Let’s take a journey to our days as youths (No Joe Pesci, it is not pronounced “yutes”). Going to school, learning the golden rule and experiencing what life had to offer. It was a time where we believed all that was told and our imagination was free to roam.
Director Mike Book has always been a kid at heart. He may have the gray hairs poking out the sides of his head, but he still has the imagination that many of us have lost through our years of adulthood. He is always looking for ways to not only educate the youngsters that visit the Harrison County Recreation Complex, but to equally make the experience fun.
We are in the beginnings of our Outdoor Adventures enrichment program. For those who have not been a part of the program or were unaware of the surroundings of the property, we offer a ½ mile interpretive trail that carries around 30 different species of trees as well as two classroom areas to teach about wildlife in West Virginia. We have had classes on Dendrochronology (tree-ring counting) and Forestry recognition.
This year, Book was approached by some staff employees with an idea about making the path an enchanted trail that tells a story about a young princess Adora who is having her 18th birthday and has to make it to the castle to celebrate on becoming the queen. Book fell in love with the idea from the beginning and had plenty of ideas to help guide the staff in the direction he envisioned.
“I thought it was a perfect idea for the younger kids who participate in our program,” Book said. “With the popularity of movies like the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and, of course, Harry Potter, a program like this would be fun. We have gnomes, a crystal ball and other various encounters on your walk through the area. In just our first week of the program, we have received a lot of positive feedback.”
The program has a variety of activities for the children to participate. Based on age appropriateness, we offer GPS geocache and compass reading, lifetime sports, a Smokey Bear visit, scavenger hike adventure and a classroom activity on Nature and Critters encounter. Book is confident in the quality of the enrichment as he explains.
“The programs this year might be the strongest collection we have offered. Our activity shelter will act as a classroom for our nature and insect class while our Pony Express program allows the kids to get a sense of how the mail was transported across the mid-west. You can do pretty much anything from roping a steer to fishing for bass during your visit here.”
For those who like to tote the pigskin around during the fall, do not forget our NFL Punt, Pass and Kick local qualifier this Sunday at the Summit Park Rec Complex. It is open to all kids between the ages of 6 and 15 and it is a free competition to participate. For more information, please contact the HCPR