Eagle Scout Candidate Forrest Bernhardt, age 14, received the go-ahead from Whitehall City Council on January 12, 2010 to locate a Liberty Swing in Goodrich Park. The Liberty Swing, a world-first Australian innovation, has enabled many Australian children who use wheelchairs to experience the joy of having a swing in a park and it will now provide the same thrill for kids and adults with disabilities in Whitehall and all of West Michigan.
Diane James, Managing Director of Liberty Swing Pty Ltd, said that the Whitehall swing will be the first installation in a public park in Michigan. “Children in wheelchairs in the Western region of Michigan will now have the opportunity to experience the simple pleasure of having a swing”.
“For most children a city’s parks and playgrounds are a favorite place to visit, however children with special needs often cannot participate in the same activities as other children. The Liberty Swing changes that and allows children in wheelchairs to join in the fun and experience the same childhood activities that all children can enjoy”.
About 180 Liberty Swings have already been installed across Australia and New Zealand and it is now considered a standard piece of equipment in Australia for councils planning new accessible playgrounds. The Liberty Swing, featured on the ABC’s New Inventors show, holds most types and sizes of wheelchairs and meets global safety standards for playground equipment, but is unique in that it can be locked to prevent accidents and vandalism and has an internal seat where a wheelchair is not necessary.
Bernhardt now faces the challenge of raising $16,000 to cover the cost of the swing and shipping charges. He is also looking for donations from businesses for pool type fencing that makes this swing safe and donations from local contractors for help with excavation, cement work, rubber surfacing and assembly.
Tax Deductible Donations can be sent to
Easter Seals – Michigan
First Liberty Swing fund
4065 Saladin Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
***IMPORTANT*** Remember to put “Liberty Swing Fund” in the memo of the check or else the funds will go to Easter Seals and not to the Eagle Scout Project for the Liberty Swing!
Bernhardt’s goal is to have his Eagle Scout Project completed with children swinging by summer!
Source: Press Release