pchewn

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If you set up a BB hoop on the curb of your street, you are recreating outdoors. If you go to an outdoor skateboard park or tennis court, you are recreating outdoors. Or a walk in the park, or a swim in an outdoor pool, or a bike ride (street ride), or ?????

There's a lot of outdoor recreation available even in the inner city. You don't have to live next to Yellowstone Park.....
 

Slim

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It's hard to believe so few are recreating outdoors. Trying to make campsite reservations these days is getting ridiculous. State and national parks book up often withing minutes or hours of reservations being made available and even with the crappy winter we've had locally our ski hill has been busy damn near every weekend. May the people that are participating are doing so more frequently? :huh:
That might be true, as well as concentrating people in a few, well know places.
The bigger issue is people going out for an hour during the week, or an afternoon in Saturday. State- and certainly National- Parks, are not the big issue here, it’s going out in a local city park or nature preserve, that kind of stuff.
 

Andy Mink

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As a park ranger/manager for over 27 years I certainly saw the impact that having parks in a city (Reno/Sparks) can have on people. Reno is interesting in that there are literally hundreds of miles of trails surrounding the city and most of it on USFS or BLM land. But the county and city parks are hugely popular. It was so fun to teach kids and, sadly, adults, the difference between ducks and geese or how to fish. Coming from "the country" it is hard to fathom not being outdoors.

I believe Reno and Sparks have requirements to have X acres of open space per X number of units. As an aside, parks in good condition raise property values. Parks that languish due to poor maintenance because of budget cuts (parks and libraries are the first to get cut and last to recover, at least when I was working) lower property values. Something to consider.
 

WxGuy

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Yes it does; that's why it was built way back in 1857.


Then, our children don't get indoctrinated to the outdoors, and we perpetuate an indoor centric lifestyle. Couple that with the fear parents have these days of not letting their children play outdoors unattended, is it any wonder we're seeing a decline. It's sad.
WORD!

I'm gonna go off on a mini-rant here, just can't help myself! Where did all this parental apprehension come from, anyway?


I remember hearing a radio news piece a few years back discussing a longitudinal study on parenting behaviors. Wish I could find the study, but I'll just have to paraphrase.

The first half of the study was conducted about 25 years ago and consisted of the original study establishing a research project which including of all ages. Children and their parents were interviewed on such issues as: How far do you let your kids range from home without first asking permission?, how many hrs at a time do you let your kids play before checking in on them?, How much of your childrens' play time is unsupervised by adults. That sort of parenting stuff.

A follow-on research program was conducted 20 years later. in the same town (I'm thinking it was upper midwest, maybe Great Lakes)) This study was particularly pertinent because the same town was used. About half the parents grew up in this same town and had raised their kids there- lots of the adults interviewed were the last generations' kids. By several measures, standard of living was very similar to 20 years ago (granted, these measures are hard to compare over time). Most significantly, adjusted relative median income and violent crime rate had been almost stagnant over that same period.

So, to the best approximation possible this longitudinal study was a solid comparison of changing attitudes in a very similar environment.

The results were astounding to me. I sure wish I had the hard numbers. The upshot was that compared to the past, today's parental interference in their offspring's play life is astounding. Kids can't leave the yard without permission, parents felt the need to vet even the most insignificant relationships with other kids. Many parents reported so much anxiety over the welfare of their children that they kept them inside where they could be constantly monitored. Bottom line, the quality of kids time, agency and independence was sacrificed- willingly- by anxious parents.

So. I am done ranting. Sorry. When I was a kid living on the very edge of a 40,000 person town, I had the run of probably a 3 mi radius "home" turf, some urban, mostly rural. I had no rules about checking in, but I did every few hours, because it was important to me that my folks didn't worry. I wanted to keep my freedom! They gave me my agency, I gave them my respect. It worked real well.

I raised my kids in a surburban-to-rural neighborhood in Alaska. And they ranged all over the hillside, just like I did. We did not have any boogey men around to hurt our kids. But we had bears. Two kinds. And moose as well. And these were not imagined "boogey man" threats. In the wrong situations these critters could be maulers, or even worse, killers. But the kids were well-instructed on the potential dangers of predators- real predators. In the 25 years we lived in that neighborhood, there was never any contact between humans and wild animals (And yes, moose do not count as predators, but they are big and wild). Other peoples' pets (dogs) were the biggest danger, but the kids learned mostly on their own how to mitigate these risks.

My kids (now grown with kids of their own) brought just this subject up at a family dinner last night, All three felt strongly that their laissez-faire life as kids- building tree houses, playing in the creek, hunting ptarmigan- prepared them more than any one other thing for being the outdoorsy, independent Alaskans they are now, raising their own kids in an independent woodsy lifestyle

I concur.
 

James

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Maybe the kids on milk boxes had something to do with it. Then 30 years of various abductions/murders etc against kids. It all adds up, even if the percentage is low.
We used to range a few miles on bikes. It was a pretty well defined area, not (9 x pi) sq miles, but still, I can’t imagine doing that today. Absolutely no communication back then either.
 

Andy Mink

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I grew up in rural NE PA. We played in the woods. As long as we could hear my folk's whistle and we got home quick we were pretty free. We knew all the neighbors and I knew if they saw us doing something stupid the folks would know about it before we got home.
 

Scruffy

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Same here. Grew up 1960s-early 70s in a very rural area. over a 1000 acres of farm land and woods right behind my house, but a decent size small town a mile down the road and neighbors along that road. Had full range for as long as I can remember. If we missed dinner we went to bed hungry. My parents made one meal for all eight of us, no special meals for this one or that one just because they didn't like something. My son in law has three kids and he makes three different meals, and not because of food allergies--kids whine they don't like something--drives me crazy.

I became very independent and responsible and able to figure out things on my own; that has helped me in my life and career.

Bad things happened to kids back then, I know personally, but it wasn't publicized so the fear factor wasn't there. Now, are there more psychopaths as a percentage today, probably, but, I still believe most people, way > 99%, are good and decent and would never intentionally harm a child. But we hear about the one offs. If a child is abducted anywhere it's blasted over the news throughout the entire nation.
 

Posaune

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I grew up in the 60s on a lake with access to water craft and with lots of woods up behind my house. The only restriction I remember was that I couldn't go swimming without someone else being around. I could take the boat all over the 10 mile long lake, I could ride my bike with friends miles to the nearest suburban area to go to the store. I could spend the whole day in the woods making forts or whatever. The restrictions were that I had to tell mom where I was going, and I MUST be home by 6:00 for dinner (NOT 6:01) and in order to make sure we were there at 6 we always wore a watch, which I still do today (and I'm always on time).

Raising my kids was a bit different when we lived in a condo, but we gave them as much autonomy as was practical. Later we moved into a more wooded area, but the kids didn't really know what to do with it until we taught them about it, and they never took to it like I did. It saddened me.

Side story:
The only time I ever showed up late for dinner (forgot to check my watch) I was 5 minutes late and my mom grounded me for a week. She was tough, but I didn't ever do it again. Later in life, after my dad's death, she told me the 6:00 rule really wasn't for us kids, but for my dad, so he'd get home from the bar for dinner. She figured if the kids had to be there he would be too, and she was correct.
 

SSSdave

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Good to read others in older generations growing up with similar freedoms to what I experienced. During all my pre high school years lived in several California outer suburban areas where there were significant natural areas to roam about. All kids in the neighborhood did so at will whether by bicycle or walking and I woud often be out miles. Our favorite places were down along creeks that had considerable fish and creatures. In this era of our urban areas one might run into homeless camps in such places that tend to be disgustingly trashed. Can't ever recall anyone ever getting significantly hurt or running into problems other than being chased out of orchards by nut and fruit tree farmers haha. That had a lot to do with my as an adult getting into hard core backpacking in the Sierra Nevada that now as a senior am still roaming about with lessons learned as an independent kid valuable.
 
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Andy Mink

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I think one thing that really impacts how parents allow kids to play now is the constant threat of being branded a "bad parent" because Johnny is out on his own? Don't his parents care? And then CPS gets called. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Johnnys who have parents who don't care if he's home, at a friends, or has run away.
 

Tom K.

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I start getting very depressed if I don't get outside for a week DAY or two. I don't know how people do it. I guess we are adaptable animals.
FIFY! :geek:

I'm gonna go off on a mini-rant here, just can't help myself! Where did all this parental apprehension come from, anyway?
I wish I could remember the name of the famous social scientist who said this, but here goes: "Never have we lived in safer, healthier times, and been more afraid."

I grew up in a TINY mining town in Northern Minnesota, and had freedom that nobody would believe. My Dad used to say "Yup, until you screw it up. Once." If somebody asked my Mom on a weekend "where's Tom?" she'd say "outside". And that was all the answer the questioner was looking for.

Honestly, just my opinion, but I blame the media. Both for overhyping non-existent dangers, AND for overhyping the occasional very real danger, which I believe breeds more of that aberrant fractional behavior. The 24-hour cable news cycle has not been a good thing for our society. Gotta feed the monster (of selling commercial time).
 
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GB_Ski

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I'm afraid to leave my 1 year old asleep in the locked car for thirty seconds when I'm twenty feet away dropping off the four year old in case someone calls the cops or something...
As a parent, I would ask if the parent is around if I see a baby in a locked car with windows closed. If you come back in 30 seconds or within sight of the car, gives me a thumb up, I'll be on my way. If not, I'll call the cops or security folks. Why is that so hard to believe?
 

scott43

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As a parent, I would ask if the parent is around if I see a baby in a locked car with windows closed. If you come back in 30 seconds or within sight of the car, gives me a thumb up, I'll be on my way. If not, I'll call the cops or security folks. Why is that so hard to believe?
Yeah, you're not the one I'm worried about. It's the people who think they need to punish bad parenting no matter the back story..I hate to say "do-gooders" because they give do-gooders a bad name. Fortunately, we have some pretty reasonable laws here and leaving your kid in the car asleep for 30 seconds while in sight of the vehicle will more likely end up with the cops chatting with the 911'ers and telling them to be a little less trigger happy.
 

Pequenita

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hespeler

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After that turd they laid on Saturday night to Gildart's Canes, I'm buying a Canes pouch carrier!!! Go Ayres Go!!
At least Tavares was able to get one past him.

As a parent of a 12 and 14 y/o and living in one of the most crowded suburban areas in the US, one of the problems I see is all of the extra-curricular stuff is organized. It's not just practices and games anymore. There are extra training sessions for shooting, throwing, catching, running, skating, swimming, walking , talking, etc. All of which are in a facility in a controlled environment with a paid coach/instructor.

I never see a bunch of kids just call each other up (or text nowadays) and say let's meet at the field in an hour for a pick-up game. And the kids are involved in so many activities that they have scant little time to just play.

My daughter plays club volleyball. At the height of her season her schedule resembles mine in my 20's when I was working a full-time job during the day and going to grad school at night and she's 14.

The idea of "downtime" scares the bejeezus out of a lot of parents.
 

Tom K.

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I'm afraid to leave my 1 year old asleep in the locked car for thirty seconds when I'm twenty feet away dropping off the four year old in case someone calls the cops or something...
Never mind kids. I got a note on my car last summer for leaving my DOG inside, with the windows half open, in the shade, when it was in the high 80s with a nice breeze.

I was in the grocery store for less than 10 minutes, picking up a few "honey do's".

As a parent of a 12 and 14 y/o and living in one of the most crowded suburban areas in the US, one of the problems I see is all of the extra-curricular stuff is organized. It's not just practices and games anymore. There are extra training sessions for shooting, throwing, catching, running, skating, swimming, walking , talking, etc. All of which are in a facility in a controlled environment with a paid coach/instructor.

I never see a bunch of kids just call each other up (or text nowadays) and say let's meet at the field in an hour for a pick-up game. And the kids are involved in so many activities that they have scant little time to just play.

My daughter plays club volleyball. At the height of her season her schedule resembles mine in my 20's when I was working a full-time job during the day and going to grad school at night and she's 14.

The idea of "downtime" scares the bejeezus out of a lot of parents.
Agreed, and this saddens me.

Disorganized Rink Rat (or "pickup") hockey was a huge part of my life as a kid. Wouldn't trade it for anything!

A lot of kid sports these days are set up like they are all going to be Olympians.
 
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