The Autumn Ramp Park in Joplin, Missouri, closed its doors recently. John Andrus was on hand to film one of the final sessions at the park with the locals. To round out the story, we asked the ex-park director, Jeremiah Anderson, to share a couple words about the six years he spent at the park…
"I am honored to have the opportunity to write something in memory of Autumn Ramp Park. I had the privilege of being the director of Autumn and JoMoPro from the beginning in 2006 through December of 2012. If there is one thing that can be taken away from the closing of Autumn it is the reality that very few things in this world are certain or eternal. Autumn Ramp Park became a reality in April of 2006 when Bridge Ministries went from a small rented warehouse to the amazing facility that many of you had the opportunity to enjoy. Autumn is probably best known in the BMX world for JoMoPro, the annual BMX event that we hosted every year until 2010. But Autumn really existed for a less glamorous yet a far more eternal purpose. Those of us who dedicated ourselves to the daily tasks of running Autumn did it because we love kids. More importantly, we love Jesus and want to see people come to know the forgiveness, peace and freedom that comes from being transformed by Jesus. Autumn was an amazing park and JoMoPro was a great event, but all the time, energy and cash that was pumped into Autumn was not to see BMX and skateboarding grow, but rather to see lives changed.
As the news that Autumn was closing got out I received countless emails, phone calls and text messages from people whose lives had been impacted, not by BMX or an amazing facility, but rather by people who cared. If you ever visited Autumn or JoMoPro I hope you left feeling cared for and valued, because that was our desire. I think that is what made Autumn special. There are lots of reasons to open a park or put on a contest, but if the motivation isn’t a true love for people and wanting the best for people then it will always feel like there is something missing.
Autumn was always more than a building with ramps, it was and is a family, a family that isn’t going away just because the building is going away. I can’t comment on all the reasons that Autumn is no longer open because last year I left the organization to take a job at a local church, but I can say with confidence that God used Autumn to change lives. Most things in life are temporary, relationships come and go, buildings come and go, even our ability to ride a bike isn’t certain, but the work that God did through Autumn and the lives that were transformed is eternal. Nobody can take that away." —Jeremiah Anderson