Each year, VPF provides park access to hundreds of Vermonters, including foster families, students, and those with limited mobility, who otherwise would not have the chance to experience all Vermont’s state parks have to offer.
Adaptive Kayaking with Northeast Disabled Athletic Association: The funding from Vermont Parks Forever offered unrestricted entrance to Vermont State Parks for participants to kayak as often as they were able to, all summer long. Over 205 adaptive kayaking trips were launched this summer!
Many kayakers use power wheelchairs to move about on land, and for the first time ever, or since their injury, they were able to propel themselves independently across the water using adaptive equipment. They improved their physical strength and endurance, learned/relearned a new sport, viewed wildlife (birds, deer, water snakes, fish), paddled alongside friends and family, and established a sense of community.
“Wow! What a fantastic day yesterday was! I do not believe it could have been an any better day paddling on the water for my son, friends and I. Thanks so much for setting up my friends with kayaks, we all had a blast. It is the first time in a very long time that I have been able to participate in a physical activity with them which made it very special for all of us.” ~2019 participant
Experience Literacy Camp, Bennington, VT: A hands-on literacy program for at-risk readers, camp participants read/write for six hours one day then go on field trips the next day. This process was repeated throughout the month of July and was developed as a way to provide youth with the background knowledge they need to reinforce current knowledge and to build future vocabulary. The state parks in Vermont provided a way to get kids outdoors, let them learn through exploring, and build community as a program. Located within an impoverished community, these field trips to the state parks would not have been possible without Vermont Parks Forever.
“We’ve had a picture-perfect summer! Our ability to go into the parks was due to Vermont Parks Forever and if anyone is looking for a place to make a charitable donation, they should definitely keep you in mind!” ~Mary Habich, Experience Literacy Camp
“We hiked, we swam, and we picnicked in the shade of trees. We are so grateful for this grant which allowed our kids to experience the therapeutic effects of nature!” ~Katherine Stamper, Development Director
Department of Children and Families, statewide: Vermont Parks Forever provided the funding for park passes for 150 foster families in 2019. Over the past 4 years VPF has helped 500 foster families access state parks!
“Thanks so much for the state park passes. We used them all the time to bring the kiddos to Crystal Lake. Watching my foster son gain confidence in his swimming, making friends and memories, made me so happy! On many occasions we would arrive mid-morning and wouldn’t leave until nearly sunset, enjoying the barbecue pits with our friends & family. We are so grateful to be able to have unlimited access to that park.” ~ A foster mom
“It’s so important for all people to have access to our parks,” says Sarah Alberghini Winters of Vermont Parks Forever. “When we explore the outdoors, we build healthy bodies and minds, and we become responsible stewards of the natural world.”
Vermont Parks Forever was able to increase access to our park system for our Vermont neighbors thanks to the donations of these generous donors:
- Cashdan/Stein Great Grandmother Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation
- Charles P. Ferro Foundation
- The Alchemist
- National Life Group Foundation
- Vermont Mutual Insurance
- Vermont Parks Forever Supporters
- Vermont Parks Forever Board and Staff Members