The City of Leander Parks and Recreation Department partnered with Girl Scout Troop 2504 to dedicate the city’s first adaptive swing at Robin Bledsoe Park last Tuesday, with a ribbon cutting and remarks from the Parks staff and Girl Scout representatives. About 50 local residents attended the ceremony.
Compliant with American Disabilities Act guidelines, the new swing was designed with a molded bucket seat, which provides greater stability for children ages 5-12 and supports sensory, motor and cognitive development.
“I really enjoyed seeing the girls’ excitement with this project,” said Leander Parks and Recreation Manager, Tyler Bybee. “They came to the Parks and Recreation Department with the idea and to see the project come to fruition was great. The girls did the work, we facilitated, and it was a nice project to be a part of because we want to promote inclusive play for all.”
In accordance with American Disabilities Act regulations, the swing includes a molded bucket seat design, which provides greater stability for children ages 5-12 and supports sensory, motor and cognitive development.
Michelle Garcia, mother of troop member Olivia Garcia, said she was very proud of her daughter’s troop of coming together with the idea and working with the Parks and Recreation Department.
“The swing was the girls’ idea. It’s very special to me because my son, Caleb, is autistic and there aren’t many places that have inclusive equipment,” said Michelle. “This project shows how big of a heart they have together.”
The troop discussed adding inclusive playground structures with the Parks and Recreation Department at Robin Bledsoe Park in 2017. The idea was born from a desire of many of the troop members who wanted to see more opportunities for adaptive play alongside their friends with disabilities.
“This swing is the first of its kind in our community and, before this, there wasn’t a place for the kids to be included in this kind of play,” continued Michelle. “I’m really honored that I’m a part of it and that the girls initiated it. Emma Brown, my son’s classmate, gave inspiration for this project. The girls fell in love with giving Emma a place to play.”
City staff led the troop to a swing manufacturer to assist in the construction of a swing to install alongside the city's existing swingset at Bledsoe Park. Keeping the adaptive swing in the same area as the other swings was important to the troop, as they want to be able to swing alongside friends that are unable to use traditional equipment.
Girl Scout Troop 2504 accumulated $1420 from fundraising events to choose the molded seat and additional framing materials, and city staff oversaw the purchasing and installation of the swing.
The Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of developing a park with adaptable equipment off of San Gabriel Parkway.