Dream Becomes Reality

People of all ages and abilities were finally able to play together Saturday at Brittany’s Play Adventure at Wild Horse Park during Family Fun Fest.
Brittany’s Play Adventure is an all-inclusive playground that started as just an idea of Lynly Grider’s, founder and executive director for Mustang Parks Foundation, for her sister-in-law Brittany Grider.
Brittany, 34, grew up in Mustang and now lives in Okarche at the Center of Family Love. She was born with Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome (PKS), a rare genetic disorder that has Brittany functioning at a 3-4-year-old level.
Some of Brittany’s friends from the Center of Family Love also came out to celebrate the grand opening.
Family Fun Fest Saturday began with the season opening of the Wild Horse Gardens & Farmers Market, as well as live music, food trucks and face painting. At 11 a.m. is when the celebration focused solely on Brittany’s Play Adventure with a ceremony with multiple speakers followed by a ribbon cutting to officially open the park for play.
“I just want to say, thank you everyone for coming out today,” Mayor Jay Adams said to the crowd of people gathered for the playground’s grand opening ceremony. “I am so amazed at the love in this community. The way we come together to do things. This is a lot of volunteer work. We have this beautiful park, this beautiful playground. There is nothing stronger than the heart of volunteers. We’ve got some great people with Mustang Parks Foundation that have set an example for our city. I’m very proud of them, proud of our city and proud of the family gathering that we have here. Mustang is a better place because of volunteers.”
Aside from the mayor, other speakers included Justin Battles, assistant city manager and Parks and Recreation director; Jim Vollmer, project manager at Unlimited Play Inc.; Tiffany Massie, 2016 Teacher of the Year; Reps. Leslie Osborn and John Paul Jordan; Sen. James Lankford, and Lynly.
The constant through everyone’s speeches was thanking the volunteers who made the playground possible.
“You see this beautiful facility and there’s two people we’d like to thank,” Battles said. “One is obviously our voters because when Mustang Parks Foundation came up with this—this type of facility is a no-brainer for us, but then you get to talking about money. We appreciate our voters who supported the bond issue, but secondly, we appreciate all our volunteers. I know the Mayor hit on it, but what’s so cool about this is volunteers designed this playground. People who had the ability to work with individuals with special needs where we can play side-by-side. That is so important in our community.”
Vollmer flew in from St. Louis, Missouri to present Lynly with a surprise.
“Sometimes in life you run across some amazing individuals and some incredible communities. I’ve spent some time here and this is absolutely a beautiful, incredible, loving community. You should all be proud of yourself, this is fantastic,” Vollmer said during his speech. “You should all be very, very proud of Lynly and all the work she’s done.”
Vollmer then presented Lynly with a plaque for all “the time and love” she put in to make Brittany’s Play Adventure a reality.
Massie said she was excited to be there and be a part of Brittany’s Play Adventure, not only for herself, but for her students, as a special education teacher for Mustang Public Schools.
“Being a part of this endeavor has been amazing, and being able to represent Mustang special educators, the Mustang school district—it is very humbling—and being able to be an advocate for my students, to be able to be an advocate for people who can’t always advocate for themselves—it’s so nice to get to be that person,” Massie said during her speech. “I had no idea what it would take to put this together, but I do know the hard work and determination of the Mustang Parks Foundation, all of the Grider family and all of the volunteers.”
Massie went on to talk about when we look at the monetary aspect of Oklahoma, it can be depressing, but Brittany’s Play Adventure is something positive for the City of Mustang and for the state as a whole.
“This is the light. This is the silver lining. And it’s so exciting that it’s right here in Mustang,” Massie said. “Every morning I listen to a syndicated radio show and the DJs are tasked with finding something good. They report on something good, but they talk about things all over the nation—we have something good right here in Mustang. So this is our something good. I’m so excited we all get to be a part of something good right here in Mustang.”
During her speech, Massie began talking about trips she takes her students on to either a store or a fast food restaurant to practice a variety of skills, but she knows their last stop before going back to school will be Brittany’s Play Adventure.
“I’m so excited to have this opportunity. We don’t have playgrounds like this anywhere so [people] who don’t normally have that ability to access different playground equipment can come here and enjoy their time,” she said.
Osborn, R-Mustang, agreed with Massie and the rest of the speakers about how great Mustang is.
“What a blessing it is to live in Mustang,” Osborn said. “But I’d also like to talk about Brian (City Council member) and Lynly for a moment. These are the kind of people that make you realize that most of us don’t do enough. Most of us don’t have a special needs child in our family. Most of us are busy with taking the kids to soccer practice and most of us are busy with our 40-hour-week job and mowing the lawn when we get home and doing the dishes, and we really don’t think outside of our own box, but there’s those people out that do. I wish all of us could be like that. The ones who look at something and see a need that’s lacking, and they see something and decide ‘I want to be the one that goes out and starts a non-profit, raises $50,000, actually works with this community then works with the City of Mustang, gets this beautiful facility funded,’ but they don’t ask for anything for themselves. All of us need to take a lesson about paying it forward that way and not always just thinking about our own lives.”
Osborn and Jordan, R-Yukon, presented Brittany’s Play Adventure a citation from the State of Oklahoma during the ceremony. The citation is signed by Osborn and Sen. Lonnie Paxton and reads in part:
“Whereas, the Oklahoma State Legislature, acting on behalf of the citizens of this great state, wishes to extend its highest regards to Brittany’s Play Adventure with most sincere wishes for all kids of all abilities to play together.”
Lankford also congratulated and thanked the Grider family, volunteers and the City of Mustang.
“This is a representation of our families, of our community. We talk a lot in government about the issues that need to pass legislation, but we all understand full and well that the strength of our nation doesn’t rely on legislation, it rides on our families and how we, as communities, come together alongside our families,” Lankford said.
Lynly said she was excited her dream was finally reality, but got emotional during her speech, especially when speaking directly to Brittany.
“On August 29, 2015, this dream right here was presented to the public. One year, nine months and five days later—it’s a reality,” Lynly said. “I am forever indebted to several individuals who jumped in and helped with this project. This reality would not exist right now had it not been for those people.
“To the City of Mustang staff, Mustang’s City Council, the Foundation’s Board of Directors and volunteers, and my family: Each one of you contributed to this project in ways that truly humble me. I am grateful for your enthusiasm, your trust and your sacrifice. To the community: We would not be here without your support. Thank you for loving Mustang enough to invest in its future. To our very special guests: You inspire me. You are loved and you make a difference in this world by just being you. To Brittany, my sister: You make me want to be a better person. Thank you for accepting me and showing me your world of the most loving people that I’ve ever met.”
Brittany’s Play Adventure was officially open for play after the ribbon cutting that followed the ceremony.
The seated zip line was broke throughout the week, but Mustang Parks and Recreation staff fixed it on Tuesday.
Mustang Parks Foundation officials ask that people take care of the equipment.
Mustang Parks Foundation is still working on other things for the playground for later down the road, including working with Scapes Inc. to do the landscaping around the playground.
The plan is for the landscape to be interactive to go with the playground, as well as give it some shade.
“I’m excited to see what they come up with. It’s going to be another beautiful addition to this playground and I know they’ll do a great job,” Lynly previously said.
A fence will also be put around the playground for safety reasons soon, and even later down the road the area will be built up with another pavilion, possibly a market place and more.
To watch Saturday’s ceremony and ribbon cutting in full, visit our Facebook page, “My Mustang News,” to watch the live video, or visit our Facebook page to see photos from the event.

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