April 22 is the official Earth Day holiday, but as every inhabitant of this planet knows in their very molecules…every day is Earth Day! We are hurtling through our galaxy on this gorgeous globe. We humans are made of the same elements as our home, and we share the same fate. Even if some billionaires seem to be in a race to leave it, we’re Team Earth here at Camp Fire.
That’s why getting out of our human-built structures and into the natural environment is written into our new vision, mission and values. Being in nature teaches us who we are (Earthlings) and how to live (connected to each other and all living things).
Being outdoors is also just plain good for us. Studies have shown that spending time outside can:
- Raise our moods
- Decrease stress
- Boost physical wellness
- Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
- Help us connect to our communities and each other
- Decrease loneliness
- And much more
For young people in particular, nature experiences have been shown to:
- Decrease ADD and ADHD symptoms
- Help young people with autism connect with their peers
- Decrease mental fatigue and raise concentration
- Increase physical activity and lower obesity and Type 2 diabetes risks
- Relieve anxiety
- And much more
Spending time in nature has overwhelming positive benefits. That’s why Camp Fire takes the nature gap seriously: We believe every young person has the right to get outdoors, and we are working to dismantle barriers that keep socially vulnerable kids from outdoor experiences.
What can you do to get outdoors—and help increase outdoor access for others—this Earth Day?
- Contact your local Camp Fire council to find outdoor programming and Earth Day actions.
- Search for an Earth Day event in your area
- Plan some extra nature time this month with friends and family. Use Camp Fire’s Nature-Inspired Activities guide for inspiration.
- Use outdoor time and Earth Day activities to talk to the kids in your life about environmental justice. The Children & Nature Network has curated an extensive collection of resources to help guide nuanced, age-appropriate conversations about the interconnected topics of racism, able-ism, inequitable access to nature, and climate change.
- “Nature and mental health,” mind.org.uk. 2021. Accessed on 17 March 2022.
- “Professional Practice: Health Benefits of Nature,” American Society of Landscape Architects, www.asla.org. Accessed on 17 March 2022.