My time in Canuckistan is done. Perhaps for good, perhaps not. To be honest, in all the years of travelling and staying in places for more than a few months, when I leave, I’m never sure if I’ll be back. I hope I will get back to Canuckistan. Because I made some wonderful friends and special memories. You just have to read the blog I wrote in February to see what she meant to me.
One of the things I managed to “achieve” – with lots of help from church members and local businesses – was the development of an “adventure” play park on our church property.
We started dreaming about building it in June last year after I saw some neighbourhood kids playing on the road at our church. With that in mind, we decided to create something that both the church kids and children and families from the community around the church could enjoy. Lots of research was done, and we kept coming back to the fact that we wanted to make it as challenging as possible. We also really wanted to try to do it ourselves – not spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on professionals. In addition, it needed to be as natural as possible – not one of these modern plastic and metal marvels that look amazing but are boring, and leave nothing to the kids’ imaginations. Many of the apparatuses were to be built with beetle-kill wood and we planned on bringing in several massive rocks for the edges of the play area.
Three months from when we started by trucking in the rocks, we finished for the year, just before the first snows. We had lots of balance apparatuses, swings, four gigantic rocks, a fort for little kids, a fort and tower for bigger kids, two small slides, climbing posts, a fireman pole and a bouldering wall.
(Here’s the video I compiled at the end of last summer.)
We weren’t quite done though! This spring we sprung back into it – replacing some of the balance logs (that didn’t quite work) with monkey bars, having a huge mural painted, installing a giant slide, building a bridge between the big fort and “princess” tower, having benches built and installed for the parents coming to watch their kids, and … I think that’s it.
It has been an amazing project to tackle – challenging for sure, but very rewarding. Several people have been kind enough to tell me that I am leaving behind a “legacy.” That may be true, but I know I’m also leaving behind relationships that grew stronger as we built this thing together. I will also never forget the joy I got at the kids’ excitement every time they saw something new out there, and of so many children growing, learning and becoming braver and bolder as they played on our little adventure park.
I never got to say goodbye to many of them. But as one of the kids said to me last week, “I don’t like saying goodbye, so I’ll just say ‘until I see you again’.” You’ve all blessed me greatly.
The end. For now.