Playgrounds built for children with all abilities in mind

22 Dec 2009 | Marine Cpl. Jessica L. Martinez

Oh, to be a child again; living each moment not having to worry about anything while getting to run around freely and play all day. Unfortunately not all children are able to enjoy that freedom they are entitled to.

Now all children aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, regardless of disabilities and handicaps, can have some playtime they more than deserve, while playing on one of five playgrounds built specifically with their needs in mind.

The five playgrounds include four handicap-accessible playgrounds that Marine Corps Community Services contracted out to be built and the Boundless Playground Atlantic Marine Corps Communities built for Marines and their families.

The handicap accessible playgrounds are located at Onslow Beach, Midway Park, Paradise Point and Tarawa Terrace, while the Boundless Playground is located in Watkins Village, on base.

The playgrounds were not only created to fit wheelchairs, but they were designed with ramps so that every child can reach the highest play deck. The playgrounds were also built to support children’s development with sensory-rich activities such as play equipment that demonstrate music, natural occurrences, elevated sand tables and activity panels to allow children with any ability to play together, while at the same time they develop their social skills.

“These playgrounds are 100-percent wheelchair accessible,” said Maria Ready, director for the Exceptional Family Member Program with MCCS. “In contrast to a regular playground, children in a wheelchair had a difficult time getting near the playground or the things they could play with were on a lower level. Now the complete playground is up on a wheelchair level.”

Currently all the playgrounds are finished and open to the Lejeune community, although in the Spring MCCS hopes to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the official opening of the four handicapped accessible playgrounds aboard the base.

“These playgrounds are important to Camp Lejeune because we have to take into consideration the families with children who have disabilities,” said Ready. “Childhood should be filled with enriching activities. Children with disabilities should have the same opportunity as children without disabilities.”

For more information about the Exceptional Family Member Program or MCCS visit