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Family First with FOX43: ‘Hike-It Baby’ gives families nature, nurture

WARRINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Spring finally arrived, and not a moment too soon for Kendra Reeder of Carlisle and her three-year-old son Luca.

"We love the outdoors," Kendra says. "It helps us calm down. Plus, (Luca) is a wild child, and prefers to be outside."

On this day, the Reeders are one of a couple dozen families meeting at Gifford Pinchot State Park in York County, ready to embark on a one-mile hike around Pinchot Lake. Kendra is a member of the Harrisburg chapter of 'Hike-It Baby,' a national organization which encourages young families to get outside.

For children, it's an introductory course of Nature 101, all while giving them a chance to burn off excess energy. During this specific hike, kids ranged in age from around Kindergarten to newborns tucked away in their mom's baby carriers.

Meanwhile, parents get a chance to talk to each other about myriad topics. Colette Clark, Harrisburg's branch ambassador, calls it a "support network," where parents can ask each other questions about raising their children.

"We find support to see that it's okay if (your child) has a tantrum or cries. My child isn't talking yet, or when did your child start walking?" Clark explains some of the topics she and the other mothers in the group talk about on walks.

"It's been integral in my life. It changed my sense of motherhood."

Clark admits new moms are sometimes hesitant to leave the house, especially if they're not an outdoors-type person. Hike-It Baby though, she says, offers playground trips, slower toddler walks, and also organized trips to the coffee shop, if hiking isn't your thing.

Annual memberships cost $10, and is good for any of Hike-It Baby's 330 branches nationwide.

For more information on joining, or finding a hike near you, visit their website.