The concept of ‘roughing it’ to enjoy the outdoors has long been part of the way of life for many cultures. Going camping with your Dad was almost a right of passage and it was here one learned many things, not just about their parents, but of the natural world around them.
When our parent company World Expeditions offered their first trek to Nepal back in 1975, trading then as Australian Himalayan Expeditions, it was not hard to find people who shared the companies passion for exploring the natural world around us. Going on a camping based walk was an extension of the natural past time for many Australian’s and the idea of not washing for days or peeing out in the wild was not a foreign concept.
What about today?
Our community is changing. As a specialist in the adventure travel sector with over three decades of experience we’ve noticed some vast changes in attitudes of the travelling public.
The evolving trend for more comfort in adventure travel holidays supports the headlines about our growing sedentary lifestyle. Helicopters up to oxygen filled rooms in the Everest region, porters carrying unnecessary equipment for celebrities on Kilimanjaro, even the introduction of furniculars in once wild and pristine regions throughout Europe indicates a shift, either our behaviour or the extreme desire to attract the dollars of those who would otherwise never visit these special regions.
Most alarmingly, many reports point towards today’s youth. Increases in child weight gain, depression and an addiction to an electronic umbilical cord which pumps out advertisements heralding the benefits of manufactured foods, and even more computer activity, has seemingly caused a rapid decline in the time spent outdoors by children.
With all the advances in modern living through an increased urban lifestyle we’re worried that the next generation will be passed on the concept that nature is not our friend and that it offers little benefit.
It’s concerning that concepts that helped to inspire terms such as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ and ‘Protective House Arrest’ – both coined by American author Richard Louv – have sprung into mainstream thinking.
The idea that it has been a removal from nature that could be causing the health problem within kids, as well
as the idea that this removal is being encouraged by parents who believe that the outdoors is a dangerous place, is something that worries many of us who have learned the exact opposite during our formative years.
For this reason World Youth Adventures created the Youth4Youth Challenge. The central idea behind the event is to promote bushwalking to young people as well as provide ways for these participants to assist their seriously ill and disadvantaged peers by fundraising for a cause that help them.
The first event was held in Sydney, Australia, and raised over $20,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Livewire program.
Now in it’s second year, the next event will be held on 13 October 2013, once again in Sydney, and this year the beneficiaries include Starlight Children’s Foundation once again as well as the Duke of Edinburgh Awards’ pilot program with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Visit the Youth4Youth Challenge website to learn how you can be involved.