Faces behind the Front Door: De Cantaloup

Cantaloup_optThe faces behind the front door of Stichting De Cantaloup

This time I met Barbara, Annemarie and Christine, 3 of the 8 members of the executive committee of De Cantaloup. “One of the board members is leaving,” said Barbara, “because her children have grown too big. All the board members are women (!), young mothers who on a voluntary basis dedicate themselves to running the playground and the club house. We more or less have our own ‘network’. When we take the children to school or to the sports clubs we of course meet other parents who are willing to lend a helping hand to organize  activities.

“The only man among us is Ben, our neighbour and our help and stay. We can always count on him, he comes here almost every day and helps with all kinds of chores. Without him we might as well close down. Diny and Yvonne, two ladies next door, are also very involved in the playground and the activities that take place here. They take care of the closing and opening of the gate, so that no ‘unwanted strangers’ can hang out here at night.

“For more than 38 years the playground has been established at Cantaloupenburg 26-A. In November 2014 the playground was renovated, the expenses were payed by the Municipality. The pupils of the neighbouring Willemsparkschool may also play here. You find here a climbing frame, a swing and a slide. Also a swing for babies, a soccer field for bigger children, two trampolines and a small pool for toddlers. In the summer months the sprinklers that fill the pool with water are turned on. That makes the pool even more attractive! And the ice cream we sell adds the finishing touch!

“Every year the executive board organizes a number of events that are in great demand. On 11 November it is ‘Sint Maarten’, the name day of Saint Martinus. In our clubhouse the children are treated to hot chocolate and pea soup and after that they walk in small groups with their lanterns through the streets, to be rewarded with sweets or fruit when they sing their songs. The neighbours have been informed and have the goodies at hand!”

“Last year we had 120 children for St Maarten’s,” says Barbara. “On 22 November we celebrate Sinterklaas. We ask a fee of €5 per child to meet the costs and buy a small present. This celebration is also very popular, expats and their children come and join us for this traditional Dutch event. On the second day of Easter we have an egg hunt for the children and in June we organize the national ‘come and play in the street’ day. The street is closed to the traffic and children can join in all kinds of activities. The neighbours, even those who do not have children, love it and join in. The local police officer keeps an eye on the proceedings.

The foundation depends on municipal subsidies and on supporters. Renting out the clubhouse is a substantial source of income. The clubhouse can be hired, in the day time or in the evening, for parties or other activities like a painting course, music club, theater workshops, meetings, etc. These coming months we are fully booked,”says Barbara proudly. “The clubhouse is ideal for children’s parties: thanks to the sturdy furnishing they can do little damage. When the party is over we mop the floor and Bob’s your uncle! We would like to smarten things up in here, but the (municipal) allowance has been spent so we must make do with what we have got.

“The hirer must look after his own catering. The clubhouse has an electric kettle, a coffee-maker, a refrigerator, a double gas-ring and plenty of plates, cutlery, glasses, etc.”

Would you like to become a “friend” (supporter) of De Cantaloup or are you looking for a room for a meeting or children’s party? Please go to website www.clubhuiscantaloup.nl (and see for yourself what a lovely playground is waiting for your family!)

3 November 2015, Josephine de Vijlder (MM)