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‘Be Outside’ Pledges in MT Aim for Outdoor Fun Every Week

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PHOTO: The Be Out There campaign from the National Wildlife Federation is encouraging parents to pledge to help their kids spend more time outdoors in 2013.
PHOTO: The Be Out There campaign from the National Wildlife Federation is encouraging parents to pledge to help their kids spend more time outdoors in 2013.
 By Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Contact
December 31, 2012

HELENA, Mont. - "Spending more time with family" is a top New Year's resolution, and the "Be Out There" campaign from the National Wildlife Federation is designed to help keep that promise strong all year. The program offers tips and advice to parents who pledge to help get their kids outdoors every week, while acknowledging it isn't always easy, even in a state like Montana with plenty of outdoor play spaces.

Be Out There manager Lindsay Legendre says their survey of parents found that 94 percent say kids aren't getting enough time outside. The barriers? Weather, concerns about safety, and the lure of technology. So, the campaign offers strategies on its website.

"We really love geo-caching because you can use a smart phone or GPS technology to do an activity outside, so it kind of meshes those two worlds."

BeOutThere.org offers lists for winter treasure hunts, tips on weather-proofing outdoor adventures and directories to nearby play areas.

Legendre says the parents they've talked with recognize the benefits of outdoor time, such as increased physical activity and better concentration in the classroom. But she agrees that technology has benefits, too.

"Really encourage balance. So, if you want to play video games for an hour, that's great, and then take the next hour and go burn some energy off outside."

She says they want to make it easier for parents to guide children to more outdoor time, especially since reduced school recesses and busy schedules have eaten into outside play.


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