Clemyjontri Playground Draws Visitors from Around the World

The colorful Clemyjontri Park playground in McLean has long been a draw for kids and adults in the Washington area who are looking for an inclusive play experience. This summer, the playground also played host to teens from around the world who are visiting the United States through the group Mobility International USA.

The Oregon-based, disability-led non-profit serves people with a broad range of disabilities and is dedicated to advancing disability rights and leadership throughout the world. It reached out to the Park Authority for suggestions on accessible places the teens could visit in Fairfax County, and Clemyjontri was an easy choice.

With huge smiles and delight in their voices, the teens described how it felt to ride the park’s accessible carousel.

“So amazing,” said a teenage girl from Senegal after her first-ever carousel ride. A girl from Kazakhstan called it “cool and amazing” and said she wanted to try it one more time. Another said it was “really great.”

The teenage boys had big smiles on their faces, too. One admitted he didn’t know what to expect but found the ride to be “fun” and “amazing.” A youth from Tunisia summed up the experience as “relaxing and nice.” One just flashed a big thumbs-up as the carousel spun ‘round and ‘round.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects the rights of individuals who are disabled in the United States, Park Authority ADA Coordinator Gary Logue explains that the visiting teens came from countries where their rights do not receive similar protection. They had a range of physical and sensory disabilities, such as low vision and blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and amputations, which can make play at a typical playground challenging, if not impossible. Some of the group’s leaders enjoyed some first-time-ever playground experiences, too.

No matter their age or ability, Logue says, “Everyone is impressed with the sheer enormity of the playground and accessibility features.” In particular, he notes, “the carousel has been a big hit” as some of these visitors have never had the opportunity to take such a spin before. In addition to the carousel rides, one teen who came to the park in a wheelchair was thrilled by his first ride on a swing, thanks to the specially-designed Liberty Swing.

The visit to Clemyjontri was about more than just providing a day of fun. By exposing these teens to accessible features in the United States, Mobility International USA hopes to help increase rights for individuals with disabilities throughout the world and demonstrate what is possible when inclusiveness is the goal.

Clemyjontri Park is located at 6317 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA. For more information, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/clemyjontri/.

Author Carol Ochs is with the Park Authority’s Public Information Office. Photos provided by Park Authority Photographer Don Sweeney and ADA Coordinator Gary Logue. Video editing by the Park Authority’s Joe Jasper and voiceover by Stewardship Communications Manager Dave Ochs.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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