March Break is just around the corner! If you are not packing your bags, you might be shuttling kids off to day camp or looking for other ways to keep them busy (and yourself sane).
While there are usually many options available locally for younger kids to participate in during March Break, something changes when your little ones reach the ‘tween-age’ years. Once 12 to 14 hits, your tween might be inclined to make their own plans and ask you to play the part of taxi driver.
Driving older kids around town has significant drawbacks for busy families. Where did all the time and (gas) money go for you? The drive itself even results in a missed opportunity for tweens to build the independence that we know this age group craves.
Thankfully, if you are a resident of the City of Peterborough, you have access to a public transit system that can help with these drawbacks. Why not encourage your almost-young-adult to use public transit, and invite a few friends along for an adventure?
Since 2009, Active School Travel Peterborough, Peterborough Transit, and the City of Peterborough have teamed up to provide free transit passes to every Grade 8 student in Peterborough. Free transit passes are offered through the Grade 8 Transit Quest. This year’s passes and trip planning resources are delivered to the Grade 8 classroom of each Peterborough school. Participating students can ride the bus for free from Friday, March 10th through Sunday, March 19th.
Peterborough Transit provides a safe and accessible alternative to driving. The city is full of great places for kids to visit on their own using the transit system. On the cusp of their high school years, kids are often curious and looking to expand their horizons beyond their immediate neighbourhoods. Taking transit is a win-win, providing an authentic experience that helps build confidence and eliminate mental or physical barriers to independent travel.
Learning to read a transit map, using trip planning resources, and planning a route are all important life skills that will help teens to experience all that their city offers. Learning to do these things alongside friends and peers allows them to make their own plans, learn from one another and build social time into the journey.
Ten local destinations are featured in the Transit Quest passport that Grade 8 students receive this year. These attractions provide incentives which encourage students to visit and to collect experiences as they use the passport.
Several Transit Quest destinations are featured for the first time this year, including local businesses Grey Guardian Games, Liftlock Escape Rooms, and Boardwalk Cafe. They join many favourite and long-standing destinations for this program — Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre, Peterborough Public Library, the YMCA, Zap Attack, Peterborough Museum and Archives, and the Art Gallery of Peterborough.
There is a Transit Quest trip for every interest! Whether it is a half day program at the library to learn cake decorating, a visit to the winter sports exhibit at the Peterborough Museum and Archives, or a free swim at the Peterborough Sport and Wellness Centre, participants will have plenty of activities to keep them engaged this March Break.
“In our local community and around the world, youth are passionate about taking climate action,” says GreenUP director of programs Natalie Stephenson. “Using public transit is an example of an accessible climate action that youth can actively choose to participate in now, and may continue to use wherever their lives will take them. Our youth will help to build the ridership that our public transit systems need to grow and thrive. An experience on our local transit system in Grade 8 and the life skills they gain in this program will transfer to other communities.”
This year’s Grade 8 Transit Quest runs from March 10 to 19, 2023. For more information on the program or destination information, you can visit greenup.on.ca/event/grade-8-transit-quest/ or email Ashley Burnie at email@example.com.