Summit Pacific Medical Center always has something new and exciting up their sleeve, whether it be community events and classes, expansions to their always evolving campus in Elma or the implementation of virtual patient visits. One of their newest installments to the facility is an on-campus Story Trail leading to a Little Free Library that’s quickly created a unique and educational community activity.
Envisioned as a fun, engaging experience, a Story Trail was created by Anne Ferguson, a specialist in chronic disease prevention, in Vermont in 2007. Ferguson was looking for a way to get families outside and moving when she came up with the idea of separating out the pages of children’s books and placing them along a local nature trail. Since 2007, the idea has spread out across the world and can be found in all 50 states and 12 countries. Children of all levels can take part in the activity alongside friends and family members while spending time away from electronics and in nature. Story Trails encourage children’s interest in reading while also motivating the desire for a healthy outdoor lifestyle, which aligns perfectly with Summit Pacific’s goal of building the healthiest community in the Nation.
Located on Summit Pacific’s campus and in partnership with the Timberland Regional Library, the Story Trail begins at the upper parking lot. Visitors to the Medical or Wellness Center are encouraged to spend time taking part in this new activity. We all know a visit to the doctor is often a strenuous experience for children and adults alike. To combat these feelings, families are encouraged to arrive early to an appointment and explore the trail or stay after as a way to destress before heading home. While the activity is a fantastic de-stressor, Summit Pacific encourages anyone in the area to stop by at any time and take part in the fun.
While the Story Trail is a great activity on its own, the addition of the Little Free Library enhances the overall literary experience, thanks to donations from the Summit Pacific Medical Foundation. A book drive was held to collect books to stock the little library. Employees donated over 200 books! The goal is to keep the library accessible year-round and is aimed to promote early interest in the world of reading. The library is located at the end of the Story Trail near the playground. The Little Free Library is stocked with age-appropriate books allowing children to end their adventure on the trail by selecting and taking home a book of their choosing. While the intent is for families to enjoy the book and later exchange it for a new one, children are welcome to keep them as well.
“We’re very excited to now have the Story Trail on campus as well as the Free Little Library,” says Wendy Stirnkorb, Summit Pacific’s director of ancillary and support services. “This is a wonderful opportunity for elementary age children to explore the outdoors while expanding their knowledge through stories.”
Both the books and storyboards are changed out regularly, so it’s worth a return visit multiple times to check out the new collection and possibly stumble upon on the book that was read on the Story Trail. Be sure to read the interactive questions at the bottom of the story boards to further connect with your child and create an engaging experience to remember.