When the worst day becomes the absolute best day

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Campers enjoy outdoor adventures no matter the weather

Ever have one of those conversations with your kiddo that makes you tilt your head to the side as you try to process it?  Something along the lines of the following, which happened when I picked up my son, Jack, during one of his Avid4 Adventure weeks.

Me:  Tell me the best part of your day.

Jack:  The best part was kayaking through the trees when we played follow the leader.

Me:  But there aren’t any trees in the reservoir.

Jack:  There are now.  And, guess what?  I didn’t get stuck on a picnic table either!  (Said with fits of giggles and a huge smile.)

Turns out that courtesy of all the rain Colorado had last summer, the water level was more than 7 feet above average, and there were trees and submerged picnic tables in the reservoir.  Who knew?  Well, I guess Jack knew.

Jack has been going to Avid4 Adventure for the past 5 summers.  He knows that adventures happen no matter the weather, and according to him, if those adventures take place in the wind or rain, all the better! As parents, we know, however, that not all kids inherently have that attitude, yet we wish they did!

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Conquering challenges in a bit of weather increases confidence, teaches resiliency and builds character . . . and Avid4 Adventure is just the place for this to happen.

Challenges become opportunities

Sometimes, encountering obstacles (like weather) provide the best opportunities to learn. Challenges aren’t inherently bad, and, in fact, kids (and adults, too!) grow with each and every experience – and, ultimately feel a sense of accomplishment.  At Avid4 Adventure, we believe kids:

  • Develop responsible decision-making skills.  What do you do when you’re on a hike, and you come to river that’s running fast and high?  Avid4 Adventure teaches kids to identify a risk, think about what can happen, and what they can do to mitigate the risk.  These steps can be used in day-to-day experiences, and as kids grow and risks and consequences get higher, you’ll be glad your child knows how to safely assess situations.
  • Increase their confidence and self-esteem.  It can seem like a monumental task to bike up a hill especially when it’s super hot out.  But, imagine the sense of accomplishment kids feel when they get to the top, look down and realize “Hey, I just peddled here on my own!”  Suddenly, any doubts are replaced with a sense of achievement.
  • Learn consequences.  Think about the value of a skinned knee.  Over the years, there’s been a shift in making sure kids are safe all the time.  All. The. Time.  If a consequence isn’t life threatening, let your child experience it.  When your child skins their knee (and, of course, they will many, many times), they’ll learn to create judgments and tie back to the decisions that led to the skinned knee. That type of critical thinking can only be done through experiences.
  • Build resiliency. Imagine your kiddo is kayaking in the middle of the lake when the wind kicks up.  She paddles with all her might, but she’s not making as much progress as she would like.Now imagine that she does not give up because she has the confidence to know she can do it, and with each stroke, she gets a bit closer to the shore.  Her instructors have taught her to take control and own the situation – and that is incredibly empowering.

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Life happens

Do you want your kiddo to have an “I can handle anything life throws at me if I can handle a random rain storm and turn it into a mud-filled adventure” kind of attitude?Of course, you do!  So let them, and watch them thrive. Unlike the Wicked Witch of the West, kids won’t melt with a little water.  And, if your kiddo is like anyone in Jack’s mountain biking group, you’ll find them doing the “let it rain more” dance and having contests to see who can ride through the longest patch of water, and my personal favorite, who ends the day with the dirtiest socks.

No matter the physical challenge, Avid4 Adventure teaches kiddos to assess situations, use sound judgment and make good decisions as they take appropriate risks – and they love it . . . weather and all.

About the Author: Lynne Marsala Basche spent most of her career on the island of Manhattan at two New York publishing companies.  A multi-year Avid4 Adventure mom and a contributor to the Avid4 Adventure website, Lynne’s writing adventures also take her to championing volunteerism and regional recreation stories as a staff writer for the Castle Pines Connection newspaper, as well as supporting separate large corporate communications programs.  By trying to keep pace with her mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, lacrosse playing, unicycling, tae kwon do-loving son, she, like most Avid4 parents, loves sharing the value of outdoor recreation and its positive influence on children’s health and confidence development.  Lynne lives in Castle Pines, Colorado and regularly immerses herself in outdoor activities with her family where she also runs her freelance writing company, Blue Spruce Creative

 

February 16, 2016 | Emily Moeschler
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