Finally, I went to watch the documentary ‘Project Wild Thing’. Since I saw the trailer, I knew that I wanted, (and needed), to see this film. I wasn’t disappointed.
This documentary is the positive promotion of children being in the outdoors. But it isn’t done in an ‘in your face’ kind of way. The information is very balanced, and the first part of the film is David Bond observing how even his own children choose TV and computers rather than the outdoors.
However, as much as this film gives us some contradictory, light-hearted moments that you would expect when children are in a film, it does illustrate some hard and quite scary facts. Our children are the first in history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents…… how incredibly sad is that??? This statement made me sigh with sadness and despair.
Within my job, I get to see both the immediate, and long-term positive effect that being in the outdoors has on children. We give children the chance to BE children. I have taken teenagers to the beach for the first time in their lives, with one young person asking me ‘how much does it cost to go in the water’. I see the joy from a five-year-old who lives in the city being told he can get jump in the muddiest puddle in the forest because he has wellies and waterproofs on, so it really doesn’t matter how mucky he gets.
I am lucky to be able to share these experiences with the children that we deliver these activities to. I see the benefits, on a daily basis, of the “outdoor experience”.
So, as much as this film made me ponder some difficult questions, I am going to take the positives from it. Children who regularly get the chance to be in the outdoors, benefit from improved health, reduction of stress and boosted well-being. These children also experience joy, happiness and a better mixing with their peers. They also realise the value of spending quality time with their families. I really could go on and on about this but I don’t want to portray myself as “preachy”.
If you get the chance to watch this film, please do. All the information is on the “Project Wild Thing” website. It gives some great information about where you can find activities, depending on how much time you have. It’s a film that makes the viewer think…….. about our own past as kids, about our childrens’ ability to feel a truly natural awareness of present-day life, and perhaps how we could enhance their future…. for the better.