Over the winter, Charlotte came home from school with the usual daily piles of paperwork. One page was a contest that I tossed aside, and only later, when Charlotte asked where it was, did I read what it actually was.
It was a contest, for an all inclusive playground, to be built here, in Monroe County. The contest was being run by Crossing Abilities. It is their mission to build a playground that all children, regardless of being able bodied, or disabled, would be able to enjoy. The contest was asking for kids, in different age groups, to design a playground that fit the description.
Charlotte was interested in drawing something, and already was chattering away about a carnival theme, and how wheelchairs could double as roller coaster cars, and seats on a merry go round. I love that she is so creative. Any chance any of us get as parents, to encourage that is always great. But, as I read further, the prize for the winner was season tickets to Camelbeach. Whoa!
I took the girls to Camelbeach last summer. We went with my friend, who had season passes, and let us use her guest passes, so the day was free for us. My girls had a blast. Watching them race around the place from ride to slide with their friend, made me happy. Because let's face it, when our kids are happy, so are we.
When we left Camelbeach that day, they wanted to know when we would be returning. I thought to myself...not for a while. To take them, and pay for myself, is just too big of an expense. Maybe next summer we could go again. Maybe, I thought. It was a year away, and I put it out of my mind.
Charlotte drew up her playground plan, and really, I thought it was adorable. She had so many ideas for a tactile walkway for blind people, with music playing, and a snack area. She settled on drawing the carnival plan, and in her giant 6 year old writing, described what kids with disabilities, could do. We sealed it up in an envelope, and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if she won the passes. Selfishly, I wanted her to. But after I dropped it in the mailbox, I forgot all about it.
Until May. I received an e-mail, and it informed me that she was a runner up, and Camelbeach was awarding her two day passes. Holy cow!!! Two passes! I couldn't wait to tell her. When I finally did, the glowing look of pride, and happiness was contagious. She was thrilled. Beyond thrilled. She was so excited that she had won something. She didn't believe me for the first few minutes. And really, if the prize had been a certificate, that would have been enough.
So, this summer, thanks to Camelbeach, and Crossing Abilities, we will get that day at the water park. But what really amazed me, was at the award ceremony, the kids designs were mind blowing. One little guy made a whole Lego model. Another had a Sherwood Forest theme. And still another had an entire area where disabled kids could pull their wheel chairs up and play "drive in".
I am thankful that my kids have able bodies, and minds. And some days, I take that for granted.
Check out www.crossingabilities.org, and www.camelbeach.com.