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Race the Park Challenge: New team event for middle schoolers

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on May 01, 2019 with No Comments

This spring pre-teens in grades 6-8, are invited to sign up a team for Race the Park Challenge, a new Lake County Parks program.

This is a venture born out of the Legacy Foundation’s On the Table discussions. In September of 2018 nearly 3000 people gathered across Lake County to discuss their community. Lake County Parks participated in On the Table and held conversations at four parks across the county. Throughout the conversations held at the parks, a common thread resurfaced: opportunities for middle school-aged youth to access safe, non-sports-driven, outdoor recreation were scarce in comparison to what existed for younger children and adults.

Lake County Parks staff put their heads together and developed Race the Park Challenge, a new program especially for children ages 11-14. Funding from a Legacy Foundation Community Action Award will help bring the program to life this spring.

The Challenge will take place at two Lake County Parks this spring on back-to-back Friday evenings. Race the Park Challenge: Lemon Lake will be held on Friday, May 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lemon Lake County Park in Crown Point. Race the Park Challenge: Oak Ridge Prairie will follow on Friday, May 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Oak Ridge Prairie County Park in Griffith.

Middle school-aged youth will sign up as teams (pre-registration is required and space is limited) and follow clues to race through the park. Along the way they’ll have to overcome various obstacles and complete challenges that will make them think, work together, get a little messy, and show them parts of the park they may never have explored before. Oversized Jenga, muddy toad rescues, blindfolded sports, and an unexpected amount of pudding will keep teams laughing and moving as they race to the finish line.

Navigating through middle school is a unique, and often confusing, transitional time, and young people in 2019 are faced with many opinions on who they should be and how they should behave. Race the Park Challenge looks to provide a break from that pressure, giving young people a unique experience outdoors that allows them to be their goofy, uninhibited selves.

There is limited space available. Middle schools should gather their teams and call Lake County Parks at 219-769-7275 to register.

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