Families gathered at Northridge Park in Yuba City on Thursday to celebrate the opening of the Born Learning Trail, a paved walking path with a series of themed stops.
Each stop includes a sign with an interactive prompt meant to engage children and parents in both conversation and play. Some encourage story telling or memory sharing, others focus on physical challenges and exploration of the natural world. At least half a dozen children reported that a colorful painted hopscotch game was their personal favorite.
“I like being outside and playing with my mom,” said Hope Smith of Yuba City.
This particular trail is said to be the ninth of its kind within California and the first within the northern part of the state.
“The closest other trails are in Merced and Rescue,” said Bob Harlan, executive director of Yuba-Sutter-Colusa United Way. “We hope to add more in the future and have additional placements commissioned within the budget.”
The Born Learning Trail is part of a greater national program developed by United Way Worldwide, but locally its funding came through a grant from the Sutter County Children and Families Commission. Yuba-Sutter-Colusa United Way and the Yuba City Parks and Recreation Department were also credited in financing a part of the trail’s construction in addition to providing oversight and support with installation.
Without stopping, the shaded path loops around the playground and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Those who participate in the listed activities at each stop could easily fill 30 minutes to an hour of their time.
Yuba City Councilmember Mike Pasquale attended the opening and brought a bag full of toy balls for children to take home. This appeared to be another highlight of the day for eager youngsters who quickly collected as many as they could carry.
A free picnic was also provided including fresh sandwiches, potato salad, chips, and cookies.
“We invited Blue Zones here with us today too because their mission just ties in so nicely with what we’re doing here,” added Harlan. “It’s about giving families tools to stay active and help connect with one another.”
Northridge Park is located at 1898 Clark Ave. in Yuba City. For more information about United Way and the Born Learning program, visit bornlearning.org.