Over the past few weeks, children in the PLAY Summer Camp have been working toward becoming PLAY Roanoke Junior Rangers, and that hard work has paid off. PLAY Roanoke hosted a special graduation ceremony for the newest Junior Rangers this week.
At the ceremony, the new Junior Rangers were greeted by a special guest, Vice Mayor Joe Cobb. He spoke about the importance of protecting our natural resources and making a positive impact in our city. “The things you do now as parks rangers to help build and take care of our parks are stories you’ll be able to tell when you’re 80 years old,” Cobb said. “People will be so happy to hear the story of how you helped Roanoke.”
After Vice Mayor Cobb spoke, Roanoke Parks and Recreation Manager, Patrick Boas, asked the kids a few questions about their experience and encouraged them to continue their outdoor pursuits. Once the rangers were sworn in, they received their certificates, badges, and a little goodie bag from the Department. To make it extra special, the kids enjoyed s’mores around an indoor “camp fire.”
When we asked the new rangers what their favorite part of the program was, answers ranged from “identifying leaves” and “learning about animals” to “finding out poison ivy is bad!”
Because of the pandemic, people are outside more than ever, and families are looking for activities to do together. Boas, the driving force behind the program, said that now was the perfect time to launch it. “We are hoping that this program will help kids engage with the outdoors and create stewards of our natural resources,” he said.