Youth Outdoors USA would love to have your participation in this website!
Welcome to Youth Outdoors USA! We're very glad you found us, and hope you enjoy
your stay immensely. Please take the time to explore the world of outdoor activities
for children and young adults. It may change the way you look at life... and if
you are an adult, maybe this site will show you ways to help your kids enjoy the
We have absolutely nothing against technology and it's profound affect on today's
society, but it would be wonderful if somehow, some way we could all join together
in the quest for reacquainting our youth with the outdoors. Not only can this diversification
of interests help develop a well rounded individual, but we believe it will certainly
begin to rebuild the "family unit" that has apparently disappeared over the last
Although it seems to be more and more difficult to find time to spend with our friends
and family... this is an absolute necessity to ensure a strong USA in the future.
Sometimes taking a step back to "the way things used to be" is a very good thing....
Outdoor BBQ's with neighbors, fishing with our kids, becoming involved in organized
sports, and many other outdoor activities are a step in that direction.
If you would like to become involved with Youth Outdoors USA, we could really use
your help. Whatever interest or expertise you might have related to kids outdoor
activities, please click on the "volunteer" button, complete the simple form, and
we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Should you prefer to help "behind the scenes", we welcome your kids outdoor articles,
photos, stories, or links to other great children's outdoor websites! Just click
on the "submit" buttons throughout this website, and you're on your way to being
a part of Youth Outdoors USA, and helping get families back outside together!
Again, thanks for taking the time to investigate Youth Outdoors USA!
Because Youth Outdoors USA is a non-profit website, we rely almost entirely on your
submissions for content, and thus you will determine just how much we accomplish.
In return, it is our commitment to do the best we can to ensure the highest placement
possible on the major search engines through optimization of all pages. If we are
successful, your kids outdoor articles, photos, and stories will be viewed by thousands,
and possibly millions of people.
There are dozens of pages needing to be filled with your submissions! Each of your
articles, photos, and stories related to youth outdoors can include your name and
other information including a link to your personal or commercial website address,
if you so desire.
If you are not comfortable with your ability to write or maybe you have photos that
need attention, but have great potential, we are happy to edit your submissions,
so that you will be proud to have them shown here.
Bottom line is this... Youth Outdoors USA is the opportunity we believe many people
across our country have been waiting for... to make a difference in the outcome
of this country, and bring our families back together outdoors!
Thanks so much for giving YOUSA a little bit of your day!
STRONGLY RECOMMENDED WEBSITE TO GET KIDS STARTED LEARNING ABOUT THE GREAT OUTDOORS
There are very few sources that have such excellent extensive information on all
A Scientific View of the Importance of the Outdoors to Kids
From Children's Outdoor Play & Learning Environments: Returning to Nature
By Randy White & Vicki Stoecklin
Environmental education needs to start at any early age with hands-on experience
with nature. There is considerable evidence that concern for the environment is based
on an affection for nature that only develops with autonomous, unmediated contact
with it. In their early years, children's developmental tendency towards empathy
with the natural world needs to be supported with free access to an area of limited
size over an extended period of time. It is only by intimately knowing the wonder
of nature's complexity in a particular place that leads to a full appreciation of
the immense beauty of the planet as a whole. In todays society, environmental education
requires that in schools, children have regular personal interaction with as diverse
a natural setting as possible.
The Importance of Nature to Children
Studies have provided convincing evidence that the way people feel in pleasing natural
environments improves recall of information, creative problem solving, and creativity.
Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development
of imagination and the sense of wonder. Wonder is important as a motivator for life
long learning. There is also strong evidence that young children respond more positively
to experiences in the outdoors than adults as they have not yet adapted to unnatural,
man-made, indoor environments.
The natural world is essential to the emotional health of children. Just as children
need positive adult contact and a sense of connection to the wider human community,
they also need positive contact with nature and the chance for solitude and the sense
of wonder that nature offers. When children play in nature they are more likely to
have positive feelings about each other and their surroundings.
Outdoor environments are also important to children's development of independence
and autonomy. Outdoor space allows children to gradually experiment with increasing
distance from their caretaker. While the development of greater independence from
toddlerhood to middle childhood can happen within the confines of indoor spaces,
safe space outdoors greatly adds to the ability of children to naturally experiment
with independence and separation, and the adult's willingness to trust the child's
competence which is essential for separation to happen. This is particularly important
for children who live in small and crowded homes.
Children's Experience with the Natural World
Children's outdoor play is different from time spent indoors. The sensory experiences
are different, and different standards of play apply. Activities which may be frowned
on indoors can be safely tolerated outdoors. Children have greater freedom not only
to run and shout, but also to interact with and manipulate the environment. Children
are free to do 'messy' activities outdoors that won't be tolerated indoors.
Natural outdoor environments have three qualities that are unique and appealing to
children as play environments - their unending diversity; the fact that they are
not created by adults; and their feeling of timelessness - the landscapes, trees,
rivers described in fairy tales and myths still exist today.
Children experience the natural environment differently than adults. Adults typically
see nature as background for what they are doing. Children experience nature, not
as background for events, but rather as a stimulator and experiential component of
their activities. The world of nature is not a scene or even a landscape. Nature
for the child is sheer sensory experience. Children judge the natural setting not
by its aesthetics, but rather by how they can interact with the environment.
Children have a unique, direct and experiential way of knowingthe natural world as
a place of beauty, mystery and wonder. Children's special affinity for the natural
environment is connected to the child's development and his or her way of knowing.
Plants, together with soil, sand, and water, provide settings that can be manipulated.
You can build a trench in the sand and dirt or a rock dam over a stream, but there's
not much you can do to a jungle gym except climb, hang, or fall off. Natural elements
provide for open-ended play that emphasize unstructured creative exploration with
diverse materials. The high levels of complexity and variety nature offers invites
longer and more complex play. Because of their interactive properties, plants stimulate
discovery, dramatic pretend play, and imagination. Plants speak to all of the senses,
so it's not surprising that children are closely attuned to environments with vegetation.
Plants, in a pleasant environment with a mix of sun, shade, color, texture, fragrance,
and softness of enclosure also encourage a sense of peacefulness. Natural settings
offer qualities of openness, diversity, manipulation, exploration, anonymity and
All the manufactured equipment and all the indoor instructional materials produced
by the best educators in the world cannot substitute for the primary experience of
hands-on engagement with nature. They cannot replace the sensory moment where a child's
attention is captured by the phenomena and materials of nature: the dappled sparkle
of sunlight through leaves, the sound and motion of plants in the wind, the sight
of butterflies or a colony of ants, the imaginative worlds of a square yard of dirt
or sand, the endless sensory experience of water, the infinite space in an iris flower.
Learning goes into the wild
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 05/09/2008 02:35:28 AM MDT
COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT — "Dude, just look at this. How cool is this?"
Cameron Renteria, 9, is buzzing with excitement over a patch of sandy earth. It's
shaded by a twisting juniper and ringed by rocks. It has just enough room for him
and two friends to cram onto, unpack their peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and
chatter with bravado about what they'll do if they encounter mountain lions and rattlesnakes.
These boys and many of the 950 other schoolchildren who were bused up the monument
recently to take part in Junior Ranger Day have had few, if any, opportunities to
explore wild places. To them, nature is a little scary, quite foreign, but a very
Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Kara Wattunen, who will be in charge of all Youth
Outdoors USA activities in Minnesota, and all social networking for us, as well as
other responsibilities throughout our website. Here’s Kara!
“I have spent a tremendous amount of time outdoors since a very young age. In fact
since I was only six months old, I have been accompanying my family on canoe trips
into Minnesota's BWCAW. My passion for hunting began at age 8, and I bagged my first
doe at 11!
My love for the outdoors has shaped me in many ways.
I am pursuing my degee in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation in hopes of securing a lifetime
in the wilderness for myself and others.
I have worked at an outfitters and currently am guiding campers into the BWCAW and
on specific deer hunting outings.
I picked up a love for bird hunting as well, and doves are my favorite due to how
fast they fly and the amount of skill it takes to hunt them!
I have taken my love for the outdoors to a national stage by using it as my platform
when competing in pageants. I speak of how important it is that everyone, women
and men, girls and boys, of any race or religion to be involved in someway to the
With a completed degree in Wildlife/Forestry conservation, I hope to open a camp
for children and young adults with special needs that specializes in wilderness therapy.”