It’s building and you can feel it.
Non-stop, unbridled balls of energy. Little adorable bulls in a china shop.
However you want to describe it, we all know it when we see it. Time to take the kids outside. They need to expend their energy in the fresh air. They need to test the limits of their physical ability without four walls around them magnifying every shriek of delight through our under-caffeinated ears.
Off to the park we go.
Now imagine if the park wasn’t an option. Imagine the park had ladders with rungs that were too spread apart for kids to use. Imagine the park had slides that you had to complete long division before being granted access (is long division still a thing?). How fun would that be for your kids?
This reality faces many of our kiddos. Kids with mobility devices, or varying ability levels, often can’t safely participate on most playgrounds. They need guidance or full support from a parent or caregiver. How is that fun for a child of any age or ability? It is in their nature to explore and discover on their own, more so, it is crucial to their development.
Universally Accessible Fun
We are lucky, in Beavercreek, to have such a place in the works, Owen’s Place! It was the brainchild of Beavercreek resident, Trish Gustafson. Trish is the mother of Owen, the inspiration for the park. Trish believes that Owen not only deserves, but has the RIGHT, to play with his friends without being surrounded by design and equipment not meant for his wheelchair. The tag line for Owen’s Place is ‘Imagine without bounds’. Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine a better tag line for a place meant to inspire all of our children.
The first time I took my littlest guy to this universally accessible park he was 2 years old. He had never experienced play outside the house with independent mobility. I will never forget watching him wheel his bumbo wheelchair up the treehouse and explore by himself. I didn’t have to carry him and sit him down then pick him up again 2 minutes later when he wanted to explore something else. He actually played with his brothers and other kids on his own terms with his own timing. It seems so simple, but this was such a milestone moment for him.
I am excited and honored to support a project of this magnitude for our community. Owen’s Place will meet a full range of physical, intellectual, emotional and social needs of children and adults with disabilities. Their vision is revolutionary and will exclude no one based on ability level. I look forward to a day when all aspects of our world are created in a similar manner.