22 23 www.htcinc.net | Fall 2017 Fall 2017 | www.htcinc.net Proudly serving Horry & Georgetown counties for over a decade (843) 235-8082 waccamawcooling.com Savannah’s Playground: Providing a little slice of harmony to Horry County It’s hard not to love 21-year-old Savannah Thompson. With her captivating smile and effervescent energy, this former HTC REEL Kids award winner seems to be friends with half of Horry County. Coastal Carolina University sports fans may recognize her as the one who rallies Teal Nation with fervor. A dedicated supporter of Chanticleer sports, Savannah has Williams syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a variety of medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning challenges. But those unique challenges are typically balanced by keen verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music. Inspired by and named for Savannah, local recreational facility Savannah’s Playground provides the community with innovative equipment, interactive activities and — most importantly — a space where everyone is equal. Like Savannah, the playground is friendly to all who visit. And also like Savannah, it is bright, inviting and fun. Located by the lake in The Market Common, it’s what’s called an “enabling playground,” and it features ADA-approved playground equipment and structures specifically designed to provide children of all abilities the opportunity for social interaction. The ramps are wider and have more traction than the norm, the knobs and games are at wheelchair level, and soft flex-play pads have been installed under the equipment. The park is intended to create a barrier-free, bias-free environment for locals and visitors who are physically challenged, developmentally challenged or neurotypical. In other words, all are welcome here. The playground symbolically unites the community and literally levels the playing field; moreover, it offers opportunities for people like Savannah to play side-by-side with others in a space that accommodates their special needs. If you’ve ever gone for a jog around the lake in The Market Common, you may have noticed the happy tinkling of the park’s xylophones. That’s thanks to “Harmony Musical Park,” which includes a variety of mellow instruments that can be enjoyed by people on the autism spectrum or those with hypersensitive hearing. The playground also includes a modern take on a zipline, responsive play equipment and more. Planned future additions, such as a splash park and a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier, depend on the generosity of the community — upwards of $700,000 is still needed to complete the playground’s next phase. Sadly, not everyone respects the value and significance of this playground. Since its opening in 2015, the park has been vandalized. Twice. HTC decided to help lift the cloud shadowing the bright rays of Savannah’s Playground by installing security cameras to help prevent future incidents. HTC is proud to donate expertise and services that help ensure a fun, safe environment that our community’s children can enjoy for years to come. Socially endearing, accepting of everyone, passionate and pure of heart — it seems Savannah and her peers with Williams syndrome have it figured out, after all. Because maybe a little music and a few more smiles is exactly what our world needs. The Market Common 3640 Emmens Ave., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Help Savannah’s Playground reach its fundraising goal, which will bring future plans for this innovative and inclusive project to fruition. Your donation could help make the next phase of Savannah’s Playground a reality, build new opportunities for friendships and create more laughter along the Grand Strand — and what could be a better legacy than that? DONATE TODAY www.savannahsplayground. org/donations/ #1 FOR INDOOR COMFORT Former HTC REEL Kid Savannah Thompson with HTC CEO Mike Hagg.