DARKE COUNTY – First grade students from nine Darke County schools connected with nature this week during The Light Project’s kick-off event for the 2018-19 school year.
Chenoweth Trails – the Light Foundation’s 400-plus acre facility near Greenville – hosted students from Ansonia, Arcanum, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Greenville, Mississinawa Valley, Montessori School of Greenville, Tri-Village and Versailles for the kick-off event.
“We hope that they learn to engage with nature and get outdoors and kind of disconnect from the world and technology,” Light Foundation Program Director April Brubaker said. “We hope to have them come out for Family Fun Days and as a family enjoy the outdoors.”
Arcanum, Bradford and Tri-Village students attended Wednesday’s session, Ansonia, Franklin Monroe, Montessori and Versailles students attended Thursday, and Greenville and Mississinawa Valley students attended Thursday’s session.
During their time at Chenoweth Trails students learned about outdoor safety, balanced rocks, decorated backpacks, toured yurts and participated in an Earth ball activity – all of which were designed to get them in touch with nature.
“I think they went great overall,” Brubaker said. “We had some issues with mosquitoes this morning so we pulled the groups in, kept them around camp, but other than that I think it’s been great.”
Leading the activities were high school students from Arcanum, Franklin Monroe and Greenville’s Careers with Children program.
“They all were wonderful,” Brubaker said of the high school volunteers. “I feel like it’s definitely adding value to our programs because you’re allowing the high schoolers to get out of their comfort zone and lead something, and then they’re mentoring these first graders coming in.
“They all had so much fun. They all three said they want to come back next year.”
The Light Project – named for an acronym for literacy, inquiry, getting outside, having fun and time spent with family – is a program through the Darke County Educational Service Center. It aims to get Darke County first graders interested in science and exploring the environments around them.
The Light Project has partnered with the Light Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Greenville native and three-time Super Bowl champion Matt Light. The Light Foundation utilizes outdoor activities to teach values of responsibility, accountability and hard work to youth.
The Light Project will host Family Fun Days throughout the year during which children and their families can enjoy activities together. The first Family Fun Day of the 2018-19 school year will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Chenoweth Trails pond. Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs from Wayne Lakes will be in attendance to assist with the event.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.