We just had too much good stuff to write about for Swing More 24, so we had to add another post!
The broad participation from so many of our jurisdictions was impressive, to say the least. Our smaller cities in Clark County may be small in size, but they are mighty when it comes to residents’ commitment to keeping their home towns great places to be!
Four of our county’s mayors stepped up to a friendly challenge, and helped get city councilors and city staff out to the swings to show their support. We tried to pick a winner, but in the end, our county’s parks, rec programs and trails, are the real winners. These mayors, city councilors, and staff truly care about their cities–and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Just two weeks ago, our community shared in the collective generosity of Give More 24, Southwest Washington’s day of online giving. At the Parks Foundation, we participated by holding the first-ever Swing More 24!
Thank you to the more than 30 people who donated their time and attention to join us to swing in support of parks! From 9am to 5pm, Parks Foundation supporters perched on swing sets in Vancouver, Ridgefield, Camas, Washougal, and Clark County. They engaged with the people who use our parks every day, and encouraged their friends and family to show their support by donating.
It was absolutely inspiring to see so many people–from elected officials to business owners to volunteers and community activists–take time out of their day and spend it helping us bring attention to our parks!
Altogether, our swingers and supporters raised $6,480, nearly double what we raised last year!
To inspire some friendly competition, we promised that all donations that were flagged in support of a specific participant would be credited to them–and everything donated in support of a specific city or the county would be credited to that jurisdiction.
Susan, who spends her days doing marketing for XRAY FM and the Carl in the Morning radio show, rallied her network to donate in her name, and garnered BOTH the most donations, AND the highest collective dollar amount, with 18 donations that totaled $600! Thank you to Susan, and to everyone who donated to support her and parks in Clark County!
As our thanks to Susan for her incredible efforts, we are giving her an engraved brick in Esther Short Park’s Propstra Square. [If you’d like to join Susan and buy a brick for a friend, business, or loved one, click here!]
So many people joined us and made a difference, we have to recognize some other award-winners!
Noland Hoshino and Bryan Dainty
We celebrate another year boosting self-esteem, healthy lifestyle habits and a positive outlook. That’s what the Everybody Plays Scholarship program, which has been providing children access to healthy and fun recreational activities since 1992, can boast. The entire community reaps the rewards of having physically and mentally healthy citizens, and this program makes sure that it is available for all children in our community. Uniquely designed for low income children and citizens with disabilities in Clark County, the Everybody Plays Scholarship program provides funding assistance and scholarships for recreational activities offered at both the Firstenburg and Marshall Community Centers.
The figures are impressive. In 2013, 836 scholarships were granted and a total of $44,000 in scholarship benefits were provided. Approximately 300 youth with about 3,000 hours of activity, participated in swimming lessons, sports activities as well as programs specifically designed for the disabled.
In 2013, the Parks Foundation awarded $14,000 to this extensive program that reaches out to so many families in our community. In fact, over the past five years, $148,420 has been distributed through the Parks Foundation in scholarship funding, and with your help again in 2014, we can make sure that everyone has access to the very necessary art of playing. You can make a donation online or call the Parks Foundation office at 360-487-8370.
The City of Camas applied for a community grant from the Parks Foundation in 2013, with the hopes of replacing a popular, but outdated, piece of playground equipment in Crown Park. They were excited to hear when they were awarded the grant and we are excited to hear about the completion of the merry-go-round installation!
This new piece of playground equipment now allows for accessibility to all users and was installed in accordance with current ASTM safety standards, including a 6 foot wide rubber topped concrete path around the entire play area.
There has been a lot of community interest and pride in this project. The color scheme chosen reflects local elementary, middle, and high school colors and as an added bonus, members of a local Weblos Cub Scout troop were able to work on their engineering requirement during the initial planning of the project.
The City of Camas plans to install a plaque to acknowledge the Parks Foundation’s generous gift to the City, but the Parks Foundation wants you to know that we didn’t do this alone… the plaque is for you too! Without your generous support and donations, we wouldn’t be able to provide the financial backing for wonderful projects like this one.
Thanks to all of you who support the Parks Foundation and the Community Grants Program!
This post is the first in a series highlighting the amazing work from our Community Grant recipients. Thanks to all the donors that made this great program a reality!
The Evergreen Summer Playground Program, now in its sixth year, has seen participation grow to a record high of 119 children participating in 2013. The program provides children ages 6 – 11 living on the Fourth Plain corridor a safe, supervised and positive place to play, learn, and have fun during the summer break. And, thanks to our partnership with SHARE, each child received a free nutritious lunch every day of the program.
The baseball clinics led and supervised by former Major League Baseball player and Fort Vancouver High School graduate Brian Hunter were an exciting addition to this year’s lineup of events. The children loved the clinics and Brian’s presence provided a wonderful example of someone who grew up in their neighborhood, became successful, and is giving back and encouraging others to strive for success!
A huge thank you to the Vancouver Police Department, and especially Corporal Duane Boynton, who has been with this program from the beginning. In addition to ensuring a safe environment in the park, he is able to outreach and provide a positive perspective and image of the police to the children and community.
The Evergreen Park Playground program has had significant impact on our community far beyond the bounds of the park and program. In addition to successfully accomplishing the initial goal of providing a safe, structured and supervised program for children in the Fourth Plain corridor, the program has truly transformed the park back to the community asset and gathering place it was intended to be. The Parks Foundation is proud to be a part of this program!
Clark County and the City of Vancouver have operated as a consolidated parks department under a joint agreement since 1997. Recently, the Board of Clark County Commissioners opted not to renew this agreement.
On Wednesday, December 4, 11 a.m. to noon at the Clark County Public Service Center (1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver, Training Room, 6th Floor), the Clark County Commissioners have scheduled a work session to outline the organization of the new Clark County Parks Department and future plans for parks and recreation services.
We hope anyone interested in the future of Clark County Parks will attend this work session and bring their own questions and comments. The County Parks workshop will be preceded by a Parks Foundation of Clark County update and presentation to the Commissioners.
Questions? Let us know!
The Parks Annual Luncheon was simply inspiring. More than $70,000 was awarded to programs and projects across Clark County that our communities will enjoy. The 2013 Florence B. Wager awards were presented to the following hard working, positive thinking, tireless individuals:
And Ron Onslow was a highly entertaining emcee. All this in less than 90 minutes!
Thanks to all who attended to make the 2013 luncheon a very special and memorable occasion. Be sure to review our Report to the Community that was distributed to the audience.
As our 15th anniversary in 2014 approaches, we are raising the bar and increasing our goal to raise $100,000 for grants. We will need your help.
The Lewis River-Vancouver Lake Water Trail Paddling Guide, designed to make paddling trips along the 32 miles of waterways between Woodland and Vancouver Lake safer, more enjoyable, and less harmful to natural resources, is now available. The guide, which identifies appropriate routes along existing stretches of river and shorelines, provides river mileage and waterway conditions, and offers trip planning details, will enhance recreational opportunities for paddlers of all abilities.
The water trail guide was funded through a 2012 Parks Foundation Community Grant through a generous sponsorship from Tidewater and produced in partnership with Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation and the National Parks Service. Printed guides are available at the Parks Foundation office, Marshall Community Center, and Ridgefield Kayak.
The Intertwine Alliance is a coalition of private firms, public agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to tap new sources of funding, better leverage existing investments, and more fully engage residents with the outdoors and nature. The Alliance was built over many years, but was formally launched as a nonprofit in July 2011. In its first year in operation, we grew from 28 partners to 68. We currently have 80 partners.
We envision thriving partnerships with communities to ensure uncommonly vibrant parks, trails, and recreation programs throughout Clark County.