Courtney’s SandCastle is the most popular playground in San Clemente, and probably all of Orange County. It is located on the beach in front of the town hall. It is a place where children of all abilities are welcome to come and have fun. Every day, more than 300 people come to this beautiful area to relax and enjoy themselves.
Courtney’s SandCastle is a free public universal playground that is open to children of all abilities, with a special focus on children with physical, mental, and sensory difficulties. It is open to the public on weekends and holidays. In honor of Courtney Faye Smith, who has been confined to a wheelchair due to a rare muscle degenerative condition known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Courtney’s SandCastle has been named in her honor.
Even when Courtney and her friends went to a neighborhood park with their pals, Courtney was unable to join due of her disability, as are around 18,000 other children with disabilities in Orange County. Lori Shelton, a family friend of Courtney’s, had the idea of creating a park in Orange County just for children with special needs. With her son Spencer Shelton-Jenks by her side, they named the park in honor of their friend Courtney, who had inspired them to do so.
In 2004, the San Clemente Junior Woman’s Club, the San Clemente Beaches & Parks Foundation, and the City of San Clemente joined forces to design and construct a universally accessible playground. The playground was dedicated in 2005. However, it is currently part of the Vista Hermosa Sports Park & Aquatics Center, rather than Richard Steed Park in San Clemente, where it was originally planned.
A collaboration between Richard Fisher (who has built several of the West’s greatest universally accessible and traditional parks) and Summers/Murphy & Partners Inc. created the design for the playground.
Providing sensory stimulation in outdoor places can aid in a child’s mental development, health improvement, emotional growth, and social integration, in addition to enhancing the child’s learning motivation and desire to explore new things.
According to the findings of research, outdoor play areas are critical as a basis for the education of children with special educational needs, with whom they can assist in the reduction of violent and bullying behavior.
As a charitable organization, the Courtney’s SandCastle Charitable Foundation’s mission is to ensure that the Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground is able to provide fun and interactive play opportunities for all children in our community, regardless of their abilities, while improving the overall quality of life; and to promote multicultural awareness, compassion and acceptance.
They envision working in partnership with local groups and businesses to deliver programs and activities at the Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground in order to achieve our purpose at the Courtney’s SandCastle Universal Playground.