Posted 03 August 2011, by Raegan Medgie, WNEP-16 TV (LocalTV LLC), wnep.com
The National Park Service in the Poconos is reaching out to inner city teenagers, teaching them about nature and how to overcome their fears.
Park rangers at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area are teaching high school students from Philadelphia about teamwork, leadership and survival skills using the Delaware River.
“Each step of the way they’ve learned things about themselves, they’ve overcome challenges, had to work together,” said Park Ranger Kathleen Sandt.
The five-day program is called “Women on the Water.” It removes the young women from the city and puts them into the wilderness, where they have class, camp and paddle along the river. The program also teaches them about the Delaware River and why it’s important to them.
“All their drinking and industrial water comes from this river and looks very different here then when it gets down to them in Philadelphia,” Sandt added.
The young women are on the river for three days. The first day they are in groups on rafts, the second day they are paired off in canoes and the last day they are alone in kayaks. It helps them face their fears while learn about nature.
“We’re taught in school about environmental sustainability but we don’t get to see the environment. So seeing the environment that we’re supposed to be protecting and sustaining is important and necessary for the environment,” said Manna-Symone Middlebrooks of Philadelphia.
“I’m learning how to work with others and overcome fears,” said Brianna Austin of Philadelphia.
“I’ll know how to survive in the woods and if I had a boat and paddle, I’ll know how to go down the river without falling in,” said Sunnise Faust Sanders of Philadelphia.
The Pocono Environmental Education Center is also part of the two-year-old program. Its role is to help educate the women about the wilderness around them and how to protect it.
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