Explore the Great Outdoors!

— Written By Niki Maness Great Outdoors Month in text on blurred tree background

June is just around the corner!

This means that kids are getting out of school, the official start of summer is only a few weeks away, and outdoor activities are about to be on everyone’s daily schedule. Have you given any thought to how your family will be exploring the great outdoors this summer?

In one of the first sessions of our Empowering Youth and Families Program we challenge families to come up with a list of activities that includes all members of the family. We encourage these lists to consist of free or low-cost activities that can be done anywhere, anytime, so families will make spending time together a priority. Most of the time outdoor activities and adventures top these lists because of their accessibility. Not only can these activities strengthen family relationships, they also promote healthier lifestyles and improve mental health. Many people feel more grounded in nature and tend to relax more when they are outdoors. Kids find nature fascinating and parents can benefit from this curiosity! Your hike or walk through the backyard can instantly turn into a science lesson!

Since the late 1990’s, presidents and government officials have set aside a special week in June to celebrate the great outdoors. In 2018, Governor Roy Cooper signed a proclamation declaring June as Great Outdoors Month in the state of North Carolina, and in 2019, June became Great Outdoors Month nationwide. We are fortunate to live in an area that is overwhelmingly abundant with outdoor recreational activities! Grab your family, your gear, and go EXPLORE!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Hike local trails
  • Check out a local disc golf course
  • Mountain biking
  • Visit state and national parks
  • Explore around your house
  • Go tubing in one of the local rivers
  • Geocaching
  • Fishing
  • mother daughter hiking observing something on the groundAdditional Outdoor Resources:
    Yancey 4-H: Stay updated by following our Facebook page! Our 4-H agent, Mrs. Jordan, will post dates of summer camps, links to activities, and other resources!
    Junior Ranger Program: North Carolina State Parks offer incentives for youth to get more involved with the outdoors.
    Kids in Parks: A free network of family-friendly adventures that allows you to track your experiences and earn special prizes.
    North Carolina Visitor’s Guide: This interactive website allows you to view activities and plan adventures across the state.
    NC Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program: ecoEXPLORE is an incentive-driven science enrichment program of The North Carolina Arboretum Society that engages third through eighth grade students in guided and self-directed citizen science activities.

    To learn more about the individual Empowering Youth and Families Program sessions, check out our blog