Many of the stories or anecdotes told by my older family members are set in the outdoors, if not all of them. They’ll sit around for hours and retell how Aunt Linda shot a copperhead by the “crick” (aka a creek), how dad’s long hair would be laden with burrs by the time he came in for dinner, or how Robyn was chased by a turkey for about a half mile…with a rifle in her hand. Whatever the story, the outdoors holds a lot of memories for my older relatives, and they want the same for all generations to come.
A joint survey conducted by ShooterSurvey.com and HunterSurvey.com, surveyed outdoors sportsmen and women. The survey questions were aimed to see how and if their generation is guiding today’s into a life outside. Of those surveyed, 50 percent had taken a child shooting in the past 12 months, and 37 percent had taken a child hunting. Additionally, 17 percent of hunters took more than one child on a hunt in the past 12 months. Many of the children, about 50 percent, taken along were the sons and daughters of those surveyed. Yet, 19 percent of hunters took along an unrelated young person, and 21 percent of shooters did the same. The remainder of the young people were grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
“Passing a love for hunting and shooting along to the next generation is a vital part of the total outdoor experience,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates which designs and conducts the surveys for HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com. “Everyone has special memories of time spent in the woods or at the range with their parents or other mentors as a young person, and it is clear today’s adults want to keep that tradition alive for their kids.” Southwick added.
Another benefit, aside from time spent together and making long-lasting memories, is that it’s healthy to get kids outdoors. According the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) children spend as few as 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor play daily, leaving them to spend more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen indoors. Children are stagnant in front of a screen, and obesity rates have more than doubled in the last 20 years. Outdoor play increases fitness levels to build active, healthy bodies, exposes children to the benefits of Vitamin D and can improve distance vision. Furthermore, time spent outdoors may reduce ADHD symptoms, which is extremely pertinent today since the United States is the largest consumer of ADHD medications in the world. The outdoors can help lower stress levels, free play can help alleviate anxiety that comes with a hurried schedule, and with time outside children can build a value for community and wildlife.