Camden Accessible Playground
This playground is therapeutic as well as fun for all children, we have had calls from parents such as the father who called and told us how his daughter pulled between the parallel bars in her wheelchair, stood up and walked for the first time in her life. And the young man who went up the ramp to the 6' level, and that was the first time his father realized he'd ever been that far off the ground. Or Camden himself who stepped onto the playground during the grand opening and for the first time in his life upon seeing the bucket swing, said "swing". There are many other stories to be told, but why not experience them for yourself?
Prior to the building of CAMDEN Playground, the most accessible playground was only 40%, but CAMDEN Foundation raised that to 100% accessible. Not only that, but it broke other barriers also. CAMDEN Playground brought people with special needs out of the darkness, it helped people realize that just because you have a special need, there is nothing to fear. That people with special needs are just like you and I. That is where prejudism stems from, the fear of the unknown, and CAMDEN Playground eliminated that by allowing those with and without special needs to play together in a place which is natural for children. Once they are in this environment they don't notice the differences, they only find they are having fun and everything else vanishes.
To move on to the future without that prejudism that once existed, the children grow into adults and that hatred that once was there has gone. And that is what CAMDEN Playground has done, and is doing all around the world with the playgrounds which have been modeled after it. It has broken down the barriers and set so many free. It has allowed adults with special needs the opportunity to go out and enjoy a day at the park with their own children when before they couldn't. It had allowed senior citizens a chance to get out of nursing homes and go to a place where they can just get away from being cooped up in a room all day, and it gives everyone a chance to know one another without being ridiculed. And isn't that something that makes life worth living?
In the following pages, you will find items on the different phases, fundraising, volunteers, laws, media, and what has happened since the completion of the playground. This is a playground known worldwide, with inquiries from Holland and Canada as well as throughout the United States. It has been the model for playgrounds worldwide, and continues to be the most popular place to go in the summertime for area residents. Many schools take fieldtrips to the playground and visitors traveling through stop for a glimpse of the large castle which rises over the structure, with a dragon emerging from the wall, a moat, and life sized alligator and sea turtle.
In May, 2003 Camden Playground celebrated its 10th year of existance with a huge party. People who had helped build the playground as well as government employees, radio, newspaper, and television crew came down to capture the moment for the future. There was a flea market, prizes given out, bands played, food served, free pop given to everyone, tearful speeches, and as a special treat to one organization who had every year donated money without even being asked. One piece of equipment was added to the playground at that time.
Every year, the South Central Harley Owners Group does a ride the first weekend in May, and raises money for the playground. They do it without our asking and the money is used for the upkeep of the playground. Without this funding, Camden Playground would not have the money which helps keep it up as it is. So in honor of them, we had a specially made, one of a kind spring toy made. Now a Harley Davidson spring toy with a side car sits in the playground in the colors of HD, with the SCWHOG name and Chapter number on the side. We even have a picture taken that day of the group it was presented to which will be put on the site soon. Thank you, SCWHOG for your continued support.
We would also like to thank the credit unions who continue to sell the checks with the Camden Playground picture on them, and the Cronin Foundation for their help when we ask for it, we are very appreciative of all you do for us. Thank you.
And to the people who use the playground and respect its existance, thank you. You are the reason this playground is here, please take care of it, and enjoy it. Learn to grow together and respect each other, never let prejudism ever stand in the way of friendship. Now, sit back and enjoy hearing of this popular play area, and feel free to write for more information. This page will be ever changing, but we are always available to answer questions, just click on the mailbox, or if not working, use the address below the counter.
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