We are so close! SaMP Park Project

Recently we met with the City of Frederick Parks and Rec Commission. The purpose of the meeting was to go over the legal documents (MOU) that will dictate who is responsible for what in regards to the Sophie and Madigan’s Playground Park Project at West Side Regional Park near Butterfly Lane. We’ve been working the the deputy director, and city engineer for several months pulling this together. Last night the meeting was short and oh so very sweet when the project was brought up the MOU was approved unanimously. Our next steps will finalize that approval. First we will sit with the Board of Alderman at their workshop on June 6th at 3pm. Then we will go in front of the Mayor for final approval. This should all happen quickly and it’s possible by that by the end of June we will be ready to hit the road running! We know that this has been such a long process and even we wondered if we would ever get to this point, but now we’re here! The time line should move very quickly with the park access road, the parking lots, and equipment pads for our park going in *this* fall. We are very excited to be here. There was a lot of “blood sweat and more than enough tears to get us here! We will be a part of the West Side Regional Park System where eventually there will be ball fields and proposed pools etc etc. We are grateful to the City for working with us to make this a reality ~ This Butterfly Lane location was the original location that we asked about when we sat down with the city in 2013! We still have work to do but we are closer than ever to building this amazing destination park that will benefit our community and honor our sweet Sophie and Madigan.

Park Concepts

Our team has been hard at work creating the concepts that will become Sophie & Madigan Lillard Memorial Park. We are very proud of what we will be bringing to our area in honor of Sophie and Madigan. While we continue to wait for the land to become available for use we would like to share some concepts with you.

Fantasyland Concept BoardNeverland Concept BoardWonderland Concept Board

It’s going to be a fun year!

Recently our Board of Directors met and approved the events for the upcoming year, and I have to say I’m super excited for what’s to come. Below you’ll find a list of the events with a small description and as they become available I’ll add more details in a separate blog post and link them back here. If you have any questions about the events, if you want to get involved as a volunteer, or as a sponsor just shoot me an email chrissi.lill @icloud.com I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible!

SaMP Kids – Compassionate Kids Club ~ SaMP Kids is a weekly service based group with the goal of teaching kids that their acts of compassion both big and small can make a big difference in their community. The kids choose the project for the month and work together on each step to figure out how to make the project successful. This is a free LEARN event thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters.

The Great Brunswick BBQ Throwdown ~ Sophie & Madigan’s Playground will have a fun interactive Kids Zone at this one of a kind BBQ competition, Come by and see us for free kids activities, story times, music, demonstrations, and more. March 4th 10am-5pm SaMP Kids Zone is a Free PLAY event thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters. Donations accepted.

Celebrate PLAY with Laurie Berkner ~ Join us as we present a FREE day of music and play at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. Laurie will be singing all of your favorites and we have lots of fun activities planned. Superhero cape giveaways for the first 250 kids. Hope to see you there! May 23 10am-12pm Celebrate PLAY is a Free PLAY event thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters.

SaM PLAY Trail ~ the PLAY Trail is coming back this spring, we had a lot of fun with this event last year and we loved seeing all of your pictures. PLAY Trail strengthens families by bringing kids and families together to explore all that Frederick County has to offer. Join us again in June for our kick  for the 2017 PLAY Trail. The PLAY Trail is a completely FREE PLAY event thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters.

Sophie & Madigan’s Painted Butterfly Gala and Silent Auction ~ Our 3rd year as the areas only family friendly Gala event. Join us for a whimsical and fun day to dress up, dance, play and bid on amazing auction items to support our mission to help kids and their families PLAY LEARN & CREATE! This special day will be perfect for parent/child date day, grandparents, and families of all sizes. Music, activities, and the dance floor will be open for the young and young at heart. Tickets will be available online. Space is limited.

Pirate & Princess 5k and Halloween Fun Run ~ Join us for our 3rd 5k and fun run event this fall. Prizes for top fundraising team, best dressed, and of course top finishers. Registration opens this spring don’t miss out on early registration rates this spring follow us on facebook for updates. This event supports our mission to help kids, and families PLAY LEARN & CREATE.

Winter Carnival for Grieving Families ~ Winter can be an especially hard time for kids, and families who have experienced a loss or who anticipate losing a loved one in the near future. Please join us for this day filled with fun, love, and understanding. Our goal is to provide a fun filled day where kids and families can let their masks down and be surrounded by people who understand the complexities of grief.  Special guests, and gifts for children. The Winter Carnival is a FREE CREATE event thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and supporters.

Pink Friday ~ This unique shopping day lets you support your favorite local small businesses all while giving back to Sophie & Madigan’s Playground. Participating businesses in Frederick and surrounding cities offer a percentage of your sale to SaMP. So come out and kick off your holiday shopping season while giving back to your community! Plus bring your receipts for a chance to win a Gift Card! This event supports our mission to help kids, and families PLAY LEARN & CREATE Continue reading

Park Progress – Excited and a little scared

I’m so excited and admittedly a little scared for what this day has in store for us. Tonight we will sit down with 3 companies who have been working on a preliminary design for the park. These teams have met with us several times, they’ve poured their time and energy into a presentation.  Now it’s finally time to hear them and make a choice.

Why am I scared? Well, it’s a huge step for making the memorial park a reality. We’ve barely gotten started, and we’ve had so many times when it felt like we were almost there, only to have it pulled away. We’re finally here. We’re getting started with the the nitty gritty, choosing vendors, and making sure the city is happy with the things we’re planning. This is really happening. I’m scared of the park being built and then feeling a loss of purpose. Everyone has been so focused on the park aspect of SaMP that I feel like our efforts to get the programs which reflect the rest of our mission are going to be pushed aside. My brain knows this won’t happen because the organization we created for the girls is more than just a park – it’s a lifelong purpose to help kids and their families to PLAY LEARN & CREATE.

Why am I excited? Seriously how could I not be excited? Jack and I, and our board and volunteers, have had this vision for the park, how it would make people feel, how it would help our community, how it would help us feel a little less broken, since a very short time after we lost Sophie and Madigan. We’ve worked so hard, we’ve had tears of frustrations, we’ve had tears of elation, and we’ve gotten to a point of reserved excitement waiting for progress. Now it’s happening, this is a definitive step towards progress. 

So tonight as we sit in a room at the library with these teams of people, who I have become emotionally invested in, I have a lot of hope there is a very clear step forward. I’m ready to take this step. Our board, that has patiently met month after month for the last 4 years, is ready for this step. The park will be a very concrete way for people to see that their donations, their emotional investment, their hard work, and dedication to the plan will pay off. There were certainly times when it felt like it wouldn’t happen. I keep reminding myself not to to jump the gun and realize there will still be delays and set backs – but also feeling really positive about a concrete step forward. 

Sophie & Madigan Lillard Memorial Park

We are closer than ever to starting to build the park. As a part of the Frederick City Park system, we will work closely with the city on the planning and the development of the land they have generously approved for this use. The park is located on approximately 10 acres of land at the west end of Frederick City, where the VFW gold course currently stands. It’s location is ideal to serve a currently under served section of our community, as well as being easily accessed from major highways. This makes the park highly accessible to visitors from the city, all over our county, and states of Maryland, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The current plans for the park include fully accessible whimsically themed play areas, walking trails, shared use paths, pavilions, memorial gardens, and an outdoor amphitheater. In November our board will be presented with three preliminary designs, and budgets from three park developers. From there the board members will be asked to  narrow down to one! This is such a big exciting step. We can’t wait get past this step and on to the hard work of making this dream a reality.

blog.jpgPark Rough Draft by ~ Chrissi Lillard

Park Draft Details

Entrance Pavilion

* carousel themed * memorial pavers * seating/picnic area * “stained glass” sections for roof * surrounded by butterfly “garden” * carousel horses in gardens

Wonderland Garden
* fully accessible * sensory tunnel * flower and butterfly shades * mushroom play structure * climbing web * nest swing * “tea party” sound garden * queen of hearts “croquet” course * flower stalk swing set *bright memorial bench seating

* castle/tower play structure * jousting horse ride-ons * dragon slide * floating lantern shades * drawbridge course * “princess cottage” playhouse * pumpkin carriage * diamond “mine” mining train * carousel spin ride

*skull rock climbing/play structure *tic toc croc climbing sculpture * pirate ship play structure * ship sail shades *Mr Smee row boat * teepee “playhouse” * pirate “zip line” *mermaid lagoon tot spot

* tiered seating for 300 * rental opportunity * community gathering * memorial pavers/tile