SAN LUIS VALLEY – It’s a time honored tradition when that final school bell rings. Papers fly. Lockers slam shut. Kids run out the door. And summer begins. But this year is different. With in-person learning canceled for the remainder of the year for Colorado schools, the last bell won’t ring – at least not in the same way as before. That’s why Generation Wild, a movement from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), is encouraging the entire state to get outside on Fri., May 29 at 3 p.m. to ring whatever bell they have to celebrate the kids and teachers.
To honor the front line. To remind all of us that better days lie ahead. And to signal the start of summer. Realizing how COVID-19 has drastically changed the way people are able to interact with one another, Generation Wild wanted to explore ways to unite and bring hope to its community through a shared experience. Thus, the idea for a bell ringing to signify the start of summer was born.
“Kids have had to miss out on so many important milestones and activities this spring because they weren’t in school,” said GOCO Executive Director Chris Castilian. “We wanted to come up with a joyful and fun way to acknowledge the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. So, we’re hoping that everyone including kids, moms, dads, grandparents, churches, fire stations and even town halls will ring a bell – any kind will do – at 3:00 p.m. on May 29.”
Generation Wild was created by GOCO to reconnect kids with nature by increasing the amount of time they spend outside in unstructured play – the kind of play that used to be way more common. The program is an integrated, statewide effort that involves providing parents and caregivers inspiration for getting children outdoors. Generation Wild enjoys broad support from statewide non-profit, public and private partner organizations.
In 15 Colorado communities, diverse, locally based Generation Wild coalitions are creating equitable access to the outdoors with new places to play, outdoor programs, and pathways to leadership opportunities and jobs in the outdoors. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,300 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.