Warrior Camps develop children in the healthy outdoors
This was our second encounter with warrior camp this year and I have not been let down with either. I grew up in the country side where being outdoors for the summer was just how it was. Our cousins were our best friends, we trailed rivers and fields of cut grass making cubby houses in bushes and feeding our dolls mud pie. We fought, we fell and we came home hungry and wet. And we survived. This was simple fun that unfortunately our children today don’t get to experience much of. Well, that was until we met the guys at Warrior Camp. And if there is one way to describe the experience is that it is SIMPLE FUN.
The guys spent one week from 10am until 3pm in Bellurgan the first week of July. They took a packed lunch, wore old clothes, one came home more filthy than the other and both came home exhausted and exhilarated all at once. They made new friends, they hung out, they built forts, they made bow and arrows, they lit a fire, they learned about badgers, they swam in bogs from what I can tell. They had an absolute ball. What really struck me the most is how my children connected to their leaders! My lads are quiet with people they don’t know so well, they take a while to connect with grown ups. I am totally ok with that but at this camp things were different. The way the kids spoke about their leaders was just fabulous, they spoke so fondly of them, so freely and it was all based around simple fun. I knew by the way they were chattering that the leaders got to meet my real children, the ones that I know. I have to congratulate Ollie and his team on this as this speaks volumes about them in my humblest of opinions. Nature really does bring out the best in people. Check out the lads at https://www.warriorcamp.ie.
I wanted the kids to go to this camp for their immune system, Mammy usually has an angle 😎, doesn’t she. As the gatekeepers to our children’s health, we need to aware of the many reasons why this generation has a different experience of the world. There are plenty of reasons why we are indoors more; screens, fear of sun exposure, lack of space and even a shift in focus from free play to scheduled activities and sporting achievements. In being aware we can make small and simple changes that can create balance, getting a little bit of it all in.
So here are my 5 reasons why our children need to play outside more.
- Good old VITAMIN D: We surely need to be cautious and conscious of too much sun exposure and we all know why. What we may not remember though is that we do need the sun, just like a flower needs sunshine to grow. We need Vitamin D for many body processes including bone development and improved immune function, not to mention our mind. Who doesn’t feel better after a spell of sun!
- Exercise: WHO recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily for children aged 5-17. Of course all the activities that we do indoor are wonderful but getting them outside with a ball or bike most certainly supports vigorous physical exertion but also active social play which is so important. A free activity of climbing and hanging from trees benefits your child by lengthening the upper body muscles while applying their own body weight. There are countless studies on the positive effect of resistance training on bone health.
- Boredom & the outdoors: Remember when your mother shoved you out the door to play and gently said and don’t come back til your hungry… well I didn’t know that something so normal was contributing to my executive function development. Yup, that’s right. Being outside, either alone or with other kids, allows kids to get creative and use their problem-solving skills to entertain themselves. When allowed or even forced to make up their own games they get to figure stuff out for themselves. And we all know how satisfying that feeling is.
- Socialization: Children do need to learn how to work together. If they only participate in activities that are supervised by adults, they will not get this opportunity. Things they learn like making friends, rejection, sharing, compromise, kindness, fairness are stuff they need to know. We need to facilitate that learning experience by letting them LEARN hard and all as it might be at time for them and for us to step back.
- Respect Nature: Right now the Wellness world is bringing us lots and lots of wonderful research about the microbiome. We know that we now exist in a partnership with nature, sure aren’t we nature too. By coexisting with nature, we are also feeding this microbiome which has been proven to influence of health. Outside is filled with so much friendly bacteria that help our children thrive. So getting your young dirty will expose them to myriads of beneficial microbes and even lower the stress levels of their little heads. It’s a win-win kinda thing.
So that’s it there you have it, my thoughts (some personal, some researched) on why its so important to make sure our children have a relationship with the earth, that they are connected to the ground and not afraid of it. It’s even more important in this superbly fast changing global environment we are living in.