football Field by 5:00 A.M. to begin assembling the world's largest Twister Mat. Area contractors donated their time to tape the lengths together before their work day began. Because we anticipated that taping the mats would prove problematic on a soft surface such as grass, Michael Seward devised a method of dragging a board under the mats to make taping the long lenghts of mats easiers. One man dragged the board while another taped.

Up before the crack of dawn, the first segment is rolled out on the football field. Organizers and volunteers arrived at 5 A.M. to assemble the mat.

The early morning crew pose for a photo after the World's Largest Twister Mat was set up. Back row from left to right: Glen Auffrey, Neil Leno (Thanks for bringing the coffee and donuts Neil!), and Ted Forance. Front Row: Drew Gatesman (Co-Event Organizer), Chriss Matte, Andy Durand, and Michael Seward (Co-Event Organizer). Not pictured due to work obligations: Ryan Kurkulonis (arrived at site first), and Rick Barre

Hardware stores throughout the region sold out of white duct tape.