MSI Board Member Attends “Kids Outdoors” Conference
Mountain Spirit Institute board member Bob Stremba of Fort Lewis College’s Outdoor Pursuits, Durango, Colorado, recently attended a conference aimed at addressing initiatives of getting children outside more in the natural world. This “No Child Left Indoors” initiative has a strong advocate with Colorado Lt. Governor O’Brien who is currently soliciting suggestions in writing Colorado Kids‘ Outdoor Bill of Rights.
Stremba shared his findings at this week’s Mountain Institute staff meeting and asked what others in MSI thought about developing curriculum that can be replicated and offered throughout the USA to schools, summer camps and community recreation programs. Said Stremba, “Colorado residents in communities throughout the state are giving feedback on this exciting intiative. He added, “There are about 8 to 10 sites in Colorado working on this, and there will likely be partial government funding for such programs.” Those at the meeting agreed this direction is a good fit for Mountain Spirit.
Founder Randy Richards said Mountain Spirit’s core values focus on body mind and spirit, spiritual experiential education, (or a term coined here “espiriential” education), learning from indigenous wisdom, environmental education, sustainability, social responsibility and service. He added, MSI was founded on just the values for which the ‘Kids in the Woods’ iniative is striving.”
Sustainable Communities Programs Director and MSI board member Brenda Dowst mentioned that she has noticed programs “popping up all over” her region in Nova Scotia, and said that including the Indian nation people to teach about giving back, the earth, about appreciation and understanding of the earth would be vital to such education.
She also refered to James Lovelock’s book, Revenge of Gaia, where he warns of the perils of ignoring nature and that our survival of a species, in its present numbers, is in question. She added her reason for bringing up the book in the meeting was that it could serve as a touchstone for moving such programs forward.
Colorado Kids Outdoors‘ statement of purpose states it “is a collaboration among organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors for whom the shared goal is increasing outdoor activity for children. The purpose of this effort is to create a comprehensive framework within the State of Colorado to support efforts of many diverse organizations to provide opportunities, environments and infrastructure for children throughout the State to spend significant quality time in the outdoors. The elements of this framework must include:
- Development and adoption of public policies at the state and local levels that reflects a very high priority for the goal of ensuring that all Colorado’s children, in particular minority and underserved children, have access to safe and healthy, structured and unstructured, outdoor experiences; (see resources below and.. (more…)