Metroparks Meetup: Summer Connection Camps

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 7:24 PM EDT
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It’s summer camp season and for a few years now the Toledo Metroparks have been hosting daytime “connection camps” for area youth that typically wouldn’t be able to go to a summer camp. It gives them the opportunity to learn about the outdoors while being out in it and enjoying it.

“This year we have 700 kids coming over several weeks,” said Metroparks Spokesperson Scott Carpenter. “We’re based at Pearson Metropark, but today, as a field trip day, we’re at Side Cut in Maumee, where they’re going to do kayaking, canoeing and archery.”

For safety and easier instruction by the Toledo Metroparks staff, the kids split into small groups for each activity. These connection camps are also completely free for the kids and their families. They’re funded by generous donors, the Metroparks Toledo Foundation and other fundraising efforts.

There is also Kirsten’s Cup which is a sustainability effort launched by long-time Toledo Metroparks Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Felica Clark, whose daughter Kirsten had a deep love for the Toledo Metroparks before she passed away last year.

“One of the ways that we wanted to remember her was by some of the things that she led, that she believed in and she championed,” said Clark. “And recycling and being a conservationist was something that was important to her.”

Donations to Kirsten’s Cup have totaled $16,000 so far, and the money goes to support sustainability initiatives. While in school, Kirsten was a substitute teacher and taught kids at her church, so the fundraiser named in her honor really comes with a lasting lesson.

“We want to make sure that folks start doing this at home, to recycle and pick up behind themselves and to buy products that are recyclable, because that’s one thing Kirsten taught us to do,” added Clark.

If you’d like to donate to Kirsten’s Cup, you can do so here.

If you’re interested in enrolling youth in one of the connection camps, click here for more information.