People learn behaviors by observing others (1). If you are a parent, teacher, or a human, you have probably recognized the impact your actions have on others in your community. Mentorship can have a huge impact on youth. If we want youth to be engaged in the outdoors, we have to be the leaders by example. In a study done on mentorship and its effect on a community, engagement in outdoor adventure and support during the mentoring partnership significantly contributed to observed social gains (2). Here is a list of ways you can be a mentor in the outdoors.
Sharing a moment in nature
1. Volunteer with a local youth organization that focuses on outdoor experiences: Idaho Youth Outdoors, Wild Hearts, Idaho Trails Association to name a few
2. Find simple ways to bring your students, kids, grandkids, friends outdoors! Can you collect leaves and describe how they are similar and different? Can you write the story of the life of a leaf?
3. Bring your family to outdoor community events: Boise Environmental Education, Everwild Forest School, Golden Eagle Audubon
4. Explore a new trail with a friend (tip: make it a beginner hike!) Best Trails in Idaho
5. Take an inside activity outdoors: read a book, eat dinner, even watch a movie on your phone under the stars
There are many ways to be an outdoor mentor and they do not have to be complicated. The first step is just getting out there.
Students read a story outdoors