It’s an all-too-common lament among parents that getting kids interested in the outdoors is becoming harder and harder to do. But what to do about it? According to this evocative short film (hat tip to Southern Rockies Nature Blog for the find) made by a father and scoutmaster in Montana, “maybe teens aren’t interested in nature because we’re selling them too much freedom to consume, rather than enough opportunity to explore.”

From this post on
In August of 2012, my son’s Scout troop planned a backpacking trek across the Spanish Peaks, a unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Southwest Montana. You can read the photo essay here. This trek was an interesting one for me. It was one where I observed the boundless enthusiasm and excitement of crossing a rugged mountain range by one group of boys (the ones that attempted it) and the cynicism and disdain for trekking by others who had no intention of participating in a hike like this. I struggle to develop a strong thesis for why this is (although I’m rather sure our forum members will rapidly come up with one following the publication of this article!). However, I can’t help but reflect on how our changing culture might be inhibiting backcountry participation by kids.

Thoughts? Are we, as the film states, giving our kids too much freedom to consume and not enough freedom to explore?