Born Learning Trail
Rotary and United Way /Born Learning Trail Video
United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County Launches the
Born Learning Trail
April 29, 2017 to promote early childhood learning and family fun
In conjunction with the West Side Neighbors’ annual “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” Community Service Day on 29 April 2017, the United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County and the Rotary Club of Carlisle conducted a 12 noon ribbon cutting ceremony for the Born Learning Trail being constructed at the Heberlig Palmer Park located at 131 Lincoln Avenue in Carlisle. This is the first Born Learning Trail to be built in Cumberland County.
The Born Learning Trail is a United Way initiative based on the latest early childhood research and approved by national early learning experts. It offers an interactive, playful engagement tool to help parents, caregivers and communities support early learning by helping boost children’s language and literacy skills – and encouraging families to get active. Trails have been set up in local parks, zoos, museums, and indoor shopping centers across the country.
“The Born Learning Trail is a series of nine learning activities that promote fun and games — important components of early childhood learning,” said Lucy Zander, Executive Director of the United Way of Carlisle and Cumberland County. “Research tells us children are literally ‘born learning.’ That means five years of education take place before they ever enter kindergarten. We know that what happens in a child’s early years matters — for success in life and for school readiness. And we want to help parents, grandparents and caregivers use everyday outings including trips to the Heberlig Palmer Park to support that learning.”
Zander also noted “United Way research has found that many parents undervalue their role in preparing young children for school, that parents and caregivers don’t know exactly what actions to take to prepare young children for school and that parents and caregivers feel like they don’t have time to do what’s needed. The Born Learning Trail offers parents and caregivers one of many strategies that can help their children prepare for school.” 
The impetus for the trail started in 2014 when Brenda Landis of the West Side Neighbors Association approached the Rotary Club of Carlisle requesting support to purchase and construct a Born Learning Trail. However, due to significant renovations scheduled for Heberlig Palmer Park, a trail could not be built until those upgrades were completed in 2016. With these renovations completed, Landis once again reached out to the Rotary Club of Carlisle and $1500 was recently allocated to purchase the Born Learning Trail kit.
As noted by Carlisle Rotary Club President Shawn Farr, “The Born Learning Trail falls directly in line with Rotary’s “Supporting Education” area of focus. The club is excited to be involved with this project with 22 members constructing the trail on the afternoon of Friday, 28 April in preparation for the ribbon cutting ceremony the next day. This event will kick off a full season of fun and learning on the Born Learning Trail and will help our community do even more to get kids off to the right start.”
Installing the trail required ten signposts to be securely mounted along the walking path at the park. The signs mounted on each post direct the activity to be completed at each site. Additionally, four of the activities required stenciled icons to be painted onto the walkway. Carlisle Rotarian Justin Doty, a civil engineer with Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc. stated “A great deal of labor would normally be required to manually dig the holes for the signposts. However, John Gleim, an excavating contractor in Carlisle, fortunately volunteered to bore the holes using his company’s auger equipment. This greatly appreciated support from John Gleim allowed club members to complete the project in just one afternoon.”