Meeting Rachel Dody a couple years ago at the behest of a mutual friend was one of those ideas that seemed like a good start and probably a nice way to help promote something downtown Muskegon. A community of volunteers is what we’re best known for a Rachel was at the point of the “Downtown Street Performers” event on Friday nights and, ok let’s give it a boost.
Like most “blind dates” we met up outside to talk about what was going on, what people could see and participate in and why this form of art and entertainment was such a unique and fun way to attract people to Downtown Muskegon. Like most….I think Rachel may have wondered, even if just a little bit about this “Andy guy” and hey…that’s one of my signatures. We did the whole “who what where” and off we went.
The next year came and while the wondering subsided and the ease of talking came in a little more, Rachel started to show a little more of what was hiding back there. She’s got a psychology degree. A masters in health administration and a passion for community organizing. Who looked like someone who pulled in some musicians, mimes and balloon animal people was right here in front of me and she’s sharpening her skills with these events and if I stick around, I bet there’s a lot more to this story that will show itself.
The news leaked a week or so ago, and with the cat out of the bag…some shifting had to happen in the timeline of events, but all Rachel was building toward should come to be in a couple of short years if all the pieces fall into place and that would be a children’s museum in grand haven to be used by all of the communities along the lakeshore to enhance the learning and growing experience for both kids and families. A children’s museum is so much more too.
The congregate setting of the children’s museum not only provides the environment for the youngins…it gives a community a destination for young parents to take kids to do something that has an incredible educational benefit to it that the kids might not see coming and a chance to observe aptitudes and what inspires kids…but it also gives parents a chance to see something they might not notice elsewhere. Parents can see that they are not alone in the endeavor of raising kids. That feeling that there are others sharing the uphill climb of fostering the next generation of intelligent, considerate and kind people and that the parents are not isolated in that…that’s gold…and that’s where the payoff comes from having the founder well versed in psychology, medical administration and more.
Rachel and I met up at Tanglewood park to talk about what it took to get here and what the next couple of years will be until the doors open. Take a listen.
It's a ways off and that's ok. This is a peek at some of the work that goes into something and we're showing you this in advance for a reason. Quite often, an opening of something like a children's museum seem like it "just happened". Like any major endeavor, there's an awful lot of work that goes into it before even a location is picked and there's also a lot of experience required to make something happen. It takes the drive and determination of more than one discipline and the ability to try things in ways that might not seem like the perfect, but help you build the skills set to get to where you want to be. It can't hurt to have a mind open enough to see that a path that's a little different where your skills set can be applied might be the best route for not only you, but the generations to follow. We'll keep a sharp eye on Rachel as she and her team go to work on bringing a much needed and very big contribution to us all.