It's all about the kids

The physical benefits are obvious, but other benefits are more subtle and no less important. Take the development of cognitive functioning. According to a range of studies, children in outdoor-education settings show increases in self-esteem, problem solving, and motivation to learn. "Natural spaces and materials stimulate children's limitless imaginations," says Robin Moore, an international authority on the design of environments for children's play, learning, and education, "and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity."

Take the time to get outdoors with a child this winter. I'd far prefer that my kid is on the mountain than at the mall. Take a look at California's Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights; does it fit your family's beliefs?

The California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights recommends a fundamental list of experiences that every child would benefit from experiencing, before entering high school.

Numerous studies document that children who do these things are healthier, do better in school, have better social skills and self-image, and lead more fulfilled lives.

Objective: That every child in California, by the completion of their 14th year, have the opportunity to experience each of the activities listed within the California Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.

Every child should have the opportunity to:

1. Discover California's past

2. Splash in the water

3. Play in a safe place

4. Camp under the stars

5. Explore nature

6. Learn to swim

7. Play on a team

8. Follow a trail

9. Catch a fish

10. Celebrate their heritage

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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