Martinsville Youth Take Part in Passport Challenge

Martinsville, VA - The Harvest Foundation in Martinsville is on a mission to make sure kids and parents know all the activities the community has to offer.

The foundation held their first ever Youth Passport Challenge at the Smith River Sports Complex Sunday.

"One of the big things that you always hear kids say is that there's really nothing to do. There are all kinds of things to do," said parent Mark Gilbert.

At the Youth Passport Challenge at the Smith River Sports Complex in Axton, families had several organizations laid out in front of them that have recreational and educational opportunities for children.

"About a year ago an invitation went out to make a collaborative of organizations to come together to coordinate a program, and this is like rolling out the programs, what's going to be going on, so we can keep our youth engaged," said 4-H Extension Agent for Henry County and Martinsville, Brian Hairston.

Organizers made learning about the programs more of a journey.

"When they come through the gate, they get a passport and a backpack and each station is set up, so they have to go through like a challenge to get their passport stamped or signed and then once they go to all the stations, their name will go into a drawing," said Hairston.

Families and organizations say the event is a win-win situation.

"I wanted to bring my daughter out here just to show her that you don't have to stay at home all the time. We've already found some organizations that we weren't even aware that existed here in Martinsville because of the booths being set up so we're glad we came out and saw that," Gilbert said.

"I think we'll maybe bring in some new kids who didn't know about our summer classes and see what we have to offer," said Amy Reed, from the Artisan Center.

"This is a great time for the parent and youth to come together so they'll have an idea of what's going on in the community," Hairston said.

Some of the organizations at the event included Piedmont Arts, Cross Point Church, and the Tactfully Teamed Riding Academy.

Organizers say the event was successful and they hope to bring it back again next year.