The FWC and its partners are creating the next generation that cares about Florida’s great outdoors, fish and wildlife and their habitats, while helping youth lead a happier, healthier and smarter lifestyle.
Over the past decade, children have become increasingly engaged with television, computers and other entertainment media. This lifestyle has resulted in higher rates of obesity, depression and other physical, psychological and emotional problems. A growing body of evidence suggests that all these areas of a child’s life can improve by encouraging them to connect with nature.
The Get Outdoors Florida! Coalition brings many partners together to show how easy it is to offset these trends, by getting kids outdoors. GetOutdoorsFlorida.org lists simple activities and tips and provides a list of partners. The website also lists events and locations from around the state that take advantage of the Sunshine State’s climate to provide an unending array of opportunities. You can also volunteer or make a cash donation on the site to help further this important cause.
The Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network is taking this effort to a new level by partnering with facilities around the state to provide camps and curricula that allow youth to enjoy and learn about fishing, hunting, shooting, paddling, boating, wildlife viewing and more. The focus for both groups is on safe and sustainable nature-based activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, while making that lifetime longer and more enjoyable.
The American Pediatrics Association recommends that “parents become good role models by increasing their own level of physical activity. Parents should also incorporate physical activities that family members of all ages and abilities can do together. They should encourage children to play outside as much as possible.” The National Environmental Education Foundation and federal agencies have begun training health care professionals on the importance of active nature-based recreation. They are even arming them with prescription pads. The recommended prescription – get outdoors and have fun. Fishing in particular is one of the least expensive, simplest and most accessible gateway activities to an active outdoor lifestyle.
Visit MyFWC.com/Youth to learn more about these programs and how you can participate and contribute to Creating the Next Generation that Cares.
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