The Joy of Discovery: Childhood and Our Greenways

By Robbie Sweetser, Incoming Board President

Do you remember the first time you rode out of your neighborhood on your own bicycle? You were probably with other neighbor kids on a summer day in search of unknown adventure and dreams.

It was 1963. I was ten. Steve, Randy, and I told our mothers we were going riding. We didn’t plan on leaving the neighborhood. It just happened. Before we knew it our boundaries expanded exponentially! New roads, new sights, new adventures. This was the beginning of our movement from childhood to adolescence. We were free!

That summer was full of quests. Riding to the local shopping center to read comic books over orange freezes, riding to swimming pools, stopping to wade in creeks, riding to ball games, crashing onto cool grassy banks on the return home to lie and make stories about the clouds billowing overhead. The wind blew on our sweating faces as we made the rounds of our new discoveries.

This feeling of freedom and discovery is why I support Connect Buncombe. Our children today seldom have those experiences of 1963. Times have changed. We hover more over our children. There is much to hold their attention elsewhere. But experiencing the world on your own terms, discovering nature in its raw potential, having full control of where you next turn develops young minds and bodies; imagination, creativity, endurance, friendship, independence.

Greenways allow our young people to take control of a portion of their own life…stopping to explore a spring pool of tadpoles, discovering the rope swing dropping into the French Broad River, developing their sense of independence and responsibility.

Let’s make more greenways a reality so that our children can blossom and grow just as we did. How? Support Connect Buncombe and let your county commissioners know that greenways matter.

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