Community

Naval Avenue will help kids be ‘born learning’

Leadership Kitsap “The Marksmen” team members Jennifer Forbes and Jeff Pfost install a sign on the trail they and their team members helped construct at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center. - Steven DeDual/ staff photo
Leadership Kitsap “The Marksmen” team members Jennifer Forbes and Jeff Pfost install a sign on the trail they and their team members helped construct at Naval Avenue Early Learning Center.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/ staff photo

The Naval Avenue Early Learning Center has been at the forefront of early childhood education in Bremerton for several years now. Thanks to a team from Leadership Kitsap (LK), the facility now has a walkable trail on which learning can take place for area families.

The LK team, The Marksmen, is made up of Carl Borg, Jennifer Forbes, Staci Fuller, Beth Leone-Mullins, Brenda McDaniels and Jeff Pfost.

The team’s name was chosen because of the words on a Pepsi can, according to Fuller.

“The can had the words ‘Have you left your mark?’ on it and we thought, let’s leave our mark,” she said.

The team built the trail on the track at the Naval Avenue Early Learning Center, which consists of interactive activities for children, youth and adults posted on signs around the track. The messages on the signs are meant to encourage interaction “through teachable moments with young children.”

Fuller said the goal of the project was to get the community involved and not just to raise money.

“We had a limit of what we could actually spend,” she said. “We had to get local businesses to help out.”

It wasn’t so hard to do as many businesses and organizations in the area were excited to help out, she added. United Way of Kitsap County provided a grant to purchase the signs, Kitsap Lumber donated the posts and hardware to hang the signs, the Bremerton School District provided the labor to set the posts, Home Depot provided the paint for each play station and Costco is providing refreshments for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, May 6.

“Most businesses were excited to help out,” Fuller said. “Kitsap Lumber didn’t even hesitate.”

The Born Learning Trail is an idea which gained life through United Way, according to Patricia Hennessy, director of resource development for United Way of Kitsap County.

“Born Learning is a national campaign and it is more or less led by United Ways of America,” she said. “At the local level there are a number of community partners, and we are one of those partners.”

The idea of the trail is a basic staple of life, she explained.

“Life is about learning,” she said. “What born learning is about is taking everyday moments, whether it’s in the grocery store, cooking in the kitchen or driving in the car and turning them into teachable moments.”

Hennessy said she is a big believer in the program and is glad there is one locally now.

“I am absolutely thrilled to death we have a trail,” she said. “You want to talk about economic stimulus packages, invest in kids.”

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