It all started at a Trumbull County overnight camp. In the summer of 2016, Footpath Foundation took 48 kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland to Camp Whitewood, about 40 miles east of Cleveland. It was not just a new experience for Footpath: All of the kids were attending overnight camp for the first time — spending three nights and four days together.
Some had never been away from home. Some were amazed by the clear view of the stars. Others were uncomfortable with the constant silence. We were overjoyed by the amazing, positive changes that took place over those four days.
It made us want to provide even more kids with the joy of the outdoors. By partnering with Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, Common Ground, and the local park districts, we were able to organize outdoor field trips.
We were overjoyed by the amazing, positive changes that took place over those four days.”
We then added horsemanship to the mix. Footpath began offering equestrian therapy to girls living in foster care at Ohio Guidestone. And working with Fieldstone Farms, we were able to offer children from Boys & Girls Clubs a week-long horseback riding day camp.
We expanded once again by offering an after-school nature club and increasing both the number of sessions and the number of kids attending overnight summer camps.
In the first four summers, we took 371 kids to overnight camp and more than 350 kids on outdoor adventures. In addition, we have made it possible for 50 girls to receive intensive equestrian therapy.
Collaboration and true partnerships make our programs work. Without our partners and supporters, we would not be able to make as large of an impact on children as we have to date.