Filling a Need: Nonprofit Creates Safe Spaces for Kids to Explore Outdoors
With help from York College, Taylere Green ’23 successfully launched and grew her nonprofit during the pandemic.
The mud was everywhere. Of the 40 or so kids making mud paintings with Little Explorerz at Richard M. Nixon Park, at least half had mud caked on their clothes and clumped in their hair. A few parents even had it streaked across their faces like the eye black that football players use. But there were smiles everywhere, too, and that meant Taylere Green ’23 had done her job.
A York College of Pennsylvania Sociology major and mother of two, Taylere founded the nonprofit outdoor play group in 2021 so that kids and their families could get outside and play in safe spaces.
With the support of York College programs, professors, and resources the venture has expanded further and faster than she ever expected.
Getting kids outside and into the park
COVID-19 precautions pushed people to isolate indoors. But as the months dragged on, Taylere found herself feeling cooped up. Growing up in Alaska, she was always outside. She wanted to help her kids and others to love the outdoors as much as she did. So as pandemic restrictions lifted, she began to form a plan.
“We need to figure out how to get kids together,” she says. “That’s how it blossomed.”
Taylere didn’t work alone. The York College Changemakers, who innovate and cultivate sustainable social change through community partnerships, played a role in the development and success of Little Explorerz along with teachers, community members, social workers, and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“We believe in the power of teamwork,” Taylere says. “York College has really grasped on to this nonprofit and we’ve worked together.”
Making the outdoors accessible
Free to all, programs are offered every two weeks, with varying levels and curriculums to accommodate all age groups. The meetup locations range from Farquhar Park in York City to Rocky Ridge Park in Springettsbury Township so kids across York County can attend.
“We make it doable for every family,” Taylere says.
Equity in programming, equitable access to outdoor spaces, diversity in leadership, and program accessibility are the four pillars on which the program was built. And it’s not just for children. Family members are invited to join in.
“There’s a sense of community and a sense of family when you come to our sessions,” Taylere says.
Just getting started
Taylere felt that York College had her back every step of the way. For every question she had, there was someone to find the answer for her. If an answer wasn’t apparent, the College provided her with resources so she could find it herself.
Taylere is planning summer sessions for Little Explorerz, creating a two-day-a-week camp and a few overnight field trips. As the program grows, she’s working toward sustainability, with the hopes of attaching it to a stable nonprofit.
Seeing a need in the community and filling the void has had a huge impact on Taylere.
“It has really changed my life for the positive,” she says, “and I can’t wait to keep making positive impacts on the community.”
Find meetup information for kids and parents plus volunteer information for York College students in the Little Explorerz Facebook group.