I am just reading an article in Forssan Lehti about Leirikeskus. It so happens that I was there last summer before visiting the makkaramarkinat in Tammela. I was there because I had read that FSKK and HAMK were organizing an innovation competition about “What to do with Leirikeskus”. It was cold, but the sun was shining and I thought it would be a good day for a walk. So my wife and I parked out car at Hämeen Luontokeskus and asked the personnel on how to get to Leirikeskus. Big question marks in the eyes of the woman on the other site of the table. She had to look it up! Once found it turned out that it was a drive with the car over a muddy road or a few kilometers walk.
Leirikeskus is a dump!
We opted for the latter and made our way towards Leirikeskus. We crossed the water with a ponton that could be moved by pulling a rope. Very old fashioned, but fun. After a few hundred meters we found Leirikeskus. I took my camera and started to make pictures. At first glance the buildings seemed old fashioned, but in reasonable shape. However a closer look revealed that the place was actually a dump. It was like nobody had been there in the last ten years. The trees had grown without anyone to take care of them. I could imagine that the place had once full with school kids and scouts, but it seemed that it lost it's vigor long ago. Both the inside and the outside were not up to standards. Let's be clear. If you wanted to improve this place, you actually have put all the buildings down and rebuild them! That's not just a renovation, that is a new building project.
What would be needed to make that place into something attractive? I am not talking about reviving the place. It seems to me that when a place gets so deteriorated no one interested in keeping it up. So instead the question is “what can we build there that appeals to people”? A no hands tied to your back question.
I came up with several ideas, but I submitted only one to FSKK/HAMK. Later I heard through the grapevine that I was the only one to submit an idea, by rights I should have won the competition! Even so I did not get the impression that it was taken seriously. Should I have been taken seriously? That's what I want to ask you now. Because I think that any attempt revive the Leirikeskus like it is now, is doomed to failure.
Pustolovski Park in Bled
It so happened that we were that summer in Bled (Slovakia). Bled is a holiday resort. Both in winter and summer. I took a look in Pustolovski park. More or less by accident. It turned out to have a very nice obstacle course for families. And not just on land, but high up in the trees! My thought then, as it is now, is that it would be nice if we would such a thing in Forssa!
And actually when you take into account the environment of Leirikeskus it has a lot of possibilities. Leirikeskus is on a small peninsula (Niemi). There is a patch of water called Toralahti which is very suitable to all kinds of water activities. It is on this side of the water that the main activity should take place. On land there can be several obstacle trails in different levels of difficulty to conquer. It is possible to make a trail high up in the trees as long as you have good ropes attached. It's ultimate sports to conquer all the obstacles with your face full of mud until you reach the water. There some other challenges await you.
Back on shore you can change clothes again. Get coffee and pulla, pizza or pea soup. You also get a diploma for conquering the course. If you have made a good time your name will added to the hall of honor. In winter time the obstacle course cannot be held. Instead the restaurant can serve people who want to skate or ski.
Ninja Warrior (Sasuke)
The ultimate obstacle course is Sasuke. Sasuke consists of a great many obstacles that are almost impossible to do. In that case the whole operation changes from do-it-yourself attraction to a tournament spectacle. It is doubtful we can have such a big attraction around here, but one can dream.