Log in Newsletter

A Pirates Life | By Kelly Twedell


Shiver me timbers, a troupe of tumbling pirates will roll into town this Dogwood Festival. It’s enough to make Jack Sparrow jealous or at least the grownups accompanying pint-sized visitors to the Partnership’s KidStuff. For the seventh year, the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County will host the children’s area. Past exhibits have included a traveling zoo, magic shows and clowns. This year, the Partnership brings a lovable gang of acrobatic stunt pirates complete with pirate lore (and pirate clichés, ahoy!). Maureen McKeon, communications manager for the Partnership for Children, says it’s a fun way to bring serious information and resources to families with young children. McKeon said more than 8,000 families with children made their way through last year’s exhibit with 1,800 children visiting the Toddler Zone alone. Even the youngest tots are welcome in the Toddler Zone complete with sand and water tables, games, plus a crawling area for infants and Rock-a-Bye Baby nursing and diaper-changing areas featuring changing tables and rocking chairs. Organizers even include the wipes and hand sanitizer. These attractions are free, from the pirate shows to an inflatable pirate ship sure to be the hit of the Toddler Zone. The Buccaneer includes an obstacle course and 10-foot slide, along with 31 other bouncers and rides, all sponsored by Michael’s Amusements, a company based in Fayetteville. Michael and Sherri Reisinger have supported the Partnership’s KidStuff for the past three years because they value the community’s families and young children. “The staff at the Partnership for Children truly care; it’s not about publicity for them, and I appreciate that,” Michael Reisinger said. The Partnership for Children is the non-profit organization charged with implementing North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four school-readiness programs for children from birth to age five. The organization has a successful record of improving the quality of child care, parenting resources, access to health care and other support systems for children in Cumberland County. The mission is to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready for success. The staff believes that children learn best through play, especially when they are doing it with the significant adults in their lives, and they want to offer families a way to share those types of experiences with their children. “At the Partnership we believe that children are the future of our society and if we invest in them early it pays back in dividends,” said Donna Mansfield, chair of the Partnership for Children’s board of directors. “We are a support system for our community.”