Lifestyle

Imagined by kids, built by community

Why bother asking a 40-something designer to create a playground when the kid next door already has the coolest ideas?

That’s what a company called Leathers did during a recent Design Day, visiting Oak Harbor schools and interviewing about 1,000 students. Kids offered their ideas, grown ups listened and took their suggestions with them. A community meeting was rescheduled so kids could attend.

The 11,000-square foot Fort Nugent Playground will have swings, slides, a tree fort and climbing wall. There will also be features for visually and hearing impaired youngsters to enjoy.

“It will be a destination playground,” said CHRISTINE DIXON, Crescent Harbor Elementary School art teacher of children from kindergarten through fifth graders. “Kids from all over the island will want to come here and so will kids on vacation. We already have over 400 6-inch by 6-inch tiles being painted by kids from all over Oak Harbor, depicting orcas, oak trees and things we associate with the area.”

Tiles will be displayed on a 20-foot long wall running through the middle of the playground and children are creating murals. “Over 500 kids will have their artwork become a part of the playground,” she added.

Help, and lots of it, will be needed the week of July 12 through 16. If you are a mom, dad, friend or someone who likes to build stuff, please volunteer. Childcare will be provided, everyone will be fed and Makita has donated power tools.

“You don’t have to be skilled,” Dixon said. “Leaders will guide you. We do need carpenters with construction skills, people to hammer, rake and just carry things. Come for an hour, a day or a week.” Chores will be better defined as work begins in earnest.

On Sunday, July 16, there will be an official opening celebration, but the true beauty of the place will come years from now, when adults with children of their own revisit and point to their creations.

You may wish to buy an engraved fence picket for $40 or an engraved paver for $25 apiece. Forms are available at City Hall and many businesses around Oak Harbor.

See the city’s website at www.oakharbor.org and click on “volunteers needed.” Call 279-4756 and tell them you want to help build a playground.

Stealth photographer ...

K.C. POHTILLA is a local photographer who likes to keep under the radar at fly-ins, changes of command and wherever Navy people congregate.

“I sort of drift and if people are nice enough to let me come to their function, I am going to take photos,” she said, even if those events include an airlift of returning personnel at 3 a..m.

Until switching to a digital camera, she and her husband WILLIAM paid all the processing costs, but compensation never mattered to her.

“It’s the only way I can say ‘thank you’ to our Navy men and women,” K.C. said.

K.C. would rather avoid publicity, insisting, “There are so many people who deserve it more.” Perhaps, but the civilian and military community thank her for her support and 24/7 photo service.

Smarter, or just work harder?

A traditional candle ceremony of the National Honor Society lit up the room at Oak Harbor School Administration Building on May 18 as 32 students were inducted.

Congratulations to this year’s inductees KAYLA BEERS, NICOLE BOUCHARD, BRIANA BROTHERS, BETHANY BROWN, BROOKE DeWITT, RYAN EMMETT, BRYNN FAKKEMA, JAKE FORD, JESSICA GOEGHEGAN, CHRISTINA JAQUILMAC, NICOLE JOHNSON, SPENCER LIVERMORE, DANIEL LURA, KRISANDRA McGILL, ALYSSA MERRIMAN, IVANE MERTO, ARIANNA O’DELL, MARK OGREN, BENJAMIN OLSON, NICK OLSON, MEGAN O’NEILL, JEREMIE RELLAMA, KYLE RENNINGER, SYLVIA ROBERTS, DANIEL SAIKU, BRYCE SCHULLE, BRITTANY ST. JULIEN, ELIZABETH VAN DYKE, ELIZABETH VANNICE-ZAHRT, MYRA VELTKAMP, REBECCA WHEELER and ALISON WOLFGANG.

My high school English teacher, RICHARD DANIELS, liked to doodle a happy face or scribble a terse comment next to my grade. I saved some of each. His opinion still matters,

Your assignment for the coming week is to call me at 675-6611 or write to lifeonwhidbey@yahoo.com. I’ll be back on June 28 to see how you’ve done.

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