MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Rain or shine, nothing will stop children from wanting to play outside, but often an injury or handicap can be what puts a damper on a child’s playtime.
Atlantic Marine Corps Communities recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony at Watkins Village, to officially open up the Boundless Playground and Warrior Workout Trail to the Camp Lejeune community.
The Boundless Playground aboard the base is the first playground aboard any Marine Corps installation, to allow children and parents with diverse needs and disabilities to play together.
“It’s a wonderful feature and development,” said Col. Richard P. Flatau Jr., commanding officer for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “It is an honor to have the privilege of accepting the first boundless playground on a Marine Corps installation. It certainly is very special to kids and family members who are physically challenged or injured, getting over an injury or permanently challenged in some physical way. This is a great way to improve their quality of life by giving them a place where kids can come and play and parents can be out there regardless of physical abilities.”
During the ceremony, although the weather wasn’t ideal for the parents, children didn’t mind playing in the rain.
“The kids are obviously excited and happy to be here, which is a neat thing to watch,” said Flatau. “It makes you feel that much better about being a part of something like this even though there is rain.”
The Boundless Playground is designed so every child can reach the highest play deck by using ramps and to support children’s development. There are sensory-rich activities such as equipment that demonstrates natural occurrences, elevated sand tables as well as activity panels to allow children with any ability to play together and develop their social skills.
“The Boundless Playground allows children of all capabilities, levels of fitness and ability can play together in an environment where they feel safe, strong and grow with their family members who may also be somewhat disabled and not be able to join them on the equipment,” said Kathleen Murney, project director. “What we thought we would add to (this project) is a fitness trail because we were putting a trail through the woods anyway to connect the different housing areas, so we thought we’d put equipment around it. We worked in conjunction with Naval Hospital here and the physical therapists to pick out the right equipment for the fitness trail to make sure all levels of people could still work out on the equipment.”
Murney continued to say how they’ve been working on this project for quite some time and they are very excited this day was finally here for the families and children.
“A high quality of life for our residents is of the utmost importance to us,” said Dale Connor, Actus Lend Lease executive manager. “The Boundless Playground and Warrior Workout Trail provides an opportunity for injured Marines to continue doing things that are important to them such as getting out and playing with their families, as well as engaging with others in their community. We’re pleased to be able to offer this amenity to the Camp Lejeune community and look forward to continued enjoyment by residents.”