Lovers of family games and South Walton rejoice: 30A is getting a board game.
30A-opoly is a fundraiser for The Tree House Episcopal Montessori School and will hit local shelves the week of Dec. 15.
The idea came from the mother of two Tree House students, Genevieve Torrey. While growing up, Torrey experienced firsthand the Montessori educational system.
“This is something that has been done in my family,” she said. Circa ’83, Torrey’s mother enlisted friends to sell sponsorship slots on a game board as a fundraiser “with the same goals behind it.”
Torrey fondly remembers playing it for decades, and it set the wheels in motion for a similar concept to be replicated at The Tree House.
The idea for 30A-opoly was born, and other Tree House parents rushed to get on board to bring it to fruition.
Mothers Torrey, Michelle Uhlfelder, Candace Price and Gigi Fernandez Brantley volunteered their time and efforts to hit 30A and approach businesses about sponsorship opportunities for inclusion on the board and in the “House Hunting” and “Shopping Spree” cards to sit in the center of the board.
“We were just happy to do this … We believe in this,” said Uhlfelder, whose son attends Tree House. “The parents have made this happen.”
With limited board space, sponsors were jockeying to fill the spots, which could have been sold many times over.
“We couldn’t fit all of 30A. We did have to honor businesses of parents of the school, members of the church, and people who had donated money before,” said Torrey.
It took only 24 hours, once the sponsorship opportunity was open, to raise the $20,000 needed to offset the manufacturing costs.
Sponsors for “The Coastal Property Trading Game for 30A” are all local, from Café Thirty-A to Sunshine Shuttle. The play money is sponsored by Regions Bank, the CEO of which owns a house along 30A.
Local graphic designer Kevin Boyles helped mould the board into something decidedly 30A.
“All these little pieces — no pun intended — have come together for us,” said Torrey.
The board will be manufactured in America by a company that specializes in making personalized “-opoly” games.
The fundraiser shouldn’t be confused with an official Hasbro Monopoly game for our area which has been in the works since last year. A formal announcement regarding Monopoly: Visit South Walton Edition is forthcoming with a release in spring.
But those involved in the planning of 30A-opoly emphasized that their version is just a grassroots effort with the main purpose of benefitting the Tree House.
And the parents’ volunteerism and community support stand as a testament to the quality of the education a Tree House student receives.
“You meet a child where they are,” said Tree House Director Maureen Paine, of the Montessori concept. “A natural desire for learning takes place … You keep them engaged.”
Paine is excited for what this fundraiser will mean to the Tree House preschool and kindergarten students. The Tree House relies on fundraising efforts for 10 percent of its operating costs each year to keep enrollment costs affordable for families, as well as offer scholarships to those families who would otherwise be unable to pay tuition costs.
The parents hope the success of this board necessitates a second edition, which will give “other businesses we love so much” the opportunity to get involved.
“The 30A-opoly board game is going to be 100 percent 30A details and elements as a property board game. From the properties on the board to the money in the player’s hand, it's going to bring a 30A lifestyle experience to tourists and locals alike,” said Uhlfelder.
“This is something we hope has longevity,” adds Torrey.
The 30A-opoly boards will hit local retailers the week of Dec. 15 just in time for placement under many South Walton Christmas trees. Cost will be $36. For more information, Like 30A-opoly on Facebook.