Maine kids recreating outside get boost from million dollar donation

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

April 19th, 2012 

A Healthy Home team with Seth Wescott on a hike at Brabury Park after the announcement of L.L. Bean's million dollar donation promoting outside activities in Maine.

Olympic gold medalists Joan Benoit Samuelson and Seth Wescott were on hand for the announcement of a million dollar donation from L.L. Bean to Healthy Hometowns. The company’s donation will expand the now-seasonal programs at the Caribou-based Maine Winter Sports Center throughout the year and help fund ways for young people to get outside and exercise.

The donation also expands the Healthy Hometowns program from 100 locations in Maine to 400.

Andy Shepard, president and chief executive of the Maine Winter Sports Center said the center was created to fight child obesity, which corresponds to the State of Maine’s Take it Outside program started by the John Baldacci administration. Samuelson and Wescott helped to promote that initiative.

Outdoor education programs develop team and leadership skills students will use after they graduate as well as giving a new generation an appreciation for the natural world.

“Keep pushing your kids to get outside,” said Wescott to parents before leading the hike at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal after the announcement.

Afterwards children were also invited to a series of free activities, including archery, fly-fishing, geocaching and a scavenger hunt and a hike.