“Imagine a playground in which a wheelchair-bound child could safely play in a treehouse.” That was the vision pitched to the Lititz Church of the Brethren in 2017 when Pastor Eric Landram proposed building a fully-inclusive community playground in their backyard.
Courtney Richie knew she wanted to be a part of that vision and volunteered to join the committee. She took on a leadership role, working with the company Play by Design for a community designed, funded, and built playground. The team sought ideas from local children, raised funds from local families and businesses, and oversaw 550 volunteers on a two-week build in 2020. Through it all, Courtney was a driving organizational force to help direct a major team effort with massive community involvement.
As the Chair of the non-profit Tree House of Lititz Foundation, Courtney and the team pushed through challenges, delays, and a pandemic to see the project through to completion. On October 24, 2020, children of all abilities entered a playground with wheelchair-accessible swings, ramps, and other play spaces. They found a tree house, ziplines, static-free slides and safe rubber surfaces throughout the facility. The Tree House of Lititz stands as a true community gathering place—one where everyone is welcome.
A former high school Spanish teacher, Courtney (along with her very supportive husband Dave) has two children, Adam and Leah. She holds a BA in Spanish from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s in Education from Penn State.
The Emerald Hometown Hero award was created in 2015 in partnership with Lancaster Barnstormers to recognize and honor outstanding individuals in our local community who have worked to make Lancaster and our world a better place through hard work, inspiration, sacrifice and leadership.