Time spent in nature, once an inevitability, has dropped dramatically over the last several decades. With electricity, air conditioning, video games, and running water all readily available inside the house, many people spend little-to-no time outside on a regular basis.
This recently made news headlines when Richard Louv released his book claiming that many American children and adults suffer from “nature deficit disorder” and that many health conditions prevalent today can be traced to the lack of time spent in the great outdoors.
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can have physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits. Physically, time outside can help increase white blood cells, reduce risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease, and lower blood pressure. Mentally, spending time in nature has been shown to increase creativity, as well as improve intelligence and memory. Emotionally, it can help with depression and anxiety.
For children especially, time in nature can help to increase social connection, because the activities children are likely to be doing outdoors often involve socializing. Children can play sports, build a fort, play on a playground or dig in the dirt with a friend or sibling outdoors, and any of these activities is likely to improve social skills and connection.
At camp, the time we spend in creation is not just an accident or a byproduct of not having enough indoor space. It’s just the opposite! We truly believe that girls are more likely to create lasting, healthy relationships with themselves and with God by spending time in nature than they could any other way. We offer activities, from ropes course to sailing, that put girls in situations where they get to work together, learn new skills, and have fun.
We also have time built into the day where girls spend time in God’s creation worshiping and learning about God, because in the still and quiet of this world that He made Good, we’ve found there are less distractions and there is more Wonder. We’re so passionate about it that we sing songs our Creator-God and work to appreciate the small piece of creation we’ve been charged to care for by having campers help with cleaning up trash and preserving the forest that Camp Cedarbrook is blessed to have.