Think back to your childhood and moments spent outside: the wonderful squish of mud between your toes; the scurrying of bugs racing to escape an overturned log; the serious focus of building that perfect snow fort; the concern and effort made to help a turtle cross a road.
These moments stay with us for a lifetime. And so does their impact. Spending time exploring our natural world in our childhood and youth not only creates rich, meaningful memories but becomes the building blocks for our health and well-being into adulthood.
Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship promotes and supports healthy childhood development, community connection and environmental stewardship through building an early and ongoing relationship with nature.
At the heart of Pathway is a vision of local culture where citizens feel connected to and care for each other, their community and the beautiful Kawarthas region, of which they are a part.
For an in-depth understanding of this project, please review the Pathway to Stewardship & Kinship Guide.
Our community, like many others, is full of wonderful people doing great work. Too often, this work happens in isolated pockets, missing a connecting link of common purpose that leaves us feeling isolated and overwhelmed. In 2014, Camp Kawartha’s Jacob Rodenburg started discussions among environmental educators to seek common themes that foster stewardship among children at various stages of their development.
We soon realized that nurturing caring, connected young people is directly linked to physical and mental health, community mentorship and creative expression. The wisdom of regional Indigenous cultures enriched our understanding and perspectives about how we can foster positive relationships with the natural world. Interest continued to expand to more parts of the community.
Through local support, we held 80 interviews with community leaders to find memories from their childhoods that built deep connections with their world. Coupled with research and advice from experts across North America, we developed a series of 30 “Landmark” experiences: simple building blocks for children and youth. In this shared foundation for health and well-being for people and the planet, everyone has a role to play. The process is detailed in the Pathway to Stewardship & Kinship released in August 2017.
We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for providing funding support to the project. The Pathway team are working towards a community-wide rollout.