Jayden Sink, a Life Scout with Troop 137 in Troutville and Senior Patrol Leader, is working on earning his Eagle Scout rank, and in order to do so, he must complete an Eagle Scout Project.
“I have chosen to build an inclusion playground at the church where my Troop meets, Troutville Church of the Brethren,” said Sink. “Things look different this year with the COVID-19 pandemic which makes traditional fundraising efforts very challenging. Because of this, I have been allowed to set up a fundraising page as a way to fundraise safely and with no contact, to hopefully diminish health and safety concerns.
“You may be wondering what an inclusion playground is, what makes it different from any other playground, and why I chose this as my project,” Sink commented. “I chose this project because my younger brother has autism. Every day he fights to be included and accepted, and many times he is turned away or bullied due to not always understanding how to act in social settings. He has handled more disappointment and ridicule than I could ever imagine, and he has handled it with class, dignity, and courage. He is so resilient, determined, and brave, but he shouldn’t have to be.
“Everyone needs to be, and feel, included. Being included in play and social situations is necessary. I have witnessed how being excluded and turned away can impact feelings, mood, self-esteem, and self-acceptance. Even though kids may not show it, it hurts. No one wants to see a child left out,” he said.
“I feel that regardless of a child’s preference or abilities, that there are activities for them to engage in,” said Sink. “They should not be limited to certain types of equipment because of their abilities. Instead, the space should be able to engage all children and have ample opportunities for mixed interaction. An inclusion playground will allow children of any ability to play and be included. By making sure that the playground includes elements of play for all, children will be able to have fun without the segregation or lack of accommodation.”
To make a donation to Jayden’s Eagle Scout Project visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/inclusion-playground-eagle-scout-project.