I’m an outdoor educator.
That means that I spend a good chunk of time in the outdoors, creating intentional outdoor experiences for kids of all ages.
I’m used to being the one with all the answers (or at least the one who’s supposed to have all the answers…).
One of the best things about my job is seeing young people bloom – watching their sense of wonder take over, witnessing their curiosity take them to new places and lead them to new questions and discoveries.
This weekend, I got to be in their shoes again for a few hours.
I had a rare full weekend off, so the Huz and I set off on a road trip #FitDate to the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio – a 1,000 acre playground with 25 miles of trails.
Only about an hour’s drive from Columbus, we arrived around 11, and hit the trails on a beautiful, almost fall-like day.
As we descended a sizable set of stone stairs, I felt a child-like energy bubbling up –
pure, unbridled enthusiasm.
This #FitDate was different – it didn’t matter how fast or far we went. We weren’t looking for speed or mileage or even to break a sweat, really (although we did – oh, did we!)
This date was all about having fun, and exploring – quality over quantity, and we answered a hearty YES! to every question the trail threw at us.
What’s behind that old dam? I don’t know, let’s check it out!
Where’s that sound of trickling water coming from? No clue – let’s find it!
What’s back there, behind that cliff? Dunno, let’s go see!
Why is this dirt so orange? Not sure, but we can figure it out!
Where does this side trail go? Won’t know unless we take it!
What’s growing in this downed tree? Mushrooms and moss and lichen and soooo much more! (sidenote: I’m kind of in enamored with dead trees. So. Freakin. Cool!)
We hiked, walked, scrambled, slid, climbed, scooted, ducked, and skipped our way through the woods for about 2 hours…
And the entire time, my heart was singing… figuratively bursting at the seams with joy.
So many people lament that children don’t play outside anymore – too much time in front of screens and not enough time getting dirty.
They are 100% right – in fact, it’s why I do what I do.
But… I think adults are missing that, too.
When was the last time you went outside and didn’t worry about how far you walked or ran, but looked and actually SAW all the wonders around you?
When was the last time you played like you did when you were 5, or 8, or 10?
It was so freeing to get outside and see it all like a kid again. After a stressful summer, I was tired. Worn out and just plain tired.
And after 2 hours getting down and dirty with trees, rocks, dirt, and water…
I was SO full of joy and light, that I literally skipped through the woods –
Renewed, rejuvenated, and ready to bring even more of this same kind of joy to the kids that I work with.
So, what do you say, adults?
I’m down for some good old fashioned playtime – who’s with me?