Today is a rare sunny winter day in the Pacific Northwest, so my kids have seized the opportunity to head to Evergreen Rotary Park. The are enjoying our few last days as Bremerton residents by playing at the park I and the Beyond Accessible Play team worked three long years to build. Their play adventured leads me to this week’s quote of the week:
…be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” – Horace Mann
I’ve meant to post the speech I gave at the playground dedication ceremony in September. Now seems like the right time. Here is the speech:
After three and a half years of living this project, from the big idea to the small details, it is difficult to choose what to say and what to leave out.
The sights and sounds of beyond accessible play surround us and I’m overwhelmed.
I’m overwhelmed by the constant support this project has received, from individuals and families, organizations and associations, clubs and troops, military units and grant committees, Kitsap Bank and community foundations, city leaders, county leaders, state and national leaders too. People will long forget what we say here and they may quickly forget what we did here, but they will never forget what they do here.
They’ll remember the friends they make. They’ll remember mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, aunt or uncle pushing them on the swing or riding on the teeter totter beside them. They’ll remember how they felt loved enough by their community to be honored with a beautiful place to play.
And, 30 years from now, according to the research, they’ll remember that people with different abilities can accomplish a lot and are worthy of the job they’ve applied for. Lives decades from now will be made better by beyond accessible play today.
When we started this project, we just wanted a place for our boys to play, with maybe a ramp to a slide and a bucket swing. Today, I’m still learning all the different ways this project will touch and change lives in our community.
Whether you were with us from the very beginning, joined us along the way, or are gathered here for the first time today, know that you have changed the world beyond measure.
The playground is truly the place where the community comes together. Thank you for helping us reach our dream of a place where ALL may play.”