This week Cristina, the other LHIP intern at the Intermountain Region Office, and I got to do an outreach event with some Latino kids! We met up with a day camp for kids at one of the local parks in the neighborhood. With a partnership through Denver Parks & Recreation, these kids get dropped off at this local park to spend the day outside during the summer instead of being inside. Every now and then they have guest speakers to come talk to the kids, and have people come play activities with them as well. Luckily, we get to come this year and talk about the National Park Service (NPS)! Last year’s LHIP interns also came to this same camp, so we are trying to continue this relationship with these kids and camp yearly in the summer.

Since the age range was so broad it was difficult for Cristina and I to come up with games that would be suitable for 14 year olds and also 5 year olds. We did lots of research on games we could play with them, and tailored them to NPS and the ages of the kids. When we got to the park we first started out the day by explaining what the NPS emblem means and what it represents for the agency. We asked them simple questions such as if they knew what a national park is, or if they have ever been to a national park before. We then got on the topic of what activities they enjoy doing in the mountains with with friends or families, and many said they liked to go camping, ATVing, fishing and biking. When they told me what activities they enjoyed I got supper happy, because most of the things they mentioned were things that I enjoy doing too! I hope one day they can pass that enjoyment on to other Latinos. Secondly, we started to play the games with the kids! The first game they seemed to really enjoy, a game Cristina and I called ‘Fire Safety’ which is about teaching kids about the dangers of not putting out a fire. Basically, the game explained how one ember from a campfire can turn in to a huge wildfire and make parks go up in flames. There is danger when playing with fire, so it is their responsibility to take care of these public lands that are theirs!

After playing all our games, we handed out a lot of swag for them to take home! We handed out stickers, tattoos, Frisbees, and activity books! Sadly, NPS doesn’t have much material translated into Spanish, so Cristina and I had to reach out to other agencies to see if they had any material to send home with the kids for them to have or for their parents to be able to read. Luckily, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management had some material lying around their offices that they gladly gave to use to give to the kids. After playing with kids all day long, I was exhausted! I took the best nap when I got home from work! Kids are exhausting, but getting to play outside with kids instead of being in the office isn’t too bad of a day.

Click this link to see a short video of the kids playing the Fire Safety game: Fire Safety

 

 

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Written by Jennifer Orellana
My name is Jennifer Orellana, I am the daughter of two immigrant parents from El Salvador and I currently live in Colorado. I am also a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver studying Sports Management with a minor in Recreation Services. What my future goal is to do once I graduate with my degree is create an outdoor recreation and outdoor education program that is equitable for all. Being outdoors in parks and nature has helped me in so many ways, I hope to instill that to others someday. Activities I enjoy to do are hiking, camping, climbing and everything that my Colorful Colorado has to offer! I can't wait to see what is in store for me this summer as an LHIP intern at the Intermountain Regional Office, let the adventures begin!