A crucial element of keeping kids involved in the outdoors is mentorship.
Take a kid fishing days, field trips and other events are wonderful but the fact is unless family is involved or there is a mentoring type relationship involved most kids will never take up an outdoors lifestyle.
This is where social media comes into play.
If you are involved with children or youth in say a church, scouting or other group and are connected via social media, use it (with parental consent) to “mentor” them.
It’s not as difficult as you think.
Send them messages periodically about your trips in the great outdoors. Share cool videos and photos about their favorite animals and use your social media to salute them when they do participate in an outdoors event. A prime example are the four girls you see in the photo below. My wife Lisa and I have been working with them for several years in a mentoring/ministry level and while in sixth grade, they are just now getting onto social media, we share our photos with their parents who share with them. There may be a long time between field trips but by sharing the photos and videos, the interest stays alive.
At the end of the day mentorship involves time investment and by simply sharing your social media time, you can keep kids inspired between field trips and outreach events.
For those kids you are able to build lasting mentoring relationships, it is key to make them part of the ministry or outreach. Kids love to feel as if they are a part of something and truthfully they have much to offer. Kids hearts are much purer than ours so when you get them involved you get all of them involved and with no hidden agendas.
We have just begun a new conservation awareness and #hashtag campaign via Instagram and Facebook. It started with a trip to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge in Tyler and we are expanding it in a major way.
It simply involves getting kids to take a pen and paper, stand in front of animal at a zoo or wildlife park or even in a piece of habitat and make a simple statement about a conservation problem. Lauren, pictured here, is going into fifth grade and she wrote “Only 500 Left” to stand in front of the Siberian tiger enclosure.
What a powerful visual, eh?
This is simple to do and we are going to inspire kids around the world to do this via social media. Beginning Aug. 16, we will start a program where we get kids to do this and #hashtag it #kingdomzoo. The first 5 kids to participate get a special prize and then weekly we will pick from the photos and let our social media viewers vote on the most creative. Whichever photo gets the most “likes” wins.
Other examples would be a kids standing in front of the ocean with a piece of paper saying, “Keep it Clean” or a wetlands saying “Hurricane Barrier”. The possibilities are endless.
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity and if we are going to keep kids inspired about wildlife and in our ministry about the Creator, it’s going to take different ideas.
We hope you enjoy these. Feel free to share and spread around. We’re excited to begin our project and enter the next phase of getting kids outdoors through social media.
Chester Moore, Jr.