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LETTER: 'I’m 13 years old…I want to scooter at the skate park and play tennis with my family'

'It feels like no one is noticing how detrimental these closures are on my age group,' letter-writer says
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InnisfilToday received the following letter from 13-year-old Daniel James in regards to the closure of recreational outdoor facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic:

My name is Daniel, I’m 13 years old and I’m a resident of Innisfil.  I would like to express my frustration about the closures of outdoor recreational facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and skateparks.

The benefit of children being in the outdoors, being active and breathing fresh air improves the health of the body and improves mental health.  All of this aids the immune system to fight off any sickness we might face.

I appreciate that we can still play at playgrounds, but honestly, I’m 13 years old…I want to scooter at the skate park and play tennis with my family.   It has been over a year of ‘staying home’.  I can’t go to school, I can’t see my friends, I can’t go to my TaeKwonDo, I can’t do swimming lessons, I can’t go to my Church or Youth Group, summer camp was cancelled - the loss that kids my age have suffered and the things we have missed out on are huge.  It feels like no one is noticing how detrimental these closures are on my age group.

I’m learning about taxes and about how cities and municipalities work and I’m realizing that these recreational facilities exist because of tax-payers money.  Often they are built to keep the youth of the city occupied and out of trouble.  Now I’m only 13 and haven’t paid taxes yet, but one day I will.   Nobody consulted the public tax-payers before closing the places that they paid for.   

We can easily use certain alternatives to closures such as signs that inform people to use the spaces at their own risk.   Even at the young age of 13 I’ve been taught about taking personal responsibility, making good choices about my own body, about cause and effect, and about analyzing risk and benefit.  I believe that we should be allowed more freedom to use our own judgement and decide whether or not to use these facitlities.

How many more months will it be of not living life and enjoying the things that 13 years olds should be enjoying?

Please open recreational facilities. 

Just so you know, I sent this letter to my MPP, Andrea Khanjin, Mayor Dollin and Doug Ford.  Please do what you can to help me and kids my age.  

Daniel James

Innisfil, ON