Today my son reminded me why we moved to Chelan in the first place. Yes, the spectacular scenery, 50+ mile long lake, recreational opportunities and sunny climate are all a bonus, but they aren’t the reason we moved to Lake Chelan.
We lived in the Everett/Mukilteo area before we moved to Chelan over a dozen years ago. Our lives were set up pretty well, even though there were traffic and crowds, our commutes were on side streets and about 10 minutes. We had beautiful views, things to do, lots of friends and a great life there.
But it wasn’t ideal for our son, Turner. Schools were an issue. He was bullied and mistreated at school. The schools weren’t interested in working with the way he learned and to get what we needed would take an adversarial approach.
But the problems went further than the schools. The area was populous enough, that anonymity was the rule so most people ignored our son, or worse were rude, would take advantage of him or bully him. Certainly not everybody was like that, but it was not uncommon.
Turner needed a better world to explore. So, we upended our lives and moved to Chelan. And, it was WORTH IT! Just because Turner is on the spectrum doesn’t mean he isn’t social. Of course he’s a social being!
Chelan has the small town environment we were seeking. While Turner doesn’t know everybody in town, he knows most of them. He’s a celebrity in town, who is valued for his quick smile and upbeat attitude. His enthusiasm and happiness are contagious and people everywhere engage Turner in a positive way.
The environment alone makes Chelan a great place for Ridgeview Place. But, when all that bonus stuff is factored back in, Lake Chelan, the inviting climate, and one of the most popular places in Washington for people to want to be; Chelan is perfect!
Turner gives back to the town too. Whether it is the Food Bank or the Fire Department, Turner is happy to do whatever he can to help out. Turner fits right in. It doesn’t take effort to create an inclusive environment, it just is an inclusive environment when you see the same people all of the time.
Chelan is big enough that there are things going on too. Turner participates in Special Olympics, loves to bowl, has learned to play guitar and has bands he can play with. Most every excavation company in town is friends with him.
Anonymity doesn’t exist in Chelan, at least not for long. The first night we moved into our new home in Chelan years ago, Turner had a melt down. He was screaming and rightfully a neighbor was concerned and called the police. So, we got to know the police right away. The interaction was great and Turner is now on a friendly, first-name basis with the first responders in the area.
When thinking of a place that your family member with a developmental disability can thrive, it takes not only a great home and work environment, but a community that will embrace and support them. So, if you come to check out Ridgeview Place, spend some time checking out the town as well.
As for us, tomorrow is the annual St Patrick’s day Dog Parade. Everybody knows Turner loves dogs. He will be busy saying hello to his human and canine friends, and then probably ride with his buddies in one of the Fire Engines. Half of the town participates in the two-block long parade and the other half cheers them on! Have a great weekend, we will!