A trip down Austin’s trail of children’s rights

By Gordon Lambie
A trip down Austin’s trail of  children’s rights
(Photo : Gordon Lambie)

Just alongside North Road in the municipality of Austin is Shappie Trough Park, which appears at first glance to be just a roadside picnic spot with a small plaque about local history. Just a few steps into the forest from there, however, is a hidden treasure that Lisette Maillé, the Mayor of Austin, says she hopes will soon attract families from across the region: the Trail of Children’s Rights.
Austin’s trail is one of several similar but distinct pathways around the world and one of only two recognized at this point in North America. The local version highlights five of the rights outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: the right to play, the right to be protected, the right to speak out and to be heard, the right to learn, and the right to be different. These rights are represented in five stations along a short path, including an elaborate outdoor theatre space, an outdoor playground made of ropes and wood, and information panels with idea of activities and questions to inspire deeper thought about the right being explored at each stop.

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