Many adults have a vivid memory of a playground during childhood. Maybe it was the time they jumped off the swing, mid-flight. Possibly the first time crossing the entire set of monkey-bars after being scared to let go with that one hand. How about making the merry-go-round spin so fast, it seemed like everyone would fly off. For children with different abilities, memorable time on a playground is not often an option.
JUMP! (Jefferson Universal Movement Playground Project) is a group of physical and occupational therapists, parents and friends of special needs children, and other interested community members working together to build the first accessible and inclusive playground in Jefferson County. Led by Sarah Grossman, a therapist working in the Chimacum School District who was unable to local accessible play for her students in wheelchairs and walkers, the JUMP! Team has partnered with the local parks and recreation district to enhance HJ Carroll Park and provide opportunities for all children to get active, explore, and grow, no matter their physical abilities.
According to Census data, roughly seven percent of the 3,500 local children under the age of 16 will benefit from the ability to play alongside their peers and siblings who do not require accommodations. The park also expects to attract families from outside the area, as few adaptive play opportunities exist anywhere in the state. The park and playground designs will address the developmental needs of the whole child by providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communication, and social-emotional sensory development.
JUMP! recently received a significant grant from the state Recreation Conservation Office, further highlighting the importance of this project in Washington. The project will include many ADA improvements throughout the park, including restrooms, additional parking, and seating. These kinds of facility upgrades will serve mobility issues of aging friends and family as well, fostering inclusive community play.
The Cheney Foundation is proud to partner with JUMP! to bring multi-generational and adaptive play opportunities to residents of Jefferson County and beyond. To learn more about the park and the project, visit jumpplayground.org.