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Gym members will do burpees for bucks toward Lake Placid school playground

The final Lake Placid Elementary School playground, visualized here, still needs the tower with slides and climbing wall. Lake Placid CrossFit is holding a “burpee marathon” to fundraise for it. (Photo provided)

LAKE PLACID — “We just need 1,000 people to donate 5 bucks,” CrossFit Lake Placid Manager Nicholas LaScala said, “and then we’ll be in the pain cave for sure.”

LaScala is holding a burpee marathon at the CrossFit gym he manages. For every dollar donated toward helping the Lake Placid Elementary School finish its playground, the members of the gym will do one burpee.

The burpee is one of the core movement of CrossFit, and a notorious one, too. It involves doing a squat, then a push-up, polished off with a hands-in-the-air jump.

They have a goal of raising $5,000, and if around 20 members show up on Dec. 19, LaScala is sure they’ll be able to bang out these burpees, but not without some pain.

“It will hurt, for sure,” LaScala said. “It’s a fun way to (fundraise) because they get to see us in pain.”

The marathon will be livestreamed on Facebook at 9 a.m. Dec. 19. Donations are being collected now on a GoFundMe page.

“A dollar, five dollars goes a long way here,” he said, knowing every dollar translates to another repetition.

A burp-what?

“I know our members don’t like burpees, so that’s why I chose it,” LaScala said with a laugh.

Despite this, LaScala said it is a very inclusive exercise.

“It’s one of the most painful exercises that everyone is able to do,” LaScala said.

He is telling his members, “It’s for the kids.” He said some of them might do their burpees while wearing weighted vests, for extra difficulty.

“We get pretty crazy,” he said.

Playground planning

LaScala said he’s been looking for ways to get more involved with the Lake Placid community, which he’s new to. Several gym members have ties with the elementary school and mentioned the playground project to him.

School Principal Sonja Franklin said the project has been done in pieces over the past four years, and they are looking to finish it off.

Franklin worked directly with the students to design the playground, learning what they wanted in a play space and getting a company to design it according to their suggestions.

“I asked them what on our current playground could you get rid of, and what was lacking,” Franklin said. “Some of the best answers were some of the equipment that all of the kids could enjoy.”

She said they requested special swings for kids with different physical needs.

“The fact that they were thinking about their classmates was really key in making the playground design a success,” Franklin said.

She said the school has purchased around half of the playground equipment so far, buying it piece-by-piece so they could play on the smaller portions as they go along.

Now the school is looking to install the centerpiece tower with slides and a climbing wall. This costs $75,000, Franklin said. The Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation has pledged $25,000 if the school meets its funding goal, so she said they need to raise $50,000. She said the school has also received donations from the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, Rotary Club, crowdfunding through Adirondack Gives, and student-run can drives.

“2020 has kind of put a hold on everything for us, so when they came up with this idea, I thought, ‘Yes, by all means, help us!'” Franklin said. “The kids deserve to have a colorful, well-rounded playground.”

The link to donate is https://www.gofundme.com/f/lake-placid-elementary-school-playground.