I’m writing this on Halloween so when you read it, Halloween will be history. And my recent trip to Arizona to meet my new granddaughter and see my 2-year-old grandson will also be history. But, reflecting on the excitement I know I will see in a few hours downtown with thousands of kids, parents and grandparents having great fun, and the thrill of recently getting to hold my 3-week-old granddaughter and play with my grandson, set me to thinking about the enrichment children bring to all of us in Edmonds.
Edmonds is slowly changing its demographic. Yes, we do have a valued reputation as a retirement community but, as any of us who have lived here awhile know, we are seeing more young families moving to the community and a growing population of children. Examples show up en masse at Halloween, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Easter Egg Hunt, 4th of July parade and fireworks and, during the summer, at Yost Pool and City Park Spray Pad.
While we expect youth at those large events, what I’m talking about is seeing children in Edmonds almost any time, anywhere. Younger new families are finding the community offers many of the amenities needed: schools, parks, waterfront, shopping and kid activities. Weekends we see more parents and kids all around and we would be hard pressed not to acknowledge the growing number of strollers in our community any day of the week!
Some of our Edmonds Public Schools continue to grow. I recently had a visit from a teacher at Sherwood Elementary wanting to know if we could expedite adding portables at her school if the district could come up with the funds. A school’s growth means younger children and more families. Things, they are a changing!
I recently had the privilege of judging the homecoming competition between the freshman through senior classes at Edmonds-Woodway High School. The energy and excitement of 1,600 students and staff in the gymnasium was amazing! It was so rewarding to see students working together, yet class against class. Talk about absolute fun!
Our shifting demographics show up there also. About half of the student body identify themselves as white, with the balance from a wide array of ethnic backgrounds. In addition to English and Spanish, 49 languages are represented at Edmonds-Woodway.
Twice in the last couple of weeks I have been reminded of the power of children. First, I participated in a fun evening at College Place Elementary as a guest reader, reading to elementary students. Seeing the power of books and reading was its own reward. The school is finding ways to engage students and parents in education and have fun.
And earlier this week I spoke to a group of Cub Scouts about the importance of citizenship. The scouts had great questions and were tuned in with interest. In both settings, parents were there to support and share in the joy of being parents and watching children learn.
With the cross section of experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I cannot but come away feeling inspired on many different levels. Halloween crowds to grandchildren to schools to teachers to youth to teenagers to parents, Edmonds has a bright future. We are in fact, in good hands.
— By Dave Earling, Mayor of Edmonds