Camp en Rouge!
On July 28-29, Across U-hub along with 30 youth went on a camping excursion in Rouge Park as part of the Camp Suzuki program. Although just a few miles away from the urban centre, the Rouge Park proves to be a gem undiscovered by many people living in Toronto.
In less than a half hour drive, Across U-hub campers arrived at Rouge Park on Saturday afternoon. They brought along tents, sleeping bags, camping chairs and coolers full of food for two days. The camping excursion was intended for youth new to camping so that they could explore nature right in Toronto's backyard. Participants learned to pitch tents and build campfires, and discovered the wonders of nature in the Rouge. Because many came from cities and countries where nature is found far from urban areas, this experience was particularly memorable.
The convenient commute to the camp site made this large scale camping trip possible, particularly for first time campers who were not comfortable to go travel too far on their first trip. Alice Yung, one of the campers said, "This is my first time camping. It's my first time setting up tents and sleeping outdoors. Although different from sleeping at home, I kind of enjoyed it because I can hear the crickets and different sounds of nature. It felt very comfortable and relaxing."
Rouge Park Discover Hike
Across U-hub welcomed 35 youth on the hike and groups were able to explore two Rouge Park trails. Guides were on hand to help hikers discover local wildlife -everyone was so excited to see turtles, frogs and a raven. Nature isn't far away!
Tomorrow starts today
On June 23rd, the Across U-hub team is taking their community on a hike in the Rouge. Participants will learn about the park's ecology as part of the Rouge Park Discovery event. On July 28-29, Across U-hub is excited to host their first Camp en Rouge! This overnight trip will connect youth with nature by teaching them the joys of camping: stargazing, camp fires and maybe even some ghost stories!
Rouge Park Stewardship — 60 youth celebrate the Rouge
Across U-hub successfully hosted the Rouge Park Stewardship with Camp Suzuki this past Saturday, April 28th. It is the first time Across U-hub has worked with the David Suzuki Foundation to raise awareness of the future Rouge National Park. Across U-hub is the only Chinese youth group represented among the 10 other Camp Suzuki teams. With Chinese youths rarely participating in outdoor activities, Across U-hub gathered nearly 60 Chinese youths at the Bob Hunter Memorial Park in Rouge Park, located at 14th Avenue and 9th Line. Unbelievably, the group planted 400 trees within 2 hours! One of the event volunteers, Miss Vivian Ng, shared, "it is my first time to participate and help organize a tree planning event. I am excited and honored to be able to contribute to the nature and creating a better environment for the future."
The ultimate goal of Rouge Park Stewardship is to raise the awareness among youth to be more sensible in protecting the natural environment. This involves the restoration and enhancement of the natural, scenic and cultural values of the park; as well as the promotion of public responsibility, understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the park's heritage. Aside from raising awareness, Across U-hub hopes to attract youth to participate, connect, embrace and appreciate Toronto's outdoors environment. Ms. Nicole Wong, executive director of Across U-hub added, "We see that youth, especially immigrant youth, want to take action and contribute to the community. They have lots of potential and multiple talents. Unfortunately, many of their abilities are often hidden, as there is little or no chance in their environments for them to step up, speak up and take action." Many of the youths that lives in the urban and suburban Toronto setting have never stepped away from their neighbourhood and cityscape. Events such as Rouge Park Stewardship will encourage them to get active and get outdoors.
Rouge Park Stewardship is one of three events which Across U-hub is hosting this year as a participant of the Camp Suzuki program. Following the tree planting, they will be organizing a discovery trail tour at Rouge Park in June to explore the wilderness and numerous living species in the area. The last event will be an overnight camping experience in the Rouge Park in July. Meanwhile, other events from Across U-hub are just around the corner. A city expedition race, City Mosaic, will be held on May 26th this year. The registration deadline is May 7th. For more summer programs organized by Across U-hub, please visit www.acrossuhub.com
About the Team
Across U-hub is a charitable community organization, based on Christian faith, dedicated to serve Canadian youth, especially those of Chinese descent.
Team: Teresa Chan, Melody Ho, Kevin Wong, Winnie Tang
Who: Across U-hub has been working with youth across the Greater Toronto Area for over 10 years, developing leadership programs and volunteer initiated activities in the community. The organization serves mostly young adults between the ages of 16-30 from Markham, Scarborough, North York, and Richmond Hill.
Why: Across U-hub is participating in Camp Suzuki because they want to foster the younger generation to be better stewards of nature and connect with the outdoors. Many of these youth live in urban and suburban settings and rarely step away from the cityscape to experience and truly connect with nature. They hope that this project will encourage participants to get active and get outdoors and learn to embrace and appreciate nature. They also want this next generation to feel a sense of belonging and ownership with the Rouge.
What: In the coming months, they plan to organize three youth events in Rouge Park under the project entitled Tomorrow Starts Today. All events will be planned by youth and for youth. The first event in the spring will be a tree planting event in Rouge Park. In early summer, they plan to organize a hiking trip through the Park with expert educators and naturalists. Finally, they will be running a camping trip in the Rouge, learning how to camp and enjoy a back-to-nature experience in a place close to home.