A running program intended to get kids exercising and experiencing the outside expanded to Guelph in the fall and is offering a free trial for its spring session.
Dontgetlost Adventure Running Kids is a 12-week program developed to promote physical fitness and to teach children orienteering skills.
Cassie Collins, Adventure Running Kids program manager for Guelph, said the focus of the program is to get kids out and active in the woods.
“We tell them to get muddy. We really want kids to feel comfortable and that enthusiasm for being in the outside environment,” said Collins.
Originally developed in Hamilton, Ont. by the not-for-profit Golden Horseshoe Orienteering, the program has expanded to eight communities in total, including Kitchener-Waterloo, Burlington, Niagara and Oakville.
The sessions take place in small loops, said Collins. “So you are always coming back — it doesn’t matter if you’re the faster kid or a slower kid, you’re all in the same area and won’t be left behind.”
In Guelph, sessions will be conducted at the Arboretum, Little Tract and Rockwood Conservation Area.
Kids participating in the sessions are given maps and learn orienteering skills, said Collins.
After its first session of 30 kids sold out in the in the fall, Collins said the program is adding a second session for the 12-week spring program.
In Guelph, the first session runs on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., while the second session runs 6:45 to 7:45 p.m.
The program can support up to 60 kids in total, 30 per session.
A free trial session is being offered on March 7 at the Arboretum. To RSVP for the free session, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The trial session offers kids a sneak peek at what to expect if they get signed up.
“We start out playing some games in the woods and introduce them to the maps that we use,” said Collins. “Then we work on navigation and helping kids to read the maps.”
Cost for the 12-week session runs from $105 to $140, depending on age. For more information, click here.
Collins said the program is operated as a non-profit and is always looking for volunteers. She notes that high school students can count their hours toward fulfilling their volunteer requirements.