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The Importance of Outdoor Adventure: Encouraging At-Risk Youth to Experience the Outdoors

The power of the outdoors is indescribable. The life skills, larger perspective and appreciation of our natural surroundings cannot be replicated anywhere else.

The majority of these important experiences can happen in our youth through the guidance of our parents, and for many our dads. These experiences not only provide new perspectives and learnings but deep memories and irreplaceable bonds that have insurmountable lifelong affects.

For many children, it is a strong reality that they will not have these formative outdoor experiences, because they do not have the parents to provide them.

Majesty Outdoors Foundation is a non-profit organization that has recognized the effects of being without a parent, and specifically without a father, and they utilize the power of the outdoors to heal. They fulfill their mission by engaging fatherless teens with outdoor adventures to instill positive memories and bonds with nature and mentors.

This is our recent interview with Majesty Outdoors on the importance of outdoor adventure in the lives of at-risk youth, and the power of outdoor adventure to heal.

What is Majesty Outdoors?

Majesty Outdoors Foundation is a 501-c-(3) non-profit, whose work is focused on bringing awareness to the fatherless epidemic in our society and enacting real change in our communities related to the growing Fatherless Generation.

One in three children will grow up without a father figure in their home. With the power of the family unit dynamic on a child, growing up without a key figure in that unit causes these youth to be at a higher risk of high school dropout, teen pregnancy, and suicide.

Why is it important for teens to experience the outdoors?

Majesty Outdoors Foundation leverages the outdoors as our canvas for many reasons, not the least of which are the bonds that are typically forged between father and son/daughter. At-risk teens can acquire new skills and experiences, meanwhile meeting a core need of forging bonds with adult mentors.

Outdoors experiences & adventures often involve massive amounts of planning and time to accomplish the goal of the experience – this amount of effort instills in Majesty Outdoors Foundation’s teens a sense of appreciation in seeing the dedication it takes from all of our staff and volunteers.

Why is it important for teens to experience adventure?

It’s important for teens to experience life outside of their normal environment to learn more about the world outside of their typical surroundings.

On an adventure, you typically try new things and learn things about yourself that you might not have known before. Teens can experience challenges, and triumphs, all in one adventure.

What kind of activities do teens experience in your programs?

We take teens fishing, hunting, camping, and more. Ultimately the goal of the program is to introduce teens to skill building activities that they wouldn’t normally have the chance to experience in their everyday lives.

What are the consequences of the absence of a father figure in a teenager’s home?

The negative effects on young children in fatherless households are widespread. Statistics show that children growing up without a father have higher rates of dropping out of high school and a significant chance of becoming incarcerated.

A large percentage will become pregnant as a teenager or at-risk of committing suicide.

Why do you think outdoor experiences and adventure is something which is lacking from the life of a fatherless teen?

Although the number of female hunters is increasing, men still make up the majority of the 13.7 million hunters in the United States, so the teens who lack a father figure in the home are most likely missing the opportunity to experience the outdoors.

This could also be a result of the struggles that result in a single parent household, most single mothers don’t have the time or resources to take a child on an outdoor adventure if they themselves aren’t familiar with it.

Your programs allow teenagers to travel all over the United States – what are some of your most popular destinations?

We hope to travel to more locations, but to date we have taken teens to the outdoors in south Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

The teenagers currently in your program, how do their lives change after taking part in Majesty Outdoors?

The teens that appear on our television show, Majesty Outdoors, receive a scholarship and are sent home with a cooler full of their catch of the day that will supply them with meals that could last month’s depending on the size of the catch.

They also walk away knowing they now have a male mentor figure in their lives that they can turn to with things they couldn’t before.

How can people get involved as a mentor?

Through Generation Outdoors, a mentor training & equipping program launched in 2013, Majesty Outdoors Foundation partners with local churches to train men and women of faith in mentoring fatherless children in their communities.

For Generation Outdoors, the platforms for mentoring these fatherless children are not just hunting and fishing.  Group activities are rooted in anything and everything outdoors and are accompanied by faith-based lesson plans, which are tailored to the group activities.

The mentees receive spiritual development and the realization that there is a strong support network to increase self-esteem through the mentors of Generation Outdoors.

How can teenagers join the Majesty Outdoors program?

Teenagers can join the Majesty Outdoors Foundation in multiple ways. You can nominate a teen to be selected for a life changing adventure on Majesty Outdoors TV, or you can learn more about Generation Outdoors through our website.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

    12 Comments

  1. Megan, having been a cop for the last 17 years, I can’t help but take the law enforcement perspective in considering your article. In my opinion, your words are spot on! Fatherless children and other at-risk kids need to be taken out of their little world, (much too often an urban crime-ridden environment,) and afforded the opportunity to see there’s a great big world out there. Many of today’s kids are gunning each other down for some rival piece of concrete turf. They do not understand how much more to life, how much more purpose and meaning there is, because they’ve never left the block. The program you highlighted here in this blog transcends above the ordinary realm of travel writing. You hit on something truly special- an outdoor organization committed to giving children a future who might otherwise not have one. I’m really proud of you for shedding light on this subject.

    • Hi John, I’m so glad you enjoyed our interview – now that I’ve built my blog to a point where it is a platform which has the potential to reach people, I enjoy promoting really meaningful programs and organizations which make a difference.

      I’m so glad that the post resonates with you, thankyou so much for your kind words. I’m really glad these kind of features are reaching people!

  2. Fatherless children and “other” at risk kids need to be taken out of their little world.

    Is this statement a joke?

    • Hi Will, I don’t believe John meant that with any offence – I read the main point of that statement as that opportunities are often less when your situation is limiting, and programs like this are great for introducing youth to an environment which they haven’t had the chance to experience yet due to their circumstances.

      I hope you enjoyed the post overall 🙂

  3. Hi Megan,

    This is a piece close to my heart, as I’m a big outdoors person and I have a 4-year-old who I take on outdoor adventures every week. I love this idea and agree that there are so many benefits to outdoor immersion for youngsters. And yes, with a father figure.

    Thanks for promoting this.

    I wonder though, is mentoring in this program open to people that are not of the ‘faith’?

    Andy.

    • Hi Andy, so glad you enjoyed the interview. I’m not 100% sure re mentoring being only open to people of the ‘faith’ though I’m sure if you reach out and inquire they would be able to give you all of the information re signing up as a volunteer.

      Have a great week and keep enjoying the outdoors!

      Meg

    • Absolutely – and it really is, these kind of experiences are priceless and it’s these kind of childhood memories that I’ve found we generally cherish 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the interview Carrie – hopefully we can spread awareness and make a difference 🙂

  4. Hi Megan,
    Interesting article. Heaving been in the Outdoor Industry since completing my degree in 1997 in the UK I have seen the industry change from being originally aimed at developing the individual to a more watered down version replicating a play park with artificial type rides and high ropes courses. Unfortunately many people in authority believe the same outcomes can be achieved from these courses.
    In my business I am offering real journeys to families and this is great fun and it is great to see family units working together during their holidays.
    it great to know there are charities out there continuing the original work and we have that too over here, just very sad that the authorities don’t do more in this area!
    Would be great to meet you guys if you ever make it over here and are in Edinburgh give me a shout.

    • Hi Ollie, thanks for sharing your experience in the industry. The organizations who offer opportunity for real personal development definitely seem to be few and far between these days. I agree that it’s sad when a company believes a high ropes course will suffice for development.

      Will definitely reach out when we come via Edinburgh next. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read 🙂

      Happy holidays

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