Kids in Parks encourages families to hit the trails
Words: about 280; Time: 4.5 minutes
American kids spend just minutes each day staying outdoors and seven hours parked in front of electronic screens. That's not healthy. And it's a big reason 1 in 3 U.S. kids is overweight.
Kids in Parks, a program of outdoor family adventures (冒险), wants to change that. Kids can sign up for the free program and win prizes by visiting some of the program's 157 trails (路线). Kids in Parks was started in 2008 by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in North Carolina. Today it has trails in 10 states.
They're called TRACK trails. TRACK stands for Trails, Ridges, Activities and Connections for Kids.
Aiden Buchanan signed up a few months ago and has been on seven TRACK trails.
"It's good exercise, and it's fun for the family to do together," says Aiden, 8, who lives in Alexandria. "Sometimes we find live animals," Aiden says of the hikes (徒步旅行) that he and his little sister, Braylin, have taken. "I got to be up close with a salamander (火蜥蜴) … It was easy to take pictures of it."
Kids in Parks Director Jason Urroz says kids have had more than 370,000 TRACK adventures so far. More than 10 percent of those who sign up are first-time hikers, and more than 40 percent return.
While Kids in Parks encourages kids to enjoy nature today, it's also looking at the bigger picture. Urroz says:"If we don't get kids connected now, in the future when they grow up, who's going to stand up and say these places are important — not only to our health but to the environment, clean water and clean air?"
Aiden, for one. He hopes to be an environmental engineer someday, "cleaning up parks and neighborhoods."