It is hard to believe that it’s been a year since we gathered in the Northend for a spring BBQ and announced our Let Them Be Kids funding and plan to revitalize Louisa Gardens. It is equally hard to believe that it’s only been since September that nearly one hundred and fifty volunteers gave up a full day to help a dream became a reality – so many friendships, memories, and positive outcomes resulted from that day. Since the park build, I have had the opportunity to speak with some of those who came out to help and many have cited build day as the best community experience they have taken part in.
Since that day, I have also witnessed things at Louisa Gardens which I never thought I would see. These include laughter, imaginative play, and families coming together as families, spending time outside day after day. I have heard stories of fifth birthdays being celebrated in the park, nieghbourhood daycares taking their little ones down to play, and youth group field trips to the space. None of these stories would have come to be if it was not for the efforts of everyone who helped, both on build day and the months leading up.
In some ways, the new Louisa Gardens seemed to pop up out of nowhere. For this, we are whole heartedly indebted to everyone who came out that day to help and could not have done it without you. In other ways, the revitalization of this important community space was the result of a year of weekly meetings, funding proposals, fundraising events, and, of course, e-mail after e-mail after e-mail. We were a small but mighty committee and have, perhaps most importantly, become great friends in the process.
When we started this project, we had no idea of the impact it would have and the support it would gain; we were just a group of people who wanted children to have a safe place to play. What we realized, however, as our year of planning and fundraising drew to a close, was that this park project did not have to end with build day. We realized that the park could be a catalyst for so much more: more events, more friendships, and more opportunities for our community to grow and laugh and play.
This is all to say, we have more to come and would love your help. Some of the great ideas garnered over the winter include: ball hockey tournaments, outdoor movie nights, garden parties, BBQs, and new basketball nets. These may not all happen this year but with a little bit of help many of them will. So, who’s in?
In closing, I ask one simple favour, love your park and take care of it: walk the track, use the exercise equipment, have a picnic, and if you haven’t made it down yet, go for a stroll, stop in, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.
If you would like to help upcoming events, or have some ideas for events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org