Take me outside. Our response to these three words are what will make the difference between a generation of sedentary, obese and uninvolved youth, or happy, healthy and socially engaged ones. As adults we have a responsibility to make the right choice.
There exists an organization, aptly named Take Me Outside, that is working towards getting our kids into the great outdoors. The mission statement on their website takemeoutside.ca says it all.
We believe in the power of outdoor experiential learning. We believe in the countless benefits that having a relationship with nature brings. We believe in getting youth outside and active and hope to promote this message through various means of advocacy, including an apparel initiative to get students outside of the classroom. Take Me Outside is a non profit organization whose next project is to run across Canada, encouraging youth to get outside, be active and reconnect with nature.
The “next project” is well under way and Colin Harris is making amazing strides. Colin launched his run across Canada 251 days ago in Newfoundland and crossed into Alberta on September 17th. He is running to raise awareness and is making stops along the way to speak at schools and to community groups (over 75 already) about the benefits of getting outside. I have been told that he recently lost his support vehicle driver when they had to unexpectedly drop out. Colin was faced with making the decision to call it quits or keep on going. His strong belief in the cause wouldn’t let him quit. He’s on his own now and will be arriving in Calgary soon (likely Monday September 26th). It would be great if he could receive a warm reception and some words of encouragement from anyone in the area. Don’t live in Calgary? Jump on the website and send him a message and while you’re there, be sure to buy an “Ask your teacher to take you outside” t-shirt (also available at Mountain Equipment Co-op) and connect on Facebook.
If you are a parent that wants to help further the cause, here are the three biggest ways that you can make a difference to your own family, and your community.
- Outdoor Play – Spend some time outdoors being active rather than cooped up inside. Anything that is going to get your family moving…ride a bike, take a walk, play at the park, go CAMPING!
- Outdoor Learning – Time spent outdoors during school hours. Lesson plans that include time outside for projects and to reinforce concepts and curriculum engage the students and can improve participation and academic performance. Become an outdoor advocate by ensuring that your school as well as the school board know you believe that outdoor learning is an important component of your children’s education and encourage them to make including it a goal.
- Active Transportation – An excellent way to guarantee that you and your children achieve at least the minimum amount of daily exercise required for optimum health is to walk or ride your bike to school or work.
Give your family the greatest gifts there are… health, confidence and time spent together. Get outside.