Imagine a playground where children will search for hidden artifacts in an archaeological dig, conduct a symphony, or launch to the moon in a spaceship.
Imagine too, that every child could experience in that kind of fun no matter what their ability level. Imagine children with wheelchairs or those with sensory, visual or cognitive disabilities, playing side by side with their able bodied peers.
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Imagine our community joining together in a volunteer effort to create a universally accessible playground where just such dreams can all come true.
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What is a Universally Accessible Playground?
A Universally Accessible Playground is one in which all children can play. They come in all shapes and sizes but provide activities that children with disabilities can enjoy and interact with their peers. They most often will address the need for ramp access, play panels at ground level, and surfacing that walkers and wheelchairs can ride over with ease.
How is Adventure Island a Universally Accessible Playground?
Play is a Child’s Work. Children receive educational, physical and emotional benefits from play. Adventure Island is being designed to include a full range of play activities that will allow every child to receive those benefits of play. The playground will be themed to provide an adventure everywhere a child goes. Whether they are playing on the Grand Voyage, splashing in the Fishwreck, or digging in the Dig, they will find excitement and opportunities to play side by side with children of all abilities. Adventure Island will not only be universally accessible, it will fully integrate the community, both in it’s creation and it’s completion.
What is a Community Built Playground?
A Community Built Playground is one that is hand assembled by volunteers from within the community. Adventure Island Playground is about creating social interaction in more ways than one. Children of all abilities and their families will have new opportunities to get to know eachother by spending time there together. But first, we will interact by actually building the Grand Voyage as a volunteer effort. Parents, Grandparents, Friends and Co-workers will all have a hand in it’s creation.
Are there other Universally Accessible and Community Built Playgrounds in our area?
No. Adventure Island will be the first of it’s kind in Miami. Other states have fully realized the impact universally accessible indoor playgrounds can have on their communities. In fact, the states of Maryland, Connecticut and California have even formed grant initiatives to ensure every child will have this opportunity in their states. Adventure Island will put Idaho on the map as a leader in “inclusion”…a place that promotes basic human rights and dignity. We hope to serve as a model so that other communities in Idaho will also enjoy such a facility.
How is JumpStart-Saint Alphonsus involved?
Several of the parents who initiated the creation of Adventure Island Playground have children who attend JumpStart, which is a program of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Because JumpStart partners with existing early learning programs, JumpStart children have the opportunity to play and learn with children who do not have motor challenges. These meaningful experiences with others of different abilities promote an appreciation in both for the similarities and differences of the other and encourage development of new skills. The mission of Adventure Island is a perfect match and therefore, it was only natural that this partnership would occur.
How can I get involved?
There are several ways to participate in this great project. Whether it’s through volunteering on build day, making a cash or in-kind contribution, or serving on the committees for fundraising, community build, or design, we can use your help. Please take a look at the volunteer opportunities at “How to Help.”
Community Campaign for Adventure Island Playground Leadership and Advisory Committee
Design Committee Chair