As a child, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, saw being outdoors as necessary to his mental and physical health. “The woods were my Ritalin,” he writes. “Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
But convincing teens of the positive side effects of outdoor exposure isn’t always easy. That’s why the Boy Scouts of America and the Outdoor Foundation are teaming up to create a digital community for “outsiders”—boys and girls who share a passion for the outdoors.
The Outdoor Nation Web site uses sharp graphics and a clear message to “inspire and empower future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.” To accomplish this goal, the site offers visitors an online community where they can meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts, complete outdoor-themed missions, and earn free gear. But don’t worry, parents. All of this fun is moderated to ensure that visitors aren’t exposed to inappropriate content.
The BSA isn’t the Outdoor Foundation’s only teammate on this initiative. Thirty other organizations are on board, including The North Face, REI, the National Park Service, YMCA, and the American Hiking Society.
The fun has already begun, and the first 500 members ages 13 to 30 get a free T-shirt for signing up. So don’t delay in passing this information on to your Scouts today.