Give the Gift of Adventure
In the middle of the holidays I sometimes get caught up in trying to find the “perfect” gifts for my children, while at the same time realizing that I don’t really want to give them “stuff.” What I really want to give are experiences and opportunities for growth. I want to give them a chance to step away from the pressure of school and the world so that they can reconnect with what’s important to them, find joy and be inspired. For the last several years that perfect gift has been the opportunity to participate in a Hante Adventure.
I recently read an article that sighted a study from psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David Strayer who found that “creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.” Participants in this study disconnected from technology and headed out on a 4 day backpacking trip. When asked to perform creative thinking and complex problem solving tasks, the participants ability to do so improved by 50%. These findings are not at all shocking, nor or those of many other researchers who study the effects of time in nature on the brain, including Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. Bratman also found that study volunteers who went on brief, “disconnected” walks through the lush grounds of Stanford were more attentive and happier after their walks than their counterparts who walked through busy streets.
There’s no doubt that time in nature, removed from distractions and technology is good for our emotional health and can reduce anxiety and boost well-being. We see it in our campers and Hante Adventure participants each summer as they head to the mountains for 1 – 3 weeks to connect with nature, friends and to themselves. I see it in the joy on the faces in and the hearts of campers and staff as they return from a day hike at Black Balsam Knob or from 3 days with their X-craft class. I feel it when I talk with teens about their 3-week “Hero’s Journey” on Hante; they are all at once inspired and filled with peace.
So, this year as you think about what would make the perfect holiday and birthday gift for a special teen in your life, consider signing them up for a for a Hante Adventure.
By Paige Lester-Niles