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From the Field: Getting Outdoors in Addison

March 06, 2017
From the Field: Getting Outdoors in Addison

By: Clara Carroll, Addison County Parent Child Center

Over the past few years, the Addison Country Parent Child Center has offered a weekly “outdoor group” for participants in our Learning Together Program, who are young parents working to enhance their employment skills and finish their education.  For some, this is a physical education or elective credit they need to complete high school, but gradually this class has gained traction and includes most of our Learning Together participants. Outdoor group activities include ice-skating, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, soccer, and rock climbing.

For most of our participants, these activities are brand new and require them to stretch beyond their comfort zone. Many outdoor activities have traditionally been unavailable to our youth due to the cost of equipment, access to instruction, and lack of exposure to the activities.  We hope that through participating, we help break down some of those barriers for 

This week, we had our group up at the Middlebury Snow Bowl where participants were strapping on skis and snowboards for the first time and challenging themselves to use new parts of their bodies and experience the joys and frustrations of sliding down the hill! It is always so inspiring to see how participants move through the frustrating parts and gain confidence and pride as they get better each week, many of them going up the lift for the first time.

Participants have provided feedback again and again about how spending time outside participating in physical exercise in a supportive environment has improved their mental health, feelings of self-worth and accomplishment and inspired them to explore outside with their kids!   We hope that through creating opportunities for them to participate in these kinds of activities now, they will bring those joys and experiences back to their growing families and keep everyone getting outdoors.