Smile on their faces and dirt under their fingernails: Boys and Girls Club of Canada explore Ontario’s Greenbelt
September 16, 2019
This year, the Greenbelt Foundation, Park People and the Boys and Girls Club of Canada partnered to get children and youth into nature through the Into the Greenbelt Program.
This partnership gives young people from the Boys and Girls Club of Canada the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Ontario’s Greenbelt through fun and educational day-trips. We were happy to provide a $400 bursary to regional clubs to help underwrite the travel and programming costs of a day-trip out of the city.
I had the opportunity to tag along with a Club from Durham as they explored Brooks Farms and the experience was pure joy. With a 10-acre barnyard playland onsite, Brooks offers a ton of exploratory play opportunities for children including straw climbing structures, a giant sandbox, farm animals and a tractor-pulled train tour of the farm. When I arrived, the campers were fully immersed in activities. Some flocked to feed the chickens, goats and cow while others swung from tire swings, dug in the sand, or hurtled along a zip line. The laughter, excited shrieks and singing could be heard from the parking lot. These kids were having some serious fun on the farm!
Parker, a seasoned Boys and Girls Club councillor, told me: “Campers that don’t usually participate in our regular activities are fully engaged, excited, interacting and having fun! It’s amazing!”.
Just at that moment one of the campers ran up with a big smile and wrapped his arms around her legs. I asked him if he’d been to a farm before and he said “no, but I want to come back. My brother would like goats!”. He then ran off to join the rest in line for the train.
I smiled to myself and watched them board the train. They broke into a camp song about Yogi Bear and rolled off to explore the fields. Smiles on their faces and dirt under their fingernails. I left the farm feeling happier and proud that the Into the Greenbelt program provided an opportunity for those 25 kids to be outdoors for the day and have fun.
This year, eleven bursaries were awarded to local clubs. There are still a few spots available for the Fall. Visit our website for full program details or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.