Submitted by Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)
SEATTLE, May 16, 2007 "“ With summer just around the corner, parents everywhere will soon be looking for ideas to get their kids outside and active. Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has just the solution "“ Passport to Adventure, a free program launching this week designed to introduce a new generation to the fun of outdoor recreation.
Now through Labor Day, REI's Passport to Adventure program invites kids aged five to 12, and their parents to participate in kid-sized, family-friendly hikes and bike rides recommended by local REI employees who want to share their passion for the outdoors. Information for parents describing each of the hikes and bike rides "“ none of which are too difficult for families new to these activities "“ along with driving directions and helpful tips are available at REI stores nationally beginning this week.
While in the store, kids can pick up their own special passport-style adventure journal to jot down field notes, attach photos, create drawings, play games such as "Once Upon a Bike" and "Hiking Haiku!" and capture their thoughts about each hike and bike ride.
In addition to the keepsake journal, children who successfully complete any combination of three hikes and bike rides can have their "passport" stamped and will receive a free Passport to Adventure water bottle, as well as a certificate commemorating their accomplishment. At the program’s conclusion, several REI stores across the country will be planning parties for children to celebrate their completion of their summer adventures with other participants.
For many parents, the program "“ now in its second year "“ provides a welcome and healthy diversion for kids this spring and summer. While the aim is to get kids outside, a large-scale Cornell University study indicates that such activities before age 11 provide a particularly potent pathway toward shaping both environmental attitudes and behaviors in adulthood, according to Nancy Wells, one of two Cornell faculty researchers who authored the study.
"Being a kid should include running around outside, riding a bike, climbing trees and exploring the woods, unfortunately today's youth are spending less time outdoors than any previous generation," said Sally Jewell, REI president and CEO. "It's our hope that this program provides a helpful tool for parents to introduce their children to a fun experience in the outdoors "“ and in the process instill an appreciation of nature."
REI member Richard Louv, author of the book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, said that some kids may be more interested in reaching the next level of a video game, than completing a hike. "But parental persistence, taking the long view, will pay off soon, in better mental and physical health for your children, and later, when your kids come to you as young adults and say, ‘Remember that time we went hiking? That was the best summer ever.’"
"We hear from parents that they want to introduce their children to outdoor recreation and help them experience nature, but that they don’t know about places to go or how to get started. Hopefully our hike and bike route suggestions and tips for parents offered through this program will remove that barrier," added Jewell. "Because each hike and bike ride is minimal in distance, and all are considered either easy or moderate, the program is well-suited for families of all abilities."
For parents of children participating in the program, Steve Wood, a father of four who leads introductory classes for the REI Outdoor School offers the following tips:
REI is an outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its more than 3 million active members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI operates retail stores nationwide, two online stores "“ REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com "“ and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. As an active supporter of the communities in which it does business, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
REI is an outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI operates retail stores nationwide, two online stores and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI offers products from top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor fitness, paddling, snowsports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
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