This year, both programs have mixed up our hiking schedule a bit and have included a lot more urban hiking. These urban hikes are my new favorite part of our Thursday programing! These types of hikes can provide numerous opportunities for our participants to gain exposure to some of the culture Atlanta has to offer, including urban art, student art installations, and historical landmarks. There are also a lot more social interactions happening on these hikes, which allows us the opportunity to help our participants navigate unexpected and unique social interactions with a wider variety of people.
The absolute best part is that it gives the staff an opportunity to show our participants parts of town they have never explored before, sometimes including our own neighborhoods! This allows the participants to find new interests, see the variety of different communities that Atlanta has to offer, and might even help them find a new place they want to spend their time in and get to know others. I have really enjoyed being able to walk the young adults around the Beltline, close to where I live, and show them some of the places that are important in my life – the parks where I take my dogs, the music venues that play the types of music I think they will like, and my favorite restaurants. Connecting with the participants in this way has really brought a new depth to the hikes – and to the relationships we all share as a group. And… it’s great exercise!
– Kim Evans