originally published on ACACamps.org
In an increasingly connected world, today’s children experience an ever-decreasing connection to the natural world. As a result of hours of screen time, lengthening school days, and increasing participation in organized out-of-school activities, children are spending less time outside than ever before. Because of this lack of outdoor time, their connection to and understanding of their natural surroundings is startlingly absent.
With proven positive impacts of spending time outdoors, it is undeniable that increasing children’s engagement with their natural world should be a priority. Camps are uniquely poised to provide children with a high-quality, engaging experience outdoors that will equip them with the skills, mindset, and passion to continue their natural exploration when they leave camp property. With limited time and resources, it is imperative that camp staff maximize the time they have to share their passion for nature with their campers.
An outdoor education experience must do more than simply provide a camper with information about their surroundings. Ideally, an experience will leave a camper with the following outcomes:
This guide to effective outdoor education explores each of these four outcomes and provides methods to achieving them. Because no guide is comprehensive, this represents a starting point from which a camp program focused on nature can be devised or a training program implemented.
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