EAST COUNTY — Susannah Cripe stood with scissors in hand as children scurried behind her, swinging on swings and climbing on monkey bars.
After a quick call to attention, board members and supporters of Foundation for Dreams and its Dream Oaks Camp program, a camp specialized for children with disabilities, gathered behind a ribbon strung in front of the foundation’s new $150,000 playground.
Cripe handed the scissors to 17-year-old camper David Francis, who snipped the ribbon.
“It’s so fun,” Cripe said of the new barrier-free playground, which features sign language and drum panels, slides, swings and a wider low-incline ramp/walkway to accommodate children using wheelchairs, among other features. “At night, we’ve been coming out here, and the kids love it. We’ve been doing yoga on it.”
The ribbon-cutting celebration coincided with the last day of the first full week of Dream Oaks Camp.
Weeklong camps run through Aug. 8.
The new 4,000-square-foot playground area, located between the foundation’s office and camp cabins, is designed so children in wheelchairs can play alongside children without wheelchairs. Children also can play together or alone.
Shaded picnic tables and gardening boxes surround the playground, as well.
Foundation for Dreams, located on a 15-acre piece of Camp Flying Eagle’s property, has its own camp cabins, but uses Camp Flying Eagle’s pool, dining area and other amenities. Cripe said the new playground provides campers an amenity on the foundation’s own property.
Camp counselor Jessica Mancini said the playground proved to be a welcome addition to this year’s camp.
“The kids absolutely love it,” Mancini said. “It gives them a great resting place and a great place to relax. It’s built very intentionally (for children with disabilities).”
Cripe said she hopes to have a $50,000 shade structure donated or raise money for the project, so children can play on the equipment rain or shine.
For more information on Foundation for Dreams or Dream Oaks Camp, visit foundationfordreams.org.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].