Sunday, April 5, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day

By Swift Nature Camp

Million people across America celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970. It was a bad time for the environment, their was smog and polluted rivers caught fire. Today, Earth Day is celebrated annually no longer natiionally but around the world. It was the efforts of grassroots organizations, and citizens like you, combined with the government that started this day of environmental recognition which has evolved into a worldwide campaign celebrating our environment.

The earth is in better shape than those early days yet, there is a staggering divide between children and the outdoors. Richard Louv, child advocacy expert, directly blames the lack of nature in the lives on today's wired generation. He calls this phonomenon nature-deficit order and he links it to some of the most alarming trends for our kids. Including rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children. The bottom Line we and our youth need to spend time outdoors.

Schools have realized this for some time. Teacher Judith Millar, Lucy Holman School, Jackson, NJ, more than five years ago, began an environmental project in the school's courtyard. It has become quite an undertaking--even gaining state recognition. It contains several habitat areas, including a Bird Sanctuary, a Hummingbird/ Butterfly Garden, A Woodland Area with a pond, and a Meadow. My classes have always overseen the care of this "Outdoor Classroom", but now it's practically a full time job!! My students currently maintain the Bird Sanctuary--filling seed and suet feeders, filling the birdbaths, building birdhouses, even supplying nesting materials! In addition, this spring they will be a major force in the clean up and replanting process. They always have energy and enthusiasm for anything to do with "their garden".

Despite schools doing their best to get kids to play outside, we as a nation have lost the ability to just send our kids out to play. Yet, it seems we are learning that Summer Camps help children grow into mature adults. A new British study finds that most modern parents overprotect their kids. Half of all kids have stopped climbing trees, and 17 percent have been told that they can't play tag or chase. Even hide-and-seek has been deemed dangerous. And that dreaded stick..."will put out someone's eye".

Can technology be the blamefor the decline in outdoor play? Adrian Voce says "Children are not being allowed many of the freedoms that were taken for granted when we were children," "They are not enjoying the opportunities to play outside that most people would have thought of as normal when they were growing up."

According to the Guardian, "Voce argued that it was becoming a 'social norm' for younger children to be allowed out only when accompanied by an adult. 'Logistically that is very difficult for parents to manage because of the time pressures on normal family life,' he said. 'If you don't want your children to play out alone and you have not got the time to take them out then they will spend more time on the computer.'

Many play providers see the benefits to children of taking risks. "Risk-taking increases the resilience of children," said one. "It helps them make judgments," said another. We as parents want to play it safe and we need to rethink thr benefit of adventure in a childs life.

Examples of risky play that should be encouraged include fire-building, den-making, watersports and climbing trees. These are all activities that a Summer camp can provide. At camp children to get outside take risks and play, this while being supervised by responsible young adults.

Swift Nature Camp is a Traditional OUTDOOR CAMP in Wisconsin. Where Boys and Girls Ages 6-15. enjoy Nature, Animals & Science along with Traditional camping activities. Swift is a Nature Camp that develops a childs desire to know more about nature but also on acquiring a deep respect for it. Our philosophy is to engage children in fun-filled learning through active participation and natural curiosity.

Our Noncompetive atmosphere promotes all skill levels. Swift Nature Camp provides activities that allows children to excel and enjoy thus, giving each camper the opportunity to participate and have fun, rather than worry about results.

Out-of-camp trips, such as biking, canoeing, backpacking and horse trips are a great way to get kids out in nature. Kids love to discover new worlds and learn to be comfortable in them. This is why Swift is so much more than just a SCIENCE SUMMER CAMP.

Earth day has provided so much..but their is more we can learn from nature. This summer help your child regain their appreciation for nature by sending them to Swift Nature Camp. This is an opportunity that will be treasured the rest of your child's life.

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