Families in West Bend have a new place to play and learn. The Kettle Moraine YMCA has partnered with United Way of Washington County and the West Bend School District to install a Born Learning Trail at the Y’s West Washington Street location. A ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration was held on October 16th.

Born Learning is a United Way initiative that uses research-based activities to build language and literacy—key drivers of school readiness and academic success.

The new trail is adjacent to the YMCA parking lot. It includes colorful signs and painted letters, shapes, healthy foods, and games that encourage healthy physical and mental development.

“As the Y, our three focus areas are Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, the Born Learning Trail was a perfect blend of all three,” said Kristina Chapman, YMCA’s West Washington branch director. “As a parent myself, the Born Learning Trail is available to instill a love for movement, learning and family engagement. If learned early, children will carry those habits with them as they move into adulthood.”

The Born Learning Trail was sponsored by United Way of Washington County, Kettle Moraine YMCA, and the West Bend School District.

In addition to the Born Learning Trail, the three organizations are partnering to provide local children with unique learning opportunities, including other nature-based options.

Last year, United Way volunteers approved funding for the YMCA’s nature-based 4K. This innovative program provides children with high-quality, nature-based instruction at The Y at Holy Trinity and Riveredge Nature Center; allowing children a hands-on approach to learning the world around them. This has been so well received that West Bend School District is extending their nature based options to all community 4K classrooms.

“United Way believes in finding collaborative solutions that effectively address community needs,” said Kristin Brandner, United Way Executive Director. “We are proud to partner with an exceptional agency like the YMCA to help provide quality education and health opportunities for children in Washington County.”

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