On October 17, 2018, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation accepted the Youth Engagement Award for its Kids in Parks program at the annual SHIFT Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Kids in Parks was recognized for engaging more than 450,000 children with the outdoors through a nationwide network of TRACK Trails and its Parks Prescriptions program, TRACK Rx.
At Kids in Parks, we love connecting kids and families to nature and helping our parks thrive. That’s why we were honored to recently learn that our program has been named an Official Selection for a Youth Engagement Award by the group SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow).
Check out these great coastal TRACK Trails this summer.
Every year, we dive into the statistics of the of the Kids in Parks program. The numbers tell a powerful story.
We don't know about you, but photos of snow make us incredibly happy. If you have a great photo of snow, we want to see it.
Dr. Olson Huff was awarded the 'Fostering New Horizons Award' at the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundations 20th Anniversary celebration for his work establishing and developing the Kids in Parks program.
As part of its Hike NC intiative, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is donation $100,000 to five nonprofits and Kids in Parks was selected as one! The more votes we get, the higher the percentage of the donation we will receive.
As Americans, it’s easy for us to recognize the issues surrounding children and their lack of connection to and interaction with nature here in the United States; but the problem of children disconnecting from nature is truly a global challenge. In March, Kids in Parks Director Jason Urroz attended the Salzburg Global Seminar’s session titled, “The Child in the City: Health, Parks, and Play,” to work with 50 leaders representing 23 countries to address the multiple facets of this important issue.
On April 23, the Kids in Parks program joined the National Park Service, National ParkRx initiative, and several other park prescription programs from across the country in celebrating the second annual National Park Rx Day. The annual ceremony takes place on the last day of National Park Week, and doctors nationwide prescribe the events to their patients to get them active outdoors and connect them with the health benefits associated with spending time in parks.
National Public Lands Day is on September 24th and we're really excited about it. Not only are public lands the reason programs like Kids in Parks can exist, but they are the public connection to the natural world. They are places we can go to see plants, animals, rocks, and history that we might not otherwise get to see. We can visit high peaks or deep canyons and everything in between. It's easy to take these places for granted.
The program’s original goal was to get kids and families to use the hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway as resources for their health. However, the program’s staff realized that kids and families who are inexperienced in outdoor recreation may not choose a national park as their first step into nature because, after all, “that’s where the bears are at!” As a result, the program created “gateway trails” in local parks, state parks and other public land locations that are closer to home. To rapidly expand the network, Kids in Parks partnered with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association to provide grants to install TRACK Trails in local parks throughout North Carolina.
On Sunday, April 24, a healthy crowd of kids and families gathered at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Asheville Visitor Center TRACK Trail to celebrate National Park Rx Day. The event was held in celebration of National Park Week and as the kick-off of the Kids in Parks program’s TRACK Rx materials.