by Laurie Driver
The Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District kicked off the “Every Kid in a Park” program at Greers Ferry Lake Sept. 18 with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy and 120 fourth graders from Heber Springs Elementary.
The new initiative gives every child in the United States the chance to explore and learn about America’s great outdoors. It will provide all fourth-grade students and their families with free admission for a full year to more than 2,000 federally-managed sites nationwide.
“We want to do what the President has been encouraging all of us to do – get outside and enjoy the national resources that we’re so fortunate to have in this country, and fourth graders are a good age to start,” said Darcy.
The new initiative allows fourth graders and their families to spend the day at a federal recreation area for free.
A primary goal of the Every Kid in a Park initiative is to bridge the growing disconnect between the next generation and the great outdoors, and to inspire children to become future stewards of our nation’s natural and historic treasures.
“Just like we did today at Greers Ferry Lake the Every Kid in the Park initiative will connect kids to their local parks, so they can continue to take advantage of all that our outdoors has to offer,” said Darcy. “Millions of children visit Army Corps of Engineers parks with their families and classrooms each year, and this initiative will help introduce millions more to the joys of recreation, education and our nation’s water resources.”
Fourth graders can visit the “Get Your Pass” section of the Every Kid in a Park website at www.everykidinapark.gov and complete a fun educational activity to obtain and print a personalized voucher for unlimited use at federal lands and waters for one year. Passes are valid from Sept. 1, through Aug. 31, 2016. The paper voucher can be exchanged for a more durable interagency annual fourth grade pass at certain federal sites. The Every Kid in a Park website also provides information on tips for trip planning and how parents and educators can get involved.