By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

An exceptional day at the museum

But thanks to the museum’s Reaching For the Stars program, her Saturday at the museum with Travis and Nathan was immensely educational and still chock-full of fun.

“This was a really great experience,” said Kombs, a Sheridan resident. “They wanted to touch every airplane.”

It was the third year for Evergreen’s annual Reaching for the Stars event.

Designed for people with physical or developmental disabilities, and their families, it was billed as  “A Special Day for Exceptional People.” It featured reduced admission of $5, along with a number of hands-on workshops, exploration tables, paper rockets and a hot air balloon.

The program also included a group of special guests: Star Wars re-enactors from the Cloud City Garrison 501st Legion and the Kashyyyk Base Rebel Legion. Several organizations hosted informational booths, including Autism Speaks, Team Shine cheerleading, Special Olympics of Oregon and the Providence Health Care Center of Newberg.

“Overall, you can see that everyone is having fun,” said J.R. Pollnow, education outreach coordinator for the museum.

Pollnow conceived the idea of Reaching for the Stars, an event he describes as still evolving. It attracted nearly 1,000 participants in its third year.

“Overall, we have had great feedback,” Pollnow said. “I wanted this day to be one where they can truly just be one in the crowd.”

That was one of the positives for Kombs.

“I don’t have to worry much about one of them darting in front of people,” she said. “Everyone around here is more understanding.”

Kombs liked that the event drew people with a wide range of disabilities, and across an age spectrum ranging from toddler to elderly.

Melissa Grace, director of marketing and special events, said the success of the event has the museum planning to stage it twice a year instead of just once. She said the next one will probably be held sometime over the summer.

“It’s a fun day for everyone,” Grace said.


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