Youth Movement

Avid4 Adventure Camps

According to Harvard Medical School, getting kids outside improves everything from their executive functioning to their socialization skills. But with kids more glued to screens and indoor activities than ever before, how to get them out? Boulder-based Avid4 Adventure has the answer with programs for kids aged 3 to 18. Enroll your toddler in a basic strider bike class or your high school senior in a multi-day, multi-sport expedition. My wife and I signed our 5-year-old daughter Rosie up for a week-long Explorer Camp, which included biking, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing—plus art, music, and yoga.

Each morning, Rosie’s group tackled a new adventure—from long bike rides to paddling trips on Boulder Reservoir—the kids guzzled water while resting in the shade between activities. Every afternoon I found them sitting in a circle, sharing their favorite moments, lessons they learned, and expressing gratitude. On our bike rides home, my daughter bubbled over with stories and how excited she was for the next day of adventure.

David Secunda, founder of Avid4 Adventure, wanted to provide a way for kids to love the outdoors and to become future stewards of our planet. “Outdoor experiences are punctuation points in our lives that shape our confidence and character. Our camps give kids both a place to start and plenty of room to grow outdoors as they build skills in a wide range of adventure sports,” he says.

Paul Dreyer, the organization’s Chief Empowerment Officer, says Avid4 camps are expanding into California, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington. The organization is also finding ways to provide financial aid to families who can’t afford the full price of the programs and has steady yet ambitious plans to continue to expand.

On the last day of Rosie’s camp, her director gathered all of the groups for a closing ceremony. Each group selected one person who best exemplified the value of “Live Empowered’—the one of the eight core values of the Avid4 Adventure program that this particular camp session focused on—and they were each called up to be recognized.

Each of the kids called up had some sort of smile on their face, from big toothy grins to awkwardly trying to manage the swell of emotion they had never felt before this. They were all proud, if not even a little embarrassed to have been selected by their peers as outstanding. But the fact that these kids are valuing such positive qualities is a nice glimpse into the hope of the future.

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