2017-10-18 / Sports & Outdoors

Exploring Our Big Backyard

By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer


Amber Kapiloff of Farmington supervises Theo Stone, 15 months, of Farmington and Abel Tomazin, 20 months, of Kingfield during a recent Our Big Backyard gathering at Flint Woods in Farmington. (Submitted photo) Amber Kapiloff of Farmington supervises Theo Stone, 15 months, of Farmington and Abel Tomazin, 20 months, of Kingfield during a recent Our Big Backyard gathering at Flint Woods in Farmington. (Submitted photo) FRANKLIN COUNTY — When new moms Amber Kapiloff of Farmington and Indira Tomazin of Kingfield met, there was a lot of interest among others at their breast feeding support group to form a play group. “It was a wonderfully, great support system but the play group never happened,” noted Tomazin.

Kapiloff and Tomazin decided to move forward with a group of their own; one focused on creating opportunities for little ones to experience the outdoors. The group —Our Big Backyard— meets once a week, no matter the weather or season and families are encouraged to join in.

The goal is to get families outside, learning, creating and enjoying what Kapiloff and Tomazin see as the region’s best attribute — the natural environment. “It is so important for our kids to be outside. It is the best way to develop a love of nature so when they grow up, they will want to protect the outdoors and keep these places special,” said Tomazin, who takes part in the weekly events with her 20 month old son, Abel.

Recently, the group met at Campbell Field and explored the banks of the Carrabassett River via Mike’s Mile. They have also explored Flint Woods in Farmington. Locations for group events vary in hopes that more families from different communities can have the opportunity to join in.

Thursday, Oct. 12, the group will meet at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center in Carrabassett Valley at 3:30 p.m. to explore the Outdoor Center Pond. Monday, Oct. 16, the group will meet in Farmington at 3:30 p.m. for a Flint Woods adventure. Tuesday, Oct. 24, the group will meet at the Kingfield Gateway Parking Lot at 3:30 p.m. to explore the fields and learn about the wind.

The group is open to children up to 5 years old. So far, young explorers have all been under 3 and so, rather than have set nature lesson plans, kids are encouraged to explore what they find interesting in an unstructured and spontaneous forum. “We just teach what we can along the way. When we explored Mike’s Mile, we ended up swimming in the Carrabassett River,” explained Tomazin.

“It’s all about the kiddos getting out, getting fresh air, and learning a few things along the way,” said Myra Coffin of Kingfield. Coffin recently joined Our Big Backyard for an adventure with her charge Clara Parks, 2, of Carrabassett Valley. She said the unstructured pace was just right for young ones.

“We also want to encourage new moms who are looking for a connection to join us,” noted Tomazin.

Kapiloff and Tomazin said they feel lucky to live in such a beautiful corner of this world. “We want to teach our kids, and yours, to appreciate that, as well,” said Tomazin.

For more information about upcoming events, find Our Big Backyard on Facebook or Instagram or email amberamberose@gmail.com.

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