July 14, 2017
Every Kid in a Park – Youth Blog Series, Post #1
Guest blog post by Ben T., rising 4th grader, Arlington, VA
Ben T. is a rising 4th grader at Ashlawn Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting students who have used, or gearing up to use, their Every Kid in a Park pass. Ben was interviewed by Isabel Argoti, Every Kid in a Park Community Assistance Fellow with OAK and the National Park Service.
Did you know you could get a special park pass as a 4th grader that gives you free entrance to parks for you and your family? How does that make you feel?
Ben: “Yes, I read about it in a National Geographic Kids article. It makes me feel awesome because I like to see new places and get outdoors. I also want to visit some of our famous National Parks.”
What parks have you already visited?
Ben: “I haven’t yet visited a National Park, but I have seen Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and I live very close to the National Mall so I’ve been there. I’ve also visited Frederick Douglass’s home in DC, which was really cool.”
What is your happiest memory in visiting these sites?
Ben: “I have two… I was Frederick Douglass for my 3rd grade “wax museum” project and visiting his home really made it all come to life for me. The other was taking a Navajo-guided tour of Canyon de Chelly. I learned a lot, but also got to ride in a jeep through streams and mud!”
Are there other places outdoors you’d like to visit with your Every Kid in a Park pass? Are you excited to receive an Every Kid in a Park pass next school year?
Ben: “I hope to visit Shenandoah National Park, as well as places not too far away like Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia. But, I’d REALLY like to see someplace like Yellowstone or Denali! I’m looking forward to having my own park pass, yes!”
What are your favorite activities outdoors?
Ben: “Hiking, camping, exploring… but I also love to play sports, too. I just enjoy being outside with my friends.”
Do you plan on telling your friends and family about the pass? If so, who?
Ben: “Yes… I’ve already told my Mom and Dad, and a few of my school friends know about it, too. I’ll be sure to tell my teacher about it as soon as school starts up again. But, for now, I’m enjoying my summer break.”
OAK is seeking testimonials from children, parents, caregivers and teachers to share the impact of the Every Kid in a Park program. If your organization is planning an Every Kid in a Park event (or has already completed one), please help share the impact of the outdoor experience by encouraging youth participants to fill out the “I love my Every Kid in a Park pass because…” postcard and send it to OAK!