Future Stewards of Forest Park
At almost every FPC event, rain or shine, my kids are there --- running around, helping where they can and trying to understand WHY we do what we do. As a result, they have become embedded in the culture of volunteer stewardship, deeper than I ever could have wished for.
When I asked what my son, Porter, what he wanted to do for his 7th birthday, he said, “Mom, I want to have a volunteer trail work party and invite my friends to give back to the environment”. So, we gathered our family and friends and spent a beautiful September Saturday morning clearing the trails of Forest Park so he could show them how “cool Forest Park is”.
Instead of balloons, clowns and party favors, the kids and parents were handed, rakes, clippers and weed whips. What amazed me was that four families that had never stepped foot in Forest Park were now educated on what Forest Park means to the Portland community and interested in how they can be more deeply involved in protecting this cherished resource.
Watching these young, inquisitive volunteers reminded me (as a mom and the director of FPC) that the next generation of stewards already exists and reinforced that the programs FPC provides are making a difference for our park and our community when we engage people of all ages. As parents, educators and mentors, it’s our job to keep them engaged and inspired and ensure that these opportunities are consistently available. After all, volunteers come in small packages too!
Thank you, Porter, for being an inspiring young leader, believing in the cause and introducing these new families to Forest Park. I am very proud!
If you want to have a great family experience, I hope you’ll consider coming to our Day of Stewardship on Saturday, October 18th. This is a great opportunity to help restore Forest Park and have fun with your family.
See you on the trails!