I was at the North Kingstown Town Beach the other night with my sons. They were swinging on the swings and I stopped them to show them how coordinated I was. I went to the end of the long swing set, the one that holds four swingers, and climbed up to the top. My arms are long enough to span the metal braces and I was able to pull myself without breaking any bones. I said to one of my sons “I still got it. I used to do this when I was your age.” Then, it hit me.
I used the same swing sets when I was my son’s age. I am 43 and unless I missed something, these are the same swing sets I used when I was a kid growing up in North Kingstown. Don’t get me wrong, they are still fun to swing on. Structurally, they appear to be intact and apart from a few creaks in the chains, the swings work fine. In the same playground area, there is a swing set for younger children with bucket seats. Also, there is a ladder type apparatus that my kids have used over the years. I took a step back and surveyed the playground as it stands. This made me take a pause and think.
I have noticed a sharp decline in the number of people going to the North Kingstown Town Beach over the last decade or so. To me, it has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Southern Rhode Island. It is a cove beach, which means no huge waves like other area beaches. A cove type beach is great for families, especially young families with toddlers just getting used to the water. It is the beach where I learned how to swim, as did my brother and sister. I trained for 2 Save the Bay Swims there, as did my father (5 times) and my brother, who nearly won it when he was just 16 years old. Overall, it is a safe beach where local Rhode Island residents can spend a great day at the beach.
What if the North Kingstown Town Beach and its playground area had a new design? A playground area that incorporated traditional components such as swings, slides, and pull-up apparatus along with more modern ideas that were fitness related. According to www.cdc.gov, “The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.”
What if the playground area at the North Kingstown Town Beach had a fitness and exercise style playground that kids of all ages, myself included, could use to make their lives healthier?
Wouldn’t it be great to turn this…
Is it possible? I think anything is possible. Contact the North Kingstown Blog to hear our vision for a Healthier North Kingstown.