While researching a blog post for Visit Hendricks County recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the superintendent of Hendricks County Parks & Recreation, William Roche.
During our conversation, he enlightened me about some programs that Hendricks County Parks & Rec offers for schools and for Scouts.
While I was aware that they offer programs for Scouts, William explained that they have revamped their Scouting program.
I was completely clueless as to the programs offered to Hendricks County schools.
It all seemed like information that Villagers might like to know about, so pull up a chair.
I'm an Eagle Scout, and one of my daughters is in Girl Scouts, so we've been out to McCloud Nature Park, just outside North Salem, in the past for Scouting programs. Typically, my daughter spends a few hours at the park with her troop, and they earn a particular badge that is specific to that particular age and gender of Scouting.
Here's where Hendricks County Parks & Rec is changing things up this year.
Now the Scouting programs are themed, so that both boys and girls, in a variety of ages, can attend the same program and work toward their respective badges. Scouts may not complete their entire badge in one day, but they'll make good progress, and a lot more Scouts can be served at once this way.
For example, on Sunday, March 15 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., there will be a Scouting program on Conservation at Sodalis Nature Park, southeast of Plainfield. The interactive activities at this program help fulfill Daisy Scouts' Rose and Green petals; Tiger Scouts' Reduce, Reuse, Recycle elective; Wolf Cub Scouts' Your Living World achievement; and Webelos Scouts' Outdoorsman badge.
Pretty neat, huh?
They have another Scouting program on Sunday, April 12 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at McCloud Nature Park. Those interactive activities about Fun & Games help fulfill Brownies' Fair Play badge and Make a Game badge; Wolf Cub Scouts' Play a Game elective; Bear Cub Scouts' Games, Games, Games achievement; and Bear Cub Scouts' American Indian Life elective.
Pre-registration for these Scouting programs is required, and the cost is $10 per kid, whether s/he is a Scout or a sibling.
All Scouts who complete a Scouting program will also receive a special McCloud Nature Challenge badge!
If you're a Scout leader or have a kid in Scouts, you'll want to check out Hendricks County Parks & Rec's Scout Programs web page for more information.
Hendricks County Parks & Rec has two great educational opportunities for students in Hendricks County schools: field trips and Environmental Outreach Programs.
On field trips, students go to a park. In Environmental Outreach Programs, the park comes to the students.
Hendricks County Parks & Rec offers field trips to McCloud Nature Park and to Sodalis Nature Park that can cover one of nine different educational topics: geomorphology, aquatic ecology, meteorology, rocks and minerals, tree transformation, wild ecology, parkeology, insects, and birds.
These aren't field trips where the kids are simply turned loose to run wild. No, these trips meet or exceed a wide variety of Indiana Academic Standards.
A naturalist leads the first hour or two of the field trip, depending on the topic, and then teachers are encouraged to continue exploring the park after the program is over. Kids can have a picnic lunch at the park before heading back to school.
Environmental Outreach Programs are conducted during winter months -- specifically, from November through February. It's too late for this year, but parents, educators and school administrators: keep this in mind for next winter!
Naturalists come to a particular school and spend about 30 minutes in a classroom, ranging from three to five classrooms per visit. They bring nature alive for students through topics such as owls, honeybees, the food chain, and butterflies and moths.
As with the field trips, the outreach programs meet or exceed several Indiana Academic Standards.
Oh, and the cost for these Hendricks County school programs? Absolutely free.
To learn more about Hendricks County Parks & Recreation's school field trips and Environmental Outreach Program, click here.
Be sure check out everything else that Hendricks County Parks & Recreation has to offer OUR KIDS!
Hendricks County Parks & Recreation
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