My friend Nicole is a force of nature when it comes to getting things done and encouraging folks to get outdoors. A part-time employee at the Y, she worked recently with the Hockomock Invensys Foxboro YMCA, as well as several other funding agencies to create a Storywalk® on the grounds of the YMCA off Mechanic Street in Foxboro, MA.
I had never visited this YMCA before, so it was fun to see not only the Storywalk® but also to see how it is situated in the community and all it has to offer. The Y is right next to one of the local schools in Foxboro, so as we were leaving we spotted lines of children heading over to the Y after school. A great option for families to have a safe, active place for kids to go after school.
We visited for the ribbon cutting and introduction of the story walk. Well, we missed the ribbon cutting, but still got a guided tour of the Storywalk® from Nicole. We had a number of children and adults along for the trip, as we followed the adventures of a child new to a community and new to a school.
Nicole pointed out that the Y works to foster community wherever it is located, and she hoped this Storywalk® would encourage children to be open to making friends with those who might at first appear different from others they know. We found the path from one page to the next to be challenging to follow, but the Y is working to help make the directions from page to page clearer. A work in progress.
After we traced the pages of the book as they were posted throughout the grounds of the Y, we headed into the building and took a tour of the indoors, where the same story was posted along indoor walls of the facility, to provide a handicapped accessible option for those who might not be able to traipse through the grounds of the Y’s campus. And since it was a ribbon cutting event, we also managed to grab a few cookies and some juice, all part of the ribbon cutting celebration.
These projects do not happen without community support. In fact, Nicole stressed that the theme of the project was CommUNITY. Support was provided in part by the Foxboro Cultural Council, Schneider Electric provided materials and employees who performed the actual installation, Walsh Construction augered the holes for the posts’ installation, and Foxboro Regional Charter School provided lamination for all the pages that were installed on each post of the Storywalk®.
The event took place near Halloween, so as we walked, clouds of bats followed us down the hall from page to page to page. We took the elevator up to the second story walking track, and finished the story as we strolled the walking track.
All in all, a great day to get outdoors, read a story together, and enjoy the remaining foliage. Happy Trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.