Introducing Mini Mountaineers: Getting the Next Generation Outdoors

Replacing screen time with green time is necessary now more than ever for the health and well-being of the next generation. That's why The Mountaineers just started a new program - Mini Mountaineers!
Katie Love Katie Love
Associate Youth Program Manager, Camps and Gateways
October 25, 2018

After every youth program, we see young Mountaineers leaving standing taller and waving goodbye to new friends. Outdoor experiences create a supportive environment for self discovery where kids are encouraged to challenge themselves and grow. Youth adventures are thrilling, complex, and social - they’re transformational, and necessary, and that’s why we’re expanding our youth serving programs with a new family-oriented program: Mini Mountaineers! 

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, kids play outdoors for an average of only 4-7 minutes a day. In comparison, they spend an average of 7+ hours in front of a screen. This disconnect from nature is taking a physical and mental toll on kids at critical developmental stages.

The benefits of outdoor experiences for young people are becoming increasingly evident with the rising use of technology. Now more than ever, replacing screen time with green time is critical to the health and well-being of the next generation.

Richard Louv’s iconic book Last Child in the Woods explores how increased screen time is leading to increased health and social problems in children. Louv defined “Nature Deficit Disorder,” caused by an over-structured, over-standardized, technology-reliant childhood, leading to a rise in obesity rates and symptoms similar to those of attention deficit disorders. What kids really need, he argues, is “free, unstructured outdoor play.”

The physical, emotional, and social benefits of outdoor play seem limitless. Enjoying time outside as a kid leads to increased fitness, decreased hyperactivity, better sleep, and a longer, healthier adult life. Kids who explore in nature have greater empathy, creativity, and self-confidence as well as decreased depression and stress compared to their peers. Socially, active kids perform better in school and build stronger relationships.

Best of all, playing outside is FUN! Exploring new places, splashing in a stream, listening to birds, building a fort, jumping in puddles, getting muddy, falling into a pile of leaves, breathing fresh air... an endless supply of raw fun can be had outside.

Introducing Mini Mountaineers

The Mountaineers is working to provide opportunities for families to get outside with their little ones. Creating fun in the outdoors is what inspired the Mini Mountaineers: a new program for families with kids ages 2-5. We want to create a community of families working together to inspire a love for nature in the next generation. We want to provide those moments of explorative, cold, muddy, wonderfully raw outdoor fun. Through meetups at Seattle parks and nature-based activities at our program center, we hope to get little ones interacting with nature alongside their families to provide a space for outdoor discovery and personal growth.

Raising an engaged, motivated, happy, creative, empathetic, and healthy generation is well within our reach. We just need to give kids the opportunity to experience the world outside the front door and classroom. 

LEARN MORe