Thoughts Along the Path . . .
The photo of John and me handing a cheque to Mayor Foxton captured a moment in a story that unfolded over four months. What happened then? What has happened since? And looking to the future, what’s ahead? (Note: Photo not included in this website rendering.)
To begin at the beginning and as mentioned in an article in the Ayr News August 18, while on a fitness run in May I had an idea that I shared with the local Baha’i community, of which I am a member: To honor the lifetime of service by Abdul-Baha, the son of the founder of our Faith, we could dedicate ourselves to 100 Days of Service. The reason for the “100” is that he passed from this life 100 years ago as of November 27.
Abdul-Baha’s role in the history of our Faith is beyond the scope of this brief article, but I will summarize by saying that his entire life was dedicated to service to all of humanity and all earthly creatures. So perhaps it’s no surprise that my idea of 100 Days of Service was quickly and unanimously adopted. We also agreed that we wanted to include a project that would be a significant act of service to Ayr and the Township of North Dumfries.
Our initial thoughts included trees or gardens, a bench, or a commemorative stone monument. We decided to ask the Township if there was something they needed and that we might do or at least assist with. We invited Mayor Foxton to meet (via Zoom) to share our idea and to ask for her advice.
As she enthusiastically embraced our 100 Days of Service initiative, she suggested we contact Karen Winter, the Township’s Director of Leisure and Community Services. Much to our delight, Karen offered yet another proposal: outdoor fitness equipment for Cowan Park.
The entire Baha’i community loved this suggestion, though the cost would be challenging to us. We are not a large group, but we were so attracted to this proposal that we formulated a plan. Even as we worked with Karen on details of a fitness circuit that could even expand over time, we focused on raising the necessary funds and completing the many logistical details.
On August 9 we presented a proposal to the Township Council, which graciously accepted our offer for the donation and the official dedication to take place on-site on November 25. To meet this goal, we needed to complete the planning — including selecting equipment, site selection, and fundraising — by mid-September. So that’s what we did!
We love living in Ayr, and we appreciate many ways to stay active and fit. We walk and run our neighborhoods, feeling safe and welcome. We enjoy exploring the trails, both natural and built. We bike, visit the ponds and the river, go to the gym, play soccer and hockey, ice skate, and much more. And now we are happy to be creating an outdoor area with three pieces of fitness equipment, including one designed for accessibility in respect of the diversity of local residents.
Recognizing that three pieces of fitness equipment is only a start, we look forward to staying involved in expanding this over the next few years. In the meantime, anyone visiting Cowan Park can enjoy this equipment while walking the Eby Trail or using the other recreational areas in that park.
Between now and November 27, we will continue our 100 Days of Service and invite you to join us. Or perhaps you have your own service project and we could help you. Please let us know. How can you contact us? Well, you might see us around town picking up litter, clearing a trail, dropping off items at the food bank, or helping friends and neighbours in other ways. Or you can send a message to Events.AyrON@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you.
Submitted to Ayr News by Jaellayna Palmer, September 2021
© Jaellayna Palmer 2021