Wilson Park recently received some new playground equipment thanks to local Girl Scout Sarah McGowan from Troop 1147. In July, McGowan went before the village board to tell them what she planned to do at Wilson Park for her Silver Award project.
“I noticed that my local park did not have a swing for children with physical disabilities,” said McGowan. “I also noticed that there was not sensory playground equipment for children in our park. I have seen at other parks equipment that kids with disabilities could use and I felt that our park could use it. My mom works with children with special needs and that is why I felt this was so important to do.”
After researching different types of equipment and different companies, McGowan found a company that sold sensory playground equipment and an adaptive swing.
“The mayor was very helpful,” McGowan explained. “He helped me set up a meeting with the village board so I could explain my ideas to them. The village board approved my project and the mayor helped set up the installation.”
“Several months ago, Sarah came to me with an idea for a project so she could earn her Silver Award,” said Mayor Scott Strauss. “Her idea was to have activity panels installed in the park that are designed for all children, but appeal more to children with challenges. These panels, along with a special swing, provide an opportunity for all children to better enjoy their visit to our park. Sarah, as young as she is, saw a need and wanted to fill that gap. She did research, contacted vendors and suppliers, and brought the information and plans to me. I thoroughly embraced the idea and after months of planning, calls and meetings and making a presentation to the trustees at one of our televised meetings, it was ready to go. Our DPW team worked with Sarah and the vendor making her idea become a reality.”
At the board meeting in July, Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said it was a great idea to have that type of equipment in Wilson Park.
“I’ve seen them at other parks and other facilities,” said Pereira. “I think that would be a great idea. We’re looking to undergo some renovations over at Wilson Park, so great job.”
According to McGowan, her favorite part of being in Troop 1447 is trying new things with a group of friends.
“I love group activities like going to Camp Blue Bay and Frost Valley,” she said. “I also love being part of a troop that helps out the community.”
Overall, McGowan said that she feels a sense of accomplishment.
“It was so nice to see young kids smiling and playing with the new equipment.”