Bringing the Great Outdoors to New Bedford and Fall River Streets
We all know the excitement of the ice cream man arriving in the neighborhood. The music could be heard for blocks as you ran home to get money for a treat.
That same feeling has been happening this summer on the streets in New Bedford and Fall River, but instead of ice cream, The Trustees have been serving up nature to the children using an EV mobile adventure van packed with free fun.
"Really, we just introduce kids to things that they could do on their own," says Jen Klein, an employee for The Trustees, "but kids just don't necessarily do these things on their own. It could be something as simple as looking for bugs in their neighborhood park."
Why Aren't Today's Kids Exploring Outdoors?
Kids obviously spend way more time on phones, iPads and game consoles than their parents did back in the '80s and '90s.
Some families don't feel like outside is a safe space, limiting access.
Lack of Exposure and Comfort
Nature is everywhere, but in urban areas, a lot of kids don't grow up in wooded, wild spaces. There's a little of that discomfort for the unknown surrounding nature. "They can come to a Trustees property and that's great, but I'd rather engage people where they live so that they can be exposed to these things right where they feel at home."
What's the Most Popular Item?
"Fort building. ]] Hands down," says Klein. "We have hundreds of sticks and branches that we've collected from our properties that we bring out. Kids get to build a fort out of sticks. They love it. They become budding engineers in the process. Without even realizing it, they are tapping into the whole science and engineering skillset."
Where is the Mobile Adventure Van Going Next?
The van will visit the Fall River Farmer's Market every Sunday for the rest of the season. It will also be at AHA! New Bedford on Sept. 8. The Trustees plan on continuing neighborhood stops in both Fall River and New Bedford through the end of October.