SPEARFISH — Children of all abilities can enjoy a swing in the sunshine at Spartan Park now.
An all-inclusive swing seat was recently installed at the park on Grant and State streets. The swing seat was installed on July 2, and the deep, wide ergonomic seat accommodates individuals of all ages and abilities.
The installation of the swing seat came about after the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation requested and received grant funds to purchase an all-inclusive swing seat for one of the local play areas from the Zonta Club of Spearfish Area.
Named in memory of a 5-year-old from Spearfish with infantile spasms, an age-dependent form of epilepsy often associated with an anoxic brain injury at birth, the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation has the mission “To assist all special needs children and their families achieve fulfilled lives through support, resources, respite care, volunteerism, and advocacy.”
The Zonta Club of Spearfish Area awarded more than $32,000 to 36 non-profit groups in the Northern Hills in April, and as soon as the grant money was awarded, the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation ordered the inclusive swing seat from Landscape Structures, an industry leader for inclusive playground design and equipment. The mission of the local Zonta chapter is to serve the Spearfish community by recognizing and supporting the needs of women and children. Non-profit groups that work in these specific areas are encouraged to apply for the grants at the first of the year, with the monies being distributed in early spring.
Kelly A. Weis, foundation president and mother to Kenadi Jean, had presented the concept of a play environment that welcomes children and families of all abilities to the Spearfish Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Advisory Board. She explained that a park is more than just a collection of play equipment: it is a place for fun, where generations can come together and share common experiences, and where community members gather and build relationships. Placing the inclusive swing seat in a local park would allow children of all abilities to play side by side, teaching the valuable lessons of compassion, awareness, and acceptance.
After a discussion with Keith Hepper, Spearfish Parks, Recreation, and Forestry superintendent, it was determined that the best playground for the swing seat was Spartan Park, designed for ages 5-12.
The Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, Zonta Club of Spearfish Are members, and community supporters thank the city of Spearfish for its shared vision of a municipality that can live, love, and grow together, Lori Deibert, of the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, said.
“We are so grateful for the support we have received moving towards an all-inclusive community where children and adults of all abilities can come together, interact, be included, and grow through the gift of play,” she said.
For more information about the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, visit teamkenadi.com, check Facebook, or visit the booth during Downtown Friday Nights in Spearfish.