Youth Guiding Program
“…A growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature—in positive ways. Several of these studies suggest that thoughtful exposure of youngsters to nature can even be a powerful form of therapy for attention-deficit disorders and other maladies. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.”
– Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
In his excellent book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv identifies a malady he calls “nature deficit disorder” and the role of “getting outside” to treat it.
Studies suggest that nature may be useful as a therapy for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADBD) used with or, when appropriate, even replacing medications or behavioral therapies. Some researchers now recommend that parents and educators make available more nature experiences-especially green places-to children with ADHD, and thereby support their attentional functioning and minimize their symptoms. Indeed, this research inspires use of the broader term “nature deficit disorder” as a way to help us better understand what many children experience, whether or not they have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Parents and doctors notice that nature engages and soothe children there are multiple studies, in fact, that conclude that an outdoor, “green” environment and activities induce deeper thinking, a calmer disposition, and better retention of information. These studies, combined with objective observations, have prompted doctors to actually “prescribe” outdoor experiences and activities for children with ADHD symptoms and diagnoses. At ORA we believe we can all agree that outdoor experiences can provide an array of positive effects on anyone, young or old!
As an answer to this call to get our youth outside ORA has develop our Youth Guiding Program. This program is intended for kids in grades 5 – 12. The basics of the program are; Grades 5 – 8 are directly engaged to the full variety of outdoor recreation experiences that we can provide. Grades 9 – 12 work as “guides in training”, continuing on with their outdoors skills training, but working and mentoring our younger participants. Our goal is to provide a complete coarse in outdoor activities, training, education, appreciation and building the confidence to continue to live a healthy outdoor lifestyle.