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CVNP offering free summer programs for youths

6/19/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Youths are shown taking part in bird watching during a past Get Up, Get Out and Go! program.
Photo: Joan Greenberg
GREATER AKRON — Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is inviting children ages 11 to 14 and their families to Get Up, Get Out and Go! this summer.

According to Brady Borquin, park ranger for CVNP, the summer program offers free outdoor recreational activities and music along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

“Get Up, Get Out and Go! is a program designed to provide youth and their families with safe, reliable, free and recreational experiences in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Summit Metro Parks and Cleveland Metroparks,” he said. “Our goal is to help youth and their families learn ways to use parks as a part of building a healthier lifestyle. Our hope is to provide folks with a chance to help develop a relationship with green spaces that will last them a lifetime.”

Events will take place from June 23 through July 24 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at various locations throughout CVNP, Cleveland Metroparks and Summit Metro Parks.

“We offer a wide variety of outdoor programs from fishing, biking, exploring the woods and riding on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad,” Borquin said. “Each evening is a little bit different. Mondays and Wednesdays are going to be programs that happen in the northern end of the park and/or Cleveland Metroparks. And then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, our target audience is everybody living more to the southern end of the park, in conjunction with Summit Metro Parks. Monday and Tuesday programs tend to be similar, and the same is true of Wednesdays and Thursdays.”

The program will kick off June 23 with a free ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

“We’re going to go south through the center of the national park, and from the train you get a great perspective of the park from the inside out,” Borquin said. “We will head through some low grassland areas and we’ll see some wooded areas and potentially some wildlife. We’ll also talk about the rest of the programs that will be happening throughout the summer.”

The train will depart from the Rockside Boarding Station, located at 7900 Old Rockside Road in Independence, at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to return by 9 p.m.

“Since it’s the first one and we’re getting things moving, I would suggest that people arrive between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., and no later than 6:45,” Borquin said. “That would allow us to get people on board the train, to get signed in and all of that good stuff.”

There are no costs involved in any of the programs for the participants, Borquin said.

“Formal registration is not required to participate,” he stated. “We encourage all youth and their families to come out and have fun. Participants just need to arrive at either the pickup locations or at the program locations, and we will provide any necessary equipment for that night’s activity, free of charge.”

Borquin said the CVNP has been offering this program since 2006 and each year it has grown in popularity.

“We have a good team of staff and volunteers to help facilitate all of our programs. So we have yet to come into a situation where we have hit a cap, per se,” he said. “The train ride is nice, for example, because we can accommodate several hundred people.”

According to CVNP officials, Get Up, Get Out and Go! is sponsored by CVNP, The Conservancy for CVNP, The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and The Cleveland Clinic. Campaign partners include the following organizations: Summit Metro Parks, Cleveland Metroparks, Slavic Village Development, YWCA of Greater Cleveland, Akron Public Schools and the Akron Recreation Bureau.

For more details, inlcuding on transportation and program locations, call 440-343-7035.

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