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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, May 20, 2024
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Photo Courtesy of Dane County Parks

Badger Prairie County Park is a 317-acre park is located just east of the City of Verona.  The park has a shelter facility, play fields, mountain bike trails, a playground, two off-lease dog parks (including a small dog park), and an aeromodeling field. 

TruStage Foundation awards over $60,000 to Dane County youth outdoors program

The Get Outside! program will expand its reach to two community centers in Dane County to support education for youth groups.

Madison-based insurance company TruStage granted Dane County Parks $63,250 on March 18 to support Get Outside!, an outdoors connection program for Dane County youth. 

The TruStage Foundation said the donation works to strengthen the future generation by investing in educational programming, according to a press release

“[The programs] are demonstrating their commitment to expanding educational opportunities for our young people — a key area TruStage has identified as critical to economic mobility,” said Alexzandra Shade, TruStage director of social responsibility.

The Get Outside! program works with community youth groups to promote a connection to nature within Dane County parks, said Angela Rivera, education coordinator at the Lussier Family Heritage Center. The program also aims to increase diversity in outdoor spaces. 

“Being able to provide monthly to bimonthly opportunities with youth from minority backgrounds allows them to see themselves as park users, try new things in new spaces and cultivate positive outdoor narratives,” Rivera said.

The original demand for the program at its start in 2020 exceeded expectations at the time, with every community center in the Madison area requesting to be a part of Get Outside!, according to Rivera. The program currently works consistently with six community centers in Dane County. 

According to a March 18 press release, demand continues to rise as existing and prospective participants see the need to close educational gaps in science technology, engineering and mathematics for elementary and middle school students. 

Aaron Mullins, executive director of the Foundation for Dane County Parks, said in the press release that TruStage’s donation means more youth will be able to “explore, learn and thrive in Dane County parks.”

Rivera told The Daily Cardinal the donation allows more community centers to interact with the parks closest to them with new activities such as geocaching, orienteering and camping. Funds will also go towards hiring qualified staff and finding new ways to expand the program.

The Get Outside! program is just one of the Foundation for Dane County Parks’ initiatives, with the foundation raising $2,400,000 in 2022 to support parks and recreation in Dane County.

With TruStage’s donation, Dane County Parks will expand the Get Outside! program to two new community centers in 2024.

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