Grow Carter County showcases new ‘Storybook Trail’

Published 8:26 am Thursday, December 6, 2018

To promote new exercise programs, companies may do so under the warm sun or the cool air conditioning. Grow Carter County, however, is determined enough to showcase their new initiatives under buckets and buckets of snow, and when the children wear nothing but smiles and laughter, they said they knew it was working.

Grow Carter County invited two dozen students from Harold McCormick Elementary to take a tour through the new Storybook Trail next to the school.

Josh McKinney, chair of the Grow Carter County Committee, said the trail was part of a larger initiative to get members of the community more physically active.

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“Originally, I wanted to start the trail at the library and work it through the city, but ended up doing this route instead,” McKinney said.

The trail features a series of signboards, each one showcasing a part of a larger poem or story. Yoga Farm wrote the first series of displays and led students in different yoga poses for each sign they read.

McKinney said they plan on showcasing new stories every quarter.

“People could walk that trail and do the poses every day,” he said.

The Storybook Trail is one of many projects Grow Carter County has undertaken during 2018, including two community gardens. McKinney said the efforts are meant to promote healthier lifestyles for children in the county.

“Carter County is first in child obesity,” he said. “We have a child obesity rate of about 32 to 34 percent.”

He said projects like these, in addition to raising awareness of existing places and programs, work to provide chances to increase physical activity.

“We had the hardest snow of the year today, and yet the children were not even fazed. They were doing the poses and getting involved,” McKinney said. “They want to do stuff like this. They just need the opportunity.”

Bekah Price, Public Relations Coordinator for Elizabethton City Schools, said the Storybook Trail has more potential than meets the eye.

“Grow Carter County is trying to promote things we already have in addition to the new stuff,” Price said. “They are trying to tie everything together.”

Now that the group’s plans for 2018 are coming to a close, McKinney said the group will begin brainstorming project ideas for next year.

Grow Carter County meets every second Wednesday of the month, alternating meeting locations between United Way on 210 South Hills Drive and Medical Care at 1500 W. Elk Ave.

McKinney said anyone and everyone is welcome to attend their meetings and pitch ideas on ways to benefit the community.

“This is a grass roots initiative,” McKinney said. “We are fully open to new ideas.”

McKinney said this month’s meeting has been cancelled, so their next meeting will take place on January 9 at United Way at 1 p.m.