“What is your name and what is your favorite thing about the outdoors?” The answers vary from the wildlife, the smells, the nature sounds, to the plant life and the views of nature. This initial question primes the pump of their minds to begin thinking and engaging with what we’re about to do and where we are doing it at. The rest just kind of happens. The responses they give manifest into reality right before their very eyes. It is almost magical.
If you pay attention you can watch their behavior change. What was once frigid and still, becomes warm and engaging. That is one of my favorite parts of working with youth. Seeing the reserved guarded person start to open up as they realize you care about what you are talking about, but more importantly you care about them. I think that being outdoors is a contributing factor for sure. They are not in a traditional learning environment and they have the trees and the fresh air to stimulate their minds and lungs.
There are so many benefits to being outdoors, some of which I already wrote in a previous post. I think the one that I observed the most is the disarming and energizing effect on a group of complete strangers. By the end of each program there were smiles, laughter, and free flowing conversation. There was no longer the need to coax or convince group participation.
The marvel that is the outdoors can take a young person that is apprehensive of meeting new people or doing new things and bring out the inner person for all to know and enjoy. Just one more wonder that the outdoors has to offer.
Hope From the Trail
Hope From the Trail features original content related to the healthy pursuit of self, others, and nature. Be sure to stay connected for all things outdoors.