Erik Appleberry, Mark Dettman, Aila Ikuse and Kate Merifield comprise our Fort Ward Youth Advisory Board, providing outreach and education on the community hall project to philanthropic and school groups.
All four are seniors-to-be at Bainbridge High School. We asked these young community leaders to share a bit about themselves.
What makes this project interesting to you? I’ve always been interested in the history of Fort Ward, and the bakery has been a part of island history for a long time, so I get to learn a lot while also preserving that legacy.
Why are you a member of the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Group? Sarah Lee asked me if I wanted to join the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Group, and I was more than happy to enlist, and help with this project. I originally joined as I thought this would make a great Senior Project, but WA State recently eliminated that requirement! I have enjoyed meeting local community leaders, receiving the Blakley Award and I want to see this project through to the end!
What is the best kept secret about Fort Ward? I think that the rich history of the fort is one of the best kept secrets. There are people who have been on the island for a long time, and didn’t know that (wartime) code breaking went on here.
What makes it fun or unique to live in Fort Ward? There are a lot of families with children living in Fort Ward, so it is very likely that you’ll see some kids out playing a game on the Parade Grounds, riding bikes on the Ft. Ward Park trails or finding secret trails in the park. When I was growing up, I could always find someone to hang out with.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I’ve become very interested in coding and computer science recently.
Why should people pledge money to develop the Fort Ward Community Hall? Like most projects, this one will take a lot of money to get completed, and it directly affects the Fort Ward community, as well as the whole island. When this project is done, Bainbridge Island will definitely get their money’s worth!
What makes this project interesting to you? I am helping preserve history in my own neighborhood and meeting incredible people along the way.
Why are you a member of the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Group? To help protect and save a historical landmark so future generations can enjoy it.
What is the best kept secret about Fort Ward? The hidden bunkers. (sshhhhhhh!)
What makes it fun or unique to live in Fort Ward? The isolation of living a good distance from town. It’s quiet here, especially at night.
What do you want to be when you grow up? An environmental scientist.
Why should people pledge money to develop the Fort Ward Community Hall? Our project hopes to work with the Bainbridge Parks Foundation and use their 501(c) (3) status so that any money we receive will be a tax deduction. Your pledge shows community support for this project and we need that for continued success.
What makes this project interesting to you? History has always been interesting to me, and growing up in such a historic area makes me wonder about the stories behind the buildings. Working on a project like this is my way of honoring the history that happened here.
Why are you a member of the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Group? I grew up in Fort Ward, and the neighborhood and the community are absolutely amazing. This project allows me to give back and do something good for future generations of this community. Also, this project has given me opportunities to work with community leaders and get some real life experience.
What is the best kept secret about Fort Ward? The plum trees by the beach….or the abandoned bunker that you have to climb down a rope to get to…..or the pear trees and blackberry bushes……or the gigantic Battery Nash. Basically, Fort Ward is awesome!
What makes it fun or unique to live in Fort Ward? The community. Bainbridge, in general, is safe and supportive, but our neighbors at Fort Ward have become more like family. We go on yearly vacations together and leave our house keys with each other. Where else would you find the same amount of community in a place as beautiful as Bainbridge? Also, the idea that you can just walk out of your house and see history is the coolest thing about Fort Ward.
What do you want to be when you grow up? An educated, responsible, productive and happy member of society. Besides that, I don’t know yet. Maybe an engineer, or a fearless business woman.
Why should people pledge money to develop the Fort Ward Community Hall? This is not just a south end project. It involves the entire island. Important island history happened here, and almost no one knows what happened. This project will finally give the south end a community hall, but also complete a string of historical jewels across the island.
What makes this project interesting to you? The astounding history drew my attention to this project, but what really motivated me to become a part of it is the vision Sarah Lee has and how much it could help this already awesome community.
Why are you a member of the Fort Ward Youth Advisory Group? I had an amazing childhood in this neighborhood but as a junior in high school I know I will be leaving soon. Working toward this goal almost feels like a parting gift to this community for all the great experiences it has given me.
What is the best kept secret about Fort Ward? It is hands down the best trick-or-treating destination on the island! Some usually go for neighborhoods in the North end, but their houses are farther apart and they usually stop giving out candy before we do.
What makes it fun or unique to live in Fort Ward? The amount of activity in this community is incredible. From bicycle and running groups to break-outs of sidewalk chalk gatherings and stick ball games. Whenever you walk out the door there is something going on.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Right now I am hoping to get a degree in applied or statistical mathematics and work in research and data analysis.
Why should people pledge money to develop the Fort Ward Community Hall? In Fort Ward, we already have such an active and supportive community, and a community hall would be a perfect way to celebrate it. Not only will it host lively sewer district meetings, it will be home to neighborhood potlucks, Scout meetings and hopefully the reinstatement of Popsicle Mondays in the summer months.