Tag Archives: Parents

Nature Ninja Warrior Spring 2018

 

NNW 2 24 18 136 By Pat Rash

Through the vision of our Director, Eric Call, a new department initiative kicked off this spring. The Nature Ninja Warrior Program provides underrepresented middle and high school youth with diverse experiences in parks and recreation. This free program highlights youth development opportunities in park and natural resource management, outdoor experiential learning and environmental recreation, with an emphasis on job and life skills development. Between February 17 and April 14, 2018, 14 middle school youth traveled to John Prince Park in Lake Worth on eight consecutive Saturdays and two days during spring break and set out for adventure and learning in our parks and natural areas.

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Activities included the FAU ropes course, canoeing, archery, fishing, habitat restoration, assisting with Outdoor Adventure Day and geocaching. Students learned about wetlands, prescribed fire, resume building, proper interview techniques, bird adaptations and invasive exotic plants. The program culminated with a graduation ceremony at the CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Center in Lake Worth where family and friends of the participants gathered for presentations and refreshments.

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The program was a huge success thanks to our partners and the parks and recreation professionals that facilitated all components of the program. Partner agencies included: PBC Youth Services, who assisted our department with identifying program participants; Palm Tran, who provided bus passes for participants with transportation challenges; 4-H and UF IFAS Extension, who presented a youth workforce readiness program and the Friends of Green Cay Nature Center, who provided a generous financial contribution to this program. Special thanks to the Parks Natural Resource section, our nature centers, recreation centers, therapeutic recreation and Riverbend Park staff for their support.

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As a result of the Nature Ninja Warrior program, participants not only broadened their access to the parks and recreation field, but also showed significant improvements in eight youth development outcomes. Teamwork, independence, responsibility, competency, problem solving, friendship, exploration and affinity for nature were measured through pre and post testing developed by the American Camp Association. The Nature Ninja Warrior Program will continue in the fall with returning students building upon the skills they learned during the spring. Returning program participants will have a leadership role during the new season and will assist in guiding the new participants through the program. The Nature Ninja Warrior student work experience program will begin in summer 2019. This will provide program graduates with paid work experience in the Parks and Recreation Department.

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For more information on this program, please contact Pat Rash at: prash@pbcgov.org 

 

 

Camping in #pbcParks

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The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates three campgrounds throughout the county where families can enjoy the great outdoors together in tents or an RV – John Prince Park Campground in Lake Worth, Peanut Island Campground in Riviera Beach, and South Bay RV Campground in Western Palm Beach County. Families can tell stories around a campfire, make s’mores, explore nature, or just relax near a lake!

There are a number of benefits for kids and adults who go camping:

  • Bonding & socialization: parents and kids have the opportunity to play games together, go on a nature scavenger hunt, pitch tents together, and partake in a number of socializing and bonding activities. Camping allows families to get away from hectic responsibilities of daily lives and bond without the interference of busy schedules that come with work and school.
  • Learn & improve skills: go out and explore natural settings! Camping is the perfect way to educate kids about wildlife and natural resources – families can find and identify species of plants and insects, or get up early and bird watch. Even learning to cook on a campfire allows people of all ages to develop useful skills!
  • Gain an appreciation for nature: kids and adults can develop an appreciation for wildlife and natural resources as they are surrounded by both during a camping experience; learning about and appreciating nature allows for greater interest in preserving and conserving the planet’s natural resources and contributing to protection of species for play vital roles in ecosystems.
  • Fun and relaxation: get away from the stresses of every day life! Whether you’re relaxing in a hammock or relaxing by the lake with a book, camping provides opportunities to forget your daily responsibilities and escape to a natural setting. Camping also allows families to unplug from technology, and in many cases, from the stresses that come with it.
  • Develop healthy habits: camping allows people of all ages to put down technological products that consume time and energy; escaping these distractions may provide for healthier, happier lives. Camping can also help kids and adults learn new, healthier recipes that are easy to make, and will allow families to recognize the health effects of spending time in nature, including reduced risks for heart disease, anxiety and stress.

 

Where to camp in #pbcParks

John Prince Park Campground – 4759 South Congress Ave., Lake Worth, Florida 33461

Trade in your shoes for sandals and come to John Prince Park in Lake Worth to enjoy Palm Beach-style relaxation in a family-friendly atmosphere with playgrounds, exercise trails, and nature walks. The beach is only a ten-minute drive away.

Peanut Island Campground – Intracoastal waterway, near the Lake Worth Inlet, Riviera Beach

Peanut Island Campground is well-situated for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and boating. Located near the Palm Beach Inlet, the island is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway.

South Bay RV Campground – 100 Levee Rd., South Bay, Florida 33493

This is your place to simply relax! South Bay RV Campground is situated next to Lake Okeechobee, and is an ideal spot for boat ramp access. The campground features fire rings, a recreation hall, and WiFi. Spacious paved RV sites include water, sewer, electric, and a picnic table with grill.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

For more opportunities for healthy, happy living, visit pbcParks.com.

Tips for enjoying #pbcParks

Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.

  1. Lock your car & store your belongings properly:

Park Rangers and Law Enforcement are present at select county parks for your safety; however, if you’ll be traveling by vehicle, leave your valuables at home. Don’t leave bags, boxes, cell phones and other electronics and money on display in your vehicle. If you cannot take these items with you into the park, be sure to lock them safely in your trunk, where they’re out of view, before you arrive. Finally, lock all your doors and windows upon leaving your car.

  1. Use sun protection & stay hydrated:

Sunscreen Dispenser.jpgSun protection and hydration are especially important in South Florida’s climate. Follow these tips for proper sun protection:

  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am-4pm, so be especially cautious during these times.
  • If you run out of water, most county parks have drinking fountains located near restroom buildings.
  • Apply and re-apply sunscreen. Coconut Cove Water Park and select Palm Beach County beach parks offer sunscreen dispensers so patrons have access to free sun protection.
  • Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when possible.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear flip flops or shoes when walking on sand.
  1. Know ‘Trash In, Trash Out’ locations:

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation has identified a number of parks that have “trash in, trash out” policies, including Riverbend Park, and many neighborhood parks. We ask park visitors to dispose of any waste they may carry into the park, outside the park. This ensures a clean habitat for the animals living in our parks and helps maintain an aesthetic environment for park visitors, while reducing maintenance costs.

  1. Coexist with animals:

Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home”. From wild birds to tortoises aDeer in Riverbend Park.JPGnd bobcats to alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem. Disturbing the animals in our parks may do harm to them and their ecosystems, yourself, or the people around you. Please maintain a safe distance and do not approach animals when you come across them.

Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation discourages feeding wildlife as it reduces the animal’s natural fear of humans and may create safety issues. Please take notice of signs in many of our parks denoting safety recommendations for areas which may be home to alligators.

See our blog for a video on coexisting with our parks’ animals: https://pbcparks.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/tips-on-coexisting-with-our-parks-animals/

  1. Know where you can bring your dog:

Dogs are permitted in most county parks as long as they’re on a leashDog Park.jpg no longer than six feet. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches, pools, water parks, splash parks, and these other locations.

PBC Parks operates three spacious and well-maintained dog parks for your furry friends to run, jump and play! Whether they’re big or small, your pooch will have fun at these three dog parks.

  1. Stay on the designated paths:

Bicyclists on Trail_Riverbend Park.JPGPBC Parks and Recreation makes it easy for you to explore our natural areas with park and trail maps. Veering off these paths and into areas not meant for exploration may disturb the animals and plants that live in the areas and may pose a safety risk to you and your family. Please observe these areas from the designated trails and paths, using maps and guides for assistance.

As the saying goes, #pbcParks asks that you “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time” to fully enjoy our parks.

Park Ranger information:

Park Rangers are nearby to greet and assist you, answer questions, and watch out for your well-being. If you have a question for a Palm Beach County Park Ranger, you can give them a call at 561-262-1714 or email pbcparkrangers@pbcgov.org.

Westgate Recreation Center Teen Room Renovated

 Renovation to be featured on NBC show, “Billion Dollar Buyer”

In September, Palm Beach County’s Westgate Recreation Center received a much needed renovation to their teen room, thanks to two community organizations – ADT Always Cares and PBSO’s Police Athletic League.

The facility received new furniture, a new paint job, a new flat screen TV, and more. The kids and teens from the Westgate community now have more opportunities to play, learn and study after school.

The renovation will be featured on the NBC show, “Billion Dollar Buyer” in January 2017 – watch this short video for more!

The mission of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is to make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations. Visit pbcParks.com for more information.

#pbcParks and F.O.R.C.E Remind You to Wear Your Helmet!

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and Florida Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts teamed up to create this short video about the importance of wearing your bicycle helmet while riding through bike trails at our parks, as well as outside of our trails.

Watch this video to hear from members of F.O.R.C.E, find out how to properly fit a helmet, and see what happens to two pumpkins dropped from four stories – one shielded with a helmet, and one without!

Helpful Resources:
PbcParks.com
http://www.forcemtb.org/
http://www.cp-cto.org/Safe-Kids: Safe Kids Palm Beach provides important safety information and resources, including access to free bike helmets