Ladders to the Outdoors Reaches High in CNY Ladders to the Outdoors Reaches High in CNY

ANC: Ladders to the Outdoors is extending its reach to C-N-Y’s parks and historical sites. The program gives inner-city kids access to the outdoors. N-C-C’s Nick Capella reports that those involved say the program’s working.

Nick Capella: With the Ladders to the Outdoors program, it’s all in the name. Local coordinator, Staffon Donerlson, says the organization provides a path for kids who live in urban areas a chance to explore.

Staffon Donerlson: In three years since they started in 2019, it was able to bring out over 25,000 kids from the inner city to do programs throughout the Niagara region.

Nick Capella: Donerlson says the organization is able to expand through funding from local agencies. Green Lakes State Park recently received a three million dollar makeover that helped build new cabins for participants.

Staffon Donerlson: With some of our supporters that funded us some money to purchase these purchases materials as far as like prefabricated cabin and renovating one of our previous cabins and purchasing recreational equipment.

Nick Capella: Donerlson says the program plans to expand in other countries such as Oswego and Madison. Nick Capella, N-C-C News.

DEWITT,  N.Y. (NCC News) – Syracuse leads the nation in child poverty.   Many kids in the community do not have a safe place to step outside and play.  Ladders to the Outdoors provides kids from the inner – city access to state parks and involves them in outdoor activities.

Staffon Donerlson, coordinator of the CNY division of the program, is aware of the problems these kids face everyday. “Typically, most kids in the city, they’ll play in their community playground. You know, a lot of violence and stuff happens around you, in these playgrounds,” he said.  Through the program, kids can learn various outdoor skills. “We have programs like outdoor explorations where we’ll teach kids how to set up tents and set up and start campfires,” Donerlson said.

Donerlson said that exposing kids from underserved communities is important for their mental health.  “Just getting the crisp air from the trees versus being in a city with all that traffic and being in those contentious areas, it’s definitely a benefit for mental health and physical health for sure,” he said.  The program knows that these kids may not feel comfortable with the outdoors. “The reason why we call it ladders is because we want kids to grow into, you know, climbing that ladder and get becoming more comfortable.” Donerlson said.

Ladders to the Outdoors plans on expanding its reach to other counties in CNY such as Madison and Oswego.

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