The Chase Kraynick Pay It Forward Splash Park was officially opened in Canora recently
“It has been a whirl wind of activity to get where we are today. And let me tell you there has been a lot of it. For anyone who knows our family, sitting back and watching things happen … doesn’t work. We are a get-up-and-go bunch who put our noses to the grindstone and make things happen. So many people have been a part of all that has been happening behind the scenes, physical labour and work at the park, writing grants, applying for donations, blogging stories, fundraising, voting with AVIVA, paying it forward, wishing, hoping, and dreaming — All to get where we are today,” said Shawna Stangel, Chase’s auntie.
Chase’s mother Rachel Kraynick said the park is a commemorative to a little boy who taught his family much.
“Two years and two months ago our lives forever changed when we lost our sweet, blonde haired, blue eyed little boy Chase. It is a pain so unimaginable, so indescribable and at times felt so unbearable. But this little boy was no regular little boy. Chase was a boy full of love, life and unending energy. He taught us so many things and left us with so many wonderful memories that it is undeniable that he will never be forgotten. One of the lessons he taught us was the Lesson of ‘Paying it Forward’,” she said.
“Let me take a moment to share with you the definition of this phrase. Paying it Forward means doing a random act of kindness or generosity for a complete stranger and not expecting anything in return. It means using your time, talents and energy to give to others expecting nothing in return. Now according to this definition, it sounds like you are encouraged to do all the giving, but surprisingly when you do, it has the opposite effect. Because what happens is that you end up getting so much more in return. It may be in the form of satisfaction, comfort, love or compassion. But whatever it is you get in return, it far outweighs what you gave.”
The loss while deeply felt, also fired the family to do something to remember Chase by within the community.
“When we lost Chase, we knew we would never get over his death … but we needed to find a way to get through it,” said Kraynick. “To us there was no better way than to find ways to pay it forward. It’s funny how when you are at your weakest moments in life, you seem to be your strongest. Speaking for myself, I needed to keep busy and thankfully our family supported all efforts to do that. To keep our mind off the obvious fact that we lost our son, we needed to find a way to keep his spirit alive in the present.That is when we came up with the idea of building a project that the entire community could enjoy… a place where everyone could make special memories with their friends, family and the people they love.”
Kraynick said they wanted to create a space that:
• Was directed at children- for local daycares, the nursery school, the elementary school, parents and tots groups, tourists, and all the families in our community to use
• We wanted a project that would accommodate Canora’s growing population and increasing school enrollment
• We wanted to offer a positive, barrier free activity for all kids in our community
• We wanted to encourage physical activity in youth and promote healthy lifestyles
“But, most importantly, we wanted a project that told the story of our little boy who we love and adore so much. We wanted Chases’ spirit to live on. That is why we chose a splash park. Each of the components on this pad have been specifically chosen and carefully selected to reflect the hobbies, interests, and talents of our Chase. There are three themes to the park — a sports theme, a wildlife theme and of course a farming theme,” she said.
Kraynick said the project came together quickly as a work of passion.
“Now; wanting to make our dream of building a Splash Park in memory of Chase and actually following through from start to finish seemed like a daunting task. We began to do some investigating and found out the total cost of this project would was estimated to be $350,000 + GST. Granted we did have some seed money that was used from Chases Memorial Fund, but it was not anywhere near that amount,” she said. “We were, however, determined to make it happen. We didn’t know if it would take us three-years or 13-years, but we figured we would begin fundraising, writing grant applications, selling pumpkins, or whatever we could do to secure the funds, and if necessary, size back our ideal project according to what was raised.
“However, this wasn’t the case. Do you know why?
“Because of all of you! Each and every one of you here today are here to support us, yet again, in our efforts to turn this dream into a reality. Somehow whether it was through organizing a fundraising event, voting for us in the AVIVA competition, donating to the project directly, giving your time, expertise and talents to help us physically build the park, or simply encouraging others to support us … you all played an integral role in the project and made it happen in a mere 11 months …
“That is all that it has been since we first began!! Unreal? Actually “unbelievable” is a word we’ve been hearing a lot of lately! This project has demonstrated the power of community, collaboration, faith, determination, and of course paying it forward in so many ways. It stands here today as a testament to so many people who were instrumental in its development ... from the front lines to the behind-the-scenes we are grateful to so many.”
While open, Stangel said work remains to put the finishing touches on the spray park.
“The splash park you see today is not the same splash park you will enjoy by the end of this summer. As you can tell, it is still unfinished. We did, however, wish to make it operational as soon as possible, so that families and children in Canora and area could begin enjoying it for the summer. Over the coming weeks there is still much to do. Sod will be laid … beautiful metal picnic tables, benches, garbage cans, and bike racks will be installed. There will be evening lighting added to this area to ensure safety for all. Trees and bushes will be planted to beautify the area and official signage will be mounted. The benches that will be installed are memorial benches which have been purchased by local families in the Canora area in memory of a loved one. This Splash Park will become a wonderful place of remembrance for many people as new memories are made by others.”