Hidden Falls Camp 2017

Last week, over 150 young people of a wide age range had the chance to explore Saint Paul park land in a new way – as a part of the Hidden Falls Camp from July 31 to August 4, held at Hidden Falls Regional Park.

This camp was hosted by the YMCA as a collaboration between their Let's MOVE! Outside initiative and the Saint Paul Connecting Children to Nature Initiative, helping youth from underserved communities experience nature right in Saint Paul rather than taking them far outside the city.

Niall Murton, Camp & Community Outreach Director at the YMCA of the Twin Cities, shared how his connections with nature have always been urban, and how that was the goal for the camp - to get youth excited about nature in their backyard. "It gives them something that they can always come back to," he said.

Each day featured fun and new activities at Hidden Falls Park – ranging from arts and crafts to rock climbing, shelter building to hiking, canoeing to gaga pit, fishing to orienteering (pictured above). The Pollinator Bike from Public Art Saint Paul came to share about bees and pollination, and the City of Saint Paul and the Department of Natural Resources provided environmental education activites. Simple activities like skipping stones into the river were a huge hit – and that’s something youth can always do when they return to the river with family and friends.

Connecting with Sprockets helped the YMCA engage a large number of community partners and get more youth involved. Youth attended from city and community organizations: the Eastside YMCA, The Salvation Army Eastside, Hancock Rec Center, and Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.

Photo Credit: Saint Paul Natural Resources