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Movement Seeks to Connect Kids with the Outdoors and Embrace the “Power of Awe”
(Denver, Colo.) – May 30, 2023 – Generation Wild, Colorado’s leader in the youth-and-outdoors movement created by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), today launched its latest summer campaign, ‘Share This Wonder-Full World.’ The goal of this campaign is to reach parents across Colorado and remind them that they are their children’s most important role models and motivate them to set their kids up for a lifelong love of the outdoors.
The competition to keep kids indoors and on screens is growing at an alarming rate.A study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that higher parental screen time was associated with higher child screen time. In 2012, the video game market size was $33.75 billion. Today, it’s $90.13 billion—setting a new all-time industry record.
“This summer we’re reminding parents that where they go, their children will follow. And couldn’t we all use a breath of fresh air?” said GOCO Executive Director Jackie Miller. “The more families explore the great outdoors together, the more they’ll find, so we’re providing inspiration to help families make memories together outside, from the backyard to the backcountry.”
A study from National Library of Medicine found that parents can help improve their children’s health by increasing their own healthy lifestyle behaviors. Another study from the Univ. of Minnesota found that kids of active dads were 3.5 times more likely to be active, and 2.5 times more likely if they had an active mom.
Experiencing awe also provides amazing health benefits to kids and adults alike, which is why the campaign reconnects families to the wonders of nature. A sense of awe can be found just about anywhere from vast, open landscapes to the tiniest, vibrantly colored flower in your neighbor’s garden. A UC Berkeley study found that regularly experiencing awe can improve both physical and mental health, perhaps even lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, clinical depression, heart disease and arthritis.
“As you walk outside, take time to notice—really notice—the sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations you’re experiencing,” said Miller. “Point them out and encourage your kids to do the same. Find awe as you play in the dirt, climb up a tree or race through a field. Slowing down and being present in the moment can be amazingly rewarding.”
As part of its ‘Share This Wonder-Full World’ campaign, Generation Wild has created spectacular billboards to appear across the Denver-metro area. The billboards integrate natural, awe-inspiring elements. One billboard is designed to attract real birds, created with the support of local nature shop, Wild Birds Unlimited. Another incorporates shadows. As the sun moves across the sky the shadow of a family playing outdoors will move across the board.
This summer, Generation Wild will provide Wonder-Full moments to connect kids with nature at various cultural events across Colorado, including:
Wilder, Generation Wild’s popular part goat, part yeti, and all friend spokescreature, will make appearances and Generation Wild will set up games and hand out swag, including posters and stickers made by local Colorado artists.
On Wednesday, June 21, communities across Colorado are invited to take part in Generation Wild Day. GOCO’s partners, including Generation Wild coalitions, are scattering hopscotch courses across the state. Parents can keep an eye on social media to see where the tracks will be or can grab some chalk and build their own close to home, tagging @GenerationWildColorado on Facebook or Instagram to share photos and videos. After all, this community did recently achieve the world record for the world’s longest hopscotch.
Generation Wild was created by GOCO to reconnect kids with nature by increasing the amount of time they spend outside in unstructured play – the kind of play that used to be way more common. The program is an integrated, statewide effort supported by a statewide network of non-profit, public and private partner organizations. In 12 Colorado communities, diverse, locally based Generation Wild coalitions are creating equitable access to the outdoors with new places to play, outdoor programs, and pathways to leadership opportunities and jobs in the outdoors.
Additionally, Generation Wild’s 100 Things To Do Before You’re 12 list is a great resource for accessible outdoor play ideas.