In the book, “The Story of Kennett: Shaping Our Future One Child at a Time”, a chapter is devoted to looking at a path forward for Kennett. One of the recommendations was to recognize the importance of getting ourselves and our families outside and into nature.
Joan and I wrote in the book; "The School of the Woods: Sir Robert Baden-Powell used the phrase “scouting was a school of the woods.” As scout leaders and individuals who love the outdoors we think the outdoors can be and should be part of ‘shaping the future one child at a time.’ Getting out in nature is a practice that we need to be intentional about in providing the best environment for our kids, and scouting is just one of the ways to do that. The book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv is a strong statement about how our children are missing out on the lessons of nature, and how this deprivation also affects their healthy development. Community youth programs have opportunities to add both arts and nature dimension to their outreach, and many are already doing this. Promoting the arts and getting out in nature are not new ideas, but as our overall society, Kennett is also at risk in losing this focus and our children missing out on the learning that helps develop their fullest potential."
The “best practice” of getting outside into nature is important at so many levels. We are spending so much time at our desks and glued to our screens, working, watching videos, playing games and participating in social media instead of moving and getting outside.
Three of the major benefits of getting out are; 1) We have been given this great gift of earth and if we use it up and throw it away we don’t have a spare. By getting outside and developing an understanding of the nature of this treasure we will have a greater understanding of what sacrifices are needed to care for its eventual 9 billion inhabitants, sustainably, and forever. We can do this. I saw the DuPont Company make sacrifices by getting out of the billion dollar Freon business with implementation of the Montreal protocol which has saved our ozone layer. Just last month the EPA published a paper that estimated in our children’s lifespan, the average temperature would raise by 7 degrees. So what should we do about the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards? Now 7 degrees of more heat every day on this earth is a “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” kind of prediction with pests living through the winters, famine and a lot more 500 year storms like Florence. Not to mention cities like New York and Miami losing large segments of neighborhoods. We need to own the future of our planet and work globally to understand what we can do to ameliorate the effects of the 40 billion tons of CO2 we add to the atmosphere in greenhouse gases every year. We must not give up and just let the 7 degrees happen.
2) We are fat and getting fatter and sitting is the new smoking according to Dr. James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. We need to stand, move, exercise and get outside into the fresh air. Almost 40% of white adults are already clinically obese and the trends are getting worse.
3) Because going outside is fun. Have you ever climbed Mount Rainier, or walked the Camino de Santiago, canoed a back water river, caught a trout on a fly rod, run six miles on a Saturday morning from Buckley’s Tavern through chateaux country, walked the Appalachian Trail, or strolled the beaches of Delaware looking for seashells? These are all examples of experiences so profound that they or something like them should be on your bucket list. Your life will be much richer with a robust outdoor life.
Take a minute to think of two or three of the best times of your life that you experienced in the outdoors. If some of them aren’t some of the best experiences of your entire life you’re not getting out enough. Just eating a meal cooked with fresh vegetables from your garden or a fresh trout you brought home from a morning fishing expedition on a back country creek is an experience you can cherish. So listen to the Story of Kennett and get outside and bring your kids and grandkids.