WAYMART, PA — There’s nothing like a kid’s imagination.
Put 41 kids under one roof, ask them to build a house out of LEGOs®, tell them it’s a contest, and you’re sure to get some colorful and creative structures. The young contestants, ranging in age from five to 12 years old, gathered Saturday afternoon for the annual LEGOs competition sponsored by the Wayne County Builders Association (WCBA) at Ladore Camp and Conference Center in Waymart.
The heavily attended event was part of the two-day Home and Garden Festival hosted by the WCBA. While the festival is about 30 years old, the LEGOs competition is in its seventh year.
The rules were simple. “Make a structural house that you would like to live in. If you need a heliport, then build that,” said retired builder and event volunteer Clyde Kreider.
WCBA executive officer Laurie Lourie said, “We try to make it really fun. All we ask is that they use their imagination. We do it through the sponsorship of our members and local sponsorship. We don’t charge the children anything. All children get prizes and a goodie bag.”
The one-hour competition began with each child being given a bag of LEGOs containing about 700 pieces.
Caleb Lavelle, 9, was busy building a “swimming pool in the middle of the ocean.” His baseball buddy Rhett Boyce, 12, was hard at work creating a “landing station for emergency landing in Northern Germany.”
Seated side by side, brothers Alex Chapman, 7, and Jamie, 6, of Lake Ariel, each a built home with a propeller on its side. “Kind of like a boat house with a boat radar tracking system,” explained Alex.
Across the table, Grant Pratt, 8, of Honesdale, had built a home complete with a spaceship inside and a blue patio roof. “Blue’s my favorite color. Are you trying to bribe the judge?” joked contest judge Mary Spicher of JRG Advisors LLC, the managing agent for the Pennsylvania Builders Insurance Program and the main sponsor of the event.
Impressed by what she saw as she walked among the tables. Spicher said she’d spied a skyscraper, a lighthouse, a fast food restaurant, house boats in a harbor, and a white house—literally— built by a little girl whose LEGOs of choice were all white.
“There are our future builders,” Spicher said. “We need to encourage our young people to be the best that they can be, and what better way to start them than with LEGOs. Encouragement is so important.”
“It helps young people use their creativity to make what comes into their minds. As adults, we worry about what we can’t do. They [the kids] just do what they can do,” said Kreider.
Winners in the five- to eight-year-old category included Luke Murray, first place; Liam Miller, second place; and Jamie Chapman, third place. Winners in the nine- to 12-year-old category included Isaac Bond, first place; John Christianson, second place; and Chris Khoury, third place.
Addressing the participants, Kreider said, “You all did a great job. All of you are winners.”