Did you know that 98% of outdoor recreation participants were introduced to it before the age of 18?
What that tells me is that we have some work to do as parents – not just work, but a responsibility – to introduce our children to the benefits of the outdoor world and all the dirt, sand and grass stains that come with it. There is plenty of research and literature about the physical, emotional and mental health benefits of the outdoors for all ages. But if our children are going to benefit from a lifetime of outdoor rejuvenation, physical activity, and wilderness experiences, these statistics reveal that we need to introduce them to it in their youth. While it’s not always easy, in our household we’re working hard to raise our daughter in an environment where daily outdoor playtime and exploration is the norm.
But it takes constant conversation to make a movement, and if we’re going to get #everyfamilyoutdoors then we need to sparking opportunities to discuss with representatives from many sectors, from non-profits to outdoor brands. How can we come together as an industry to support this initiative so that every family, no matter their economic position, can benefit from the outdoors?
Outdoor Families Magazine recently held a forum-style conversation at Outdoor Retailer‘s Summer 2016 Market. At just one hour long, it provides the perspectives of many people working hard to get more children outdoors, and reminds us of the importance of providing those opportunities for them while they are young.