When Kaitlyn Ginrich attended a Hike It Baby event in Chester County, she fell head over hiking shoes in love with the concept.
“I came home that night and I’m like, ‘I’m starting this in my area because it would be great,” Gingrich said.
And start it, she did.
Hike It Baby Harrisburg now has more than 750 local members. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, even caregivers can log onto a website and find hikes to join free of charge. The hikes take place anywhere from parks to trails to shopping malls.
The effort is volunteer-driven and even new members are encouraged to plan different adventures.
“You can go on the website, you will see whether you should wear a carrier…whether little legs can do it,” Gingrich said. “Whether you could bring a stroller.”
For most parents, it’s not just about a love of fitness or even a love of nature, but a love of people. It’s about making connections with people who simply understand.
“It’s a really great way for me to meet other moms in the area because I’m a stay-at-home mom,” said Janine Kupko of Linglestown, who brings her young son. “It’s a good way for him to play with other kids his age. It’s been very positive for us.”
“It’s a great place to get out and have wonderful moms to help support my crazy crew,” said Candice Rudy of Hampden Township.
“It helps me feel supported, understood and less isolated as a new mother,” said Hike It Baby Harrisburg co-leader Colette Clarke. “Additionally, it’s a great venue for my daughter to socialize with other children.”
“You can ask people about what they’re feeding their child or what they do when they go to a restaurant with a new baby,” Gingrich said. “Everyone’s there to support you.”
And an added bonus; healthy, happy, exhausted kids.
“Those are like golden days for me,” Kupko said of the days she participates in hikes. “He sleeps well at night when we hike so it’s a win-win for us.”
“Get them to explore nature and burn off energy so they sleep,” Rudy said. “Sleep is great.”
Despite the name Hike It Baby, the group welcomes kids of all ages. There are no limitations.
If you’d like more information about Hike It Baby you visit their website at https://hikeitbaby.com/ or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/hikeitbabyharrisburg/ For security reasons, you will have to request to join the Facebook group.