The Bear Creek Academy, a therapeutic day school for students ages 11- 18 with learning and emotional disabilities. To honor the end of the academic year, the Academy graduated one student and 15 additional students achieved citizen and/or academic awards.
Bear Creek Lake State Park Academy graduation ceremony
Mr. Jeb Wilkinson, Chief Deputy Director for the Department of Conservation and Recreation was the keynote speaker praising the youth for their contribution to the state park system as a whole. The student hours are calculated among an inventory of state-wide volunteer hours which totaled more than 256,500 hours last year. Over the past several years the youth have worked on such projects as the Archery Range, the campground, the bird boxes, a footbridge, trail maintenance and even a written contribution to the Virginia State Parks’ blog.
“They do an amazing amount of work that otherwise would be left unfinished or not even undertaken in the first place,” said Joey Dayton, Assistant Park Manager whose responsibility each week is to oversee the group.
Bear Creek Academy graduate receiving certificate
As a token of appreciation the park staff presented the Academy with an engraved granite stone commemorating their vital participation with planting five large native red oak as a result of the successful Odwalla project. Additionally, each student received a state park day-pack and water bottle. In return, the students created and presented two plaques, one to the park staff and the other to the Friends of Bear Creek Lake. A memorable time was had by all.
Friends of Bear Creek Lake have fun while preparing the graduation meal
Bear Creek Lake State Park is located in Cumberland County, Virginia and less than an hour west of Richmond and nestled in the heart of Cumberland State Forest. Bear Creek Lake is the perfect getaway for the outdoor enthusiast. Activities center on the park's 40-acre lake complete with a boat launch, fishing pier, boat rentals and swimming beach. The park offers camping, cabins, a meeting facility, an archery range, lakeside picnicking, playgrounds, hiking and access to a 14-mile multi-use trail in the state forest.