Picton, ON – Over the past week, youth from around the province congregated in The County to participate in the Come Alive Outside Design Challenge, an event hosted by Wentworth Landscapes in partnership with the Come Alive Outside organization and Landscape Ontario. The program brought top Landscape Design and Landscape Management students together to create design concepts for a natural play area at The HUB Child Care Centre and school grounds at Massassaga-Rednersville Elementary School. Participating students came from Ryerson University, Seneca College, Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, and Prince Edward Collegiate Institute. Participants were told that their designs should encourage kids to reconnect with nature. These designs will be considered at the Landscape Ontario Congress in January, and the winning design will be constructed at The Hub in the spring and summer of 2017.
Councillor Bill Roberts, Chair of the Community and Economic Development Commission (CEDC), was invited to give the keynote address at the event’s Welcome Dinner. In that speech, he highlighted some of The County’s qualities that make it such an appropriate host to the Come Alive Outside event. “Being an authentic rural community, a prominent food producer and agricultural region, The County has always been connected to nature,” said Councillor Roberts. “It is very fitting that we are playing host to this event that promotes building a renewed connection with nature. We are hearing more and more stories from newcomers that have made the decision to move to The County, away from urban sprawl, to get that connection for themselves so that they and their children can live healthier lives.” Following his keynote address, Councillor Roberts led an informal round table with the students to discuss how communities, landscapers and individuals can design nature back into our lives.
The Design Challenge also provided the CEDC an excellent opportunity to further its youth retention & attraction program. The County’s Director of Community Development, Neil Carbone, says that “The County has so much to offer young people, so many new and inspiring opportunities—especially for entrepreneurs in the skilled trades. We are seeing steady growth in our region, both in terms of new businesses and new residents. All of these people are going to be needing services provided by skilled labour, and we’re going to need a lot more skilled workers to keep up with that demand.”
The County’s sponsorship of Come Alive Outside aligned with the CEDC’s objective of enhancing the County’s community and cultural assets, which is a component of the Community Development Strategic Plan Goal 3 – A Vibrant and Beautiful Community. Additionally, the event aligns with the CEDC’s youth retention & attraction program, which is a part of The County’s commitment to developing a business-friendly environment, as outlined in the municipality’s Corporate Strategic Plan.
Please watch the Orientation Video below and find the full details of the program in the Program Overview. Students will also want to use the resources below to prepare for the Design Charrete. If you have any questions, please contact Come Alive Outside.