No age group needs nature more than children. Studies consistently show that kids who spend time outdoors experience improved health and cognitive functions, reduced stress, and enhanced social skills. This is especially imperative for children who live in neighborhoods without much access to nature.
Momentum has given us the opportunity to reach children of all backgrounds in all communities and show them the wonders of the outdoors through both structured programs and unstructured play.
We have made investments to bolster existing programs for kids and families, such as expanding the number of summer camps we are running across the state, now at nine Trustees properties. We have also made investments in completely new endeavors, such as a new team at The Trustees designed to expand and diversify youth and family programming called Outdoor Experiences, as well as new infrastructure with the launch of a Trustees traveling engagement van—Mobile Adventures—and a nature-based playscape soon to be built at Copicut Woods in Fall River.
We’re also ensuring youth are engaged in our critical work on our coast, with the extremely successful Waterfront Ambassadors program and expanded Island Education Initiative on Martha’s Vineyard.
When we can get kids get outside, their natural curiosity and imagination are free to run wild. These early-life experiences make them lovers of nature, better outdoor citizens, and the future stewards of our irreplaceable landscapes.
- Through Momentum we launched four new day camps, two which teach kids about local agriculture at Powisset Farm in Dover and Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, as well as new Trustees camps at Rocky Woods in Medfield and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln.
- We revamped and relaunched our popular Hike Trustees program and introduced new curated hikes and activities to encourage families to get outside and explore the outdoors. Thousands of hikers have hiked tens of thousands of miles on Trustees properties since the relaunch of the program.
- Through a partnership with Martha’s Vineyard schools and community groups, we launched our Island Education Initiative in 2020, offering school-aged youth on the Vineyard a unique environmental educational experience. In the first two years of the program, we reached more than 1,500 students and teachers, established a youth coastal ambassador program, and engaged students at all eight of our Martha’s Vineyard properties.
- In 2020 we piloted new camping sites at Rocky Woods in Medfield to great success, and in 2021 we ran our most successful year of camping on record thanks in part to upgraded and expanded camping opportunities at Rocky Woods and Dunes’ Edge in Provincetown.
- We hired our first Director of Outdoor Experiences who will work to advance outdoor recreation opportunities and enterprises, including both large and small adventure playscape opportunities at numerous properties. The centerpiece of this work will be a best-in-class nature-based playscape soon to be built at Copicut Woods in Fall River.
- The Trustees has invested in a mobile engagement unit in the form of a Trustees-branded van to reach new audiences where they are, specifically in towns and cities that lack significant access to the outdoors. This van can be used to attend community events or festivals, run pop ups at community centers or local parks, and provide materials and equipment for smaller-scale outdoor nature play.
- The Trustees partnered with Big City Mountaineers to provide outdoor experiences and programs to youth in the Greater Boston area that lack robust access to nature. With guided hikes at Rocky Woods, kayak trips at Crane Beach in Ipswich, and overnight camping experiences at Dunes’ Edge and Tully Lake in Royalston, young people from Greater Boston are gaining an introduction to the transformative power of nature.
- We launched our One Waterfront Ambassadors program, a unique initiative that engages Boston youth through seasonal paid work experiences, job-readiness training, and education. In the first three years of the program, we employed dozens of youths ranging from ages 15 to 18 from Boston, Revere and Lynn for the summer, giving them opportunities to meet and work with community leaders and staff from local open space and harbor-focused non-profits.