As a tour operator offering adventure tours from Las Vegas to national parks in the southwestern United States, Bindlestiff Tours is excited about any program that will get kids the chance to experience nature and the beauty of America’s national parks first hand. Too many kids in this day and age will only experience many things through their computer or phone screens, and this is hardly comparable to the experience of actually visiting the national parks that are protected by the government. As part of a new initiative designed to get children outside and experiencing nature to a fuller extent, President Obama has put forth the “Every Kid In A Park” plan, which will allow for free admission for all fourth graders and their families to national parks for the next year. The program is a lead-up to the National Park Service’s 100 year anniversary next year, and is going further than just offering free admissions. Through their website https://www.nationalparks.org/ook/every-kid-in-a-park they are crowdfunding additional aspects which will assist underpriveladged families at attaining the goal of visiting national parks.
80% of families are now living in urban areas, and the children raised in these environments spend as much as 7 hours per day staring at screens. Young people today are far more sedentary than in years past, and far more likely to spend the majority of their time indoors. Studies of people raised to spend long periods of time indoors show increases in the instances of addictive behavior and depression.
“Did you know that you own millions of acres of national parks, historic structures, cultural artifacts, ancient forests, snow-capped mountains, and clear blue lakes? Our public lands and waters belong to all Americans and are waiting for you to explore them! Thanks to our public-private partnerships, we are able to open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms – our national parks. Every Kid in a Park will enhance this important work and will give many youth and their families the opportunity to explore our national parks for the first time.” – Dan Wenk, president of the National Park Foundation
Every Kid in a Park will provide educational materials, informational support for trip planning, in addition to transportation support in the form of grants, to schools with the most need. The program will begin with the 2015-2016 school year, and is enabled by some of the 2016 US Budget’s increased figures for youth engagement programs. The increased investment for these programs through the Department of the Interior totals $45 million USD, and includes some $20 million going specifically to the National Park Service, which is also tasked with bringing one million 4th grade students from low-income areas to the national parks.
Getting children to begin interacting with the environment more will help us as a society to produce smarter and more well-rounded leaders in the future, and developing an interest in nature in children can be crucial to the development of a culture that respects and honors the environment. Get those kids out there and visit the national parks that are around you, or if you are in Las Vegas contact Bindlestiff Tours and arrange that next national park tour yourself!