When placed on hold with Ontario Parks, you hear the soothing sound of loons drifting through the phone. There’s a reason for this. The instant you hear the ethereal sound of these northern wilderness birds, your mind immediately transports you to a time and place where you could smell pine needles intermingled with lake water and fresh air. It makes you want to hang up the phone and go outside. Whether you discovered the great outdoors with your parents in a cramped tent (perfumed faintly with mould) or with your friends at summer camp, developing an appreciation for nature is to childhood what traffic is to driving in the city.
(WATCH: Camp Alumni: Cedar Swan.)
It’s not just the peaceful soundtrack of nature or the feeling of leaving everything behind, being comfortable in nature gives you the confidence you can bring with you into everyday life. “I think for a young person it’s really important to be confident on your own—having the tools and the confidence to be yourself in those environments and situations is key to your success,” says Cedar Swan who runs Adventure Canada, a tour company that offers educational adventures aboard expedition ships. Having grown up attending both YMCA Camp Pine Crest and YMCA Camp Tapawingo, Swan embodies the assurance that summer camp plants in childhood.
Interacting with nature is essential to our well-being. Perhaps it’s built into us like Lego blocks, or it’s escapism at its best. Or maybe it’s our abbreviated season. Regardless of how you meet up with nature, at the cottage, camping with the family or having fun at summer camp, no summer is complete without a little outdoors time. Go find your adventure.
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What’s your favourite way to spend time in the outdoors? Share your tips and stories with us in the Comments section below.