Naturally fun: A day of wilderness activities in Brooklyn

Drawn to archery: Rasaan Bonair of Millennium Development shows Sebastian Millien how to how to fire a bow and arrow.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Brooklyn’s young city slickers got to experience the great outdoors without leaving the borough on April 16.

The Gateway National Recreation Area and youth organization Millennium Development Corporation hosted a Spring Fling at Floyd Bennet Field — part of the borough’s only national park — to give local public school kids a taste of outdoor activities they don’t usually get a chance to enjoy, like archery and camping.

It was also a chance for them to build a sense of community, one organizer said.

“The Spring Fling gives children another reason to be invested in their school,” said Roy H. Mann archery instructor Mike Amari, who also works with Millennium Development.

Kids hiked to the park’s archery range and learned to shoot a bow and arrow, got expert instruction on how to build a camp fire, and learned the ins and outs of pitching a tent — something that comes in handy at the ony park in Brooklyn where camping is permitted.

Urban kayaking: Park rangers and Millenium Development director Paul Curiale taught kids how to kayak — though the youth didn’t actually hit the water.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Park rangers even showed the students how to kayak — though the boats never actually hit the water. Instead the would-be mariners sat in dry-docked boats and got a primer in paddling.

Students got a bit of a history lesson during their spring break, too. They visited the air field’s Hangar B and got to check out some historic airplanes and make their own “nose art” — the cartoons often painted on the nose of old war planes.

The free event was funded as part of the city’s Out-of-School Time program, which creates after-school programming for students.

Amari mostly teaches archery on campus at Mann, and he said he’s already excited for the next big outdoor outing.

“Any chance we get to go to Floyd Bennet Field, I’ll take it,” he said.

Nice wheels: Nyssa Clark Griles gears up for a trail ride.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.

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