Attending School of Life through Outdoor Learning

Balanced Lifestyle = Holistic fitness
This morning when I turned on the TV, there was a feature news report on the alarming and heartbreaking rate of obesity in America being more than 30 percent. They say that more kids and teenagers are inflicted with obesity, versus more adults 15 to 20 years ago. It concluded that fitness was not only a diet issue or how little or how healthy people ate, but more importantly it comes from a holistic lifestyle and wellness. Like adults, teenagers who lead a balanced lifestyle, are active and have a positive self-image are more likely to be physically fit also.

Photo credit healthyheartbody.com

Photo credit healthyheartbody.com

Teenagers today live in a cyber world, which means they interact with people through gadgets more than they do in person. This reality can pose advantages and disadvantages. Advantages being speedy communication and access to information. On the flip side, disadvantages of technology on teenagers can be lack of inter-personal and social skills. When we interact with other people in person, we exercise and balance our minds and our bodies. For example, when we talk to somebody in person, not only do we hear their voice, but also listen to them through their body language. Also, when we are listening to a person talking, we must use our senses effectively to be able to gain a more complete understanding.
Which one is your teenager: Book smart or Street Smart?
When talking about youth development, I’m a firm believer of the importance of school of formal education, as it cements one’s basis of knowledge and skills. However at the same time, teenagers must learn to balance book smarts and street smarts. I personally believe that in the grand scheme of things in life, with ample book smarts someone will get farther in life with the right attitude. There are many ways and channels to get teenagers to attend the school of life, while being active and having fun.
Adventure summer camps: a fine alternative to attend School of Life
When a teenager is active and involved in a community-based activity where they are exposed to unfamiliar elements, they are impelled to apply their skills, knowledge and attitude. Summer camps where teenagers would do outdoor activities together such as hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, orienteering, pitching a tent, cooking etc will teach them a multi-faceted life lessons. By going back to basics, teenagers will learn to adapt in an environment that is quite foreign and uncomfortable for them. By giving them basic tools, teenagers will learn about craftsmanship. By doing activities in nature, teenagers will develop physical fitness. By doing things together in a team, teenagers will learn about leadership and teamwork. By interacting with local communities, teenagers will learn about service and how to be humble. By doing adventurous activities, teenagers will learn to break away from their comfort zone and expand creativity. By exploring new things, teenagers will get to be young and courageous.

There are many avenues to explore when it comes to Youth character development. Formal education is great, but done alone will not sustain. Informal character education certainly can be a fine complement. It has many shapes and forms, and adventure camps is one of them. Essentially, a good adventure camp can provide a host of benefits for teenagers to learn about life, develop their attitude while staying active and having fun.

Wendy Kusumowidagdo

Wendy Kusumowidagdo

Wendy Kusumowidagdo is the Senior Consultant for Outward Bound Indonesia. Her passion is to help people in reaching their best potentials in life. She has coached various corporations and businesses. A regular contributor for Indonesian and international management and business publications. She loves the outdoors and is an avid blogger. Follow her twitter @wendykusumow or email her at wendy@outwardboundindo.org

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