“In origami, the first folding should be done very well, so that the paper can stand. So it is in life. The children should receive a good education because if they do not have a good structure they cannot stand upright.” – Kazuko Horiuchi
Fold by fold, Rydley Strong, a Boy Scout from Troop 1830, based in North and Central Kitsap, has been working on his Eagle Scout Project – One Thousand Cranes for Hope.
Since July of this year, the 14-year old Poulsbo Middle School student has led a team of Scouts, local youth groups and family and friends to produce 1,000 origami paper cranes. Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network (BARN) also volunteered time, talent, and workshop space, in their Wood and Boatbuilding Studio, to help Rydley create a custom-made 3 foot by 5 foot shadow box to hold the cranes.
The idea for the “Senbazuru” display was inspired by a Japanese legend that promised that anyone who folds one thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Rydley did not have to think hard about where he wanted to donate the project. He reached out to Olympic Educational Service District’s (OESD) Early Learning Department to see if they might have space for his art display. Pictured at the top of this page, Rydley stands in front of the Senbazuru display with OESD's Director of Early Learning Kristen Sheridan and Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Susan Jung Lathrop.
OESD Early Learning Department provides access to high quality, comprehensive early learning and care services for children and families (prenatal to age 5) in Kitsap and North Mason Counties through Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program preschool programs and their Early Head Start home-based services. One of those children was Rydley himself.
“As a Head Start graduate, I experienced the support OESD Early Learning services provided children and families that needed it the most. I wanted to donate my art piece as a symbol of hope to the communities and families." ~ Rydley
Due to COVID, the art display is currently housed at the OESD headquarters off of National Avenue in Bremerton until the final destination of Givens Community Center in Port Orchard is again open to the public - especially the children and families at the heart of this project. Until then, the Early Learning Department employees are able to see the beautiful art piece each day and find hope in the work and the lives they are blessed to serve.
Children and their families are eligible for the OESD Early Learning program based on age and family income. They still have openings and are accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Families interested in services can contact (360) 478-6889 or apply online.