Parks, playgrounds and trails are a lifeline for many Hall County families looking to escape the hectic trappings of work, after-school activities and constant digital connectivity.
They also bring learning opportunities for children as they explore the natural world.
The United Way of Hall County hopes to make it easier for parents and kids to play together by building a “Born Learning” trail at Laurel Park in North Hall, a popular destination for boaters, fishers and other outdoor sports.
Three similar trails, marked with colorful signs, exist at the Spout Springs Library in South Hall, the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids in Gainesville and along the Wilshire trails.
The trail program was established about 20 years ago, Griffin said.
“Each of the signs help a parent to engage with their child,” said Joy Griffin, vice president of resource development for the United Way of Hall County.
The signs, for example, ask parents to follow their child’s lead, and gives creative ideas to prompt educational games while walking the trail.
Griffin said the United Way will recruit sponsors to pay the $3,500 cost of installing the signs in both English and Spanish.
The signs, 10 in all and each with a different message, will be added to an existing paved walking path behind the playground at Laurel Park.
County government will cover the cost of maintenance and sign replacements (if vandalized, for example). Each sign costs $125.
Mike Little, director of the county Parks & Leisure Department, said he expects construction of the trail to begin in September and be complete by early fall.
The trail will remain open during installation of the signs, he said.