Why enroll your child in a summer program with SOLE!

A recent study showed that youth are now spending (9) non-school related hours per day, that’s (63) hours per week connected to a media device1! Add school projects and homework and we are developing a concerning phenomena.   ReWild your child in SOLE’s Junior Naturalist Experience program, or let your teen go on an outdoor adventure of a lifetime in SOLE’s Teen Trek Experience program this summer!  Why? Well let’s take a closer look.

Thanks to brain mapping, we now have evidence that youth and adolescent brains are actually quite sensitive and malleable to external stimuli.  In fact, the adolescent brain has the opportunity to establish essential memory pathways during those years of development, like those related to what are considered executive functions (e.g., higher order processing skills).

Photo credit: Ucla.edu3

During this time, the brain also has the ability to get rid of unnecessary neurons through a process known as neural pruning, which is actually quite similar to getting rid of unproductive limbs on a fruit tee.  As neuroscientist Donald Hebb said, “Neurons that fire together wire together.”2  So, in short, if you don’t use it, you loose it. Because youth are spending an extraordinary amount of time “wired in” to media sources (like social media) they are essentially hard-wiring their brain to function in this fashion, and as a result, expect to receive and process information accordingly.  So you might so so what’s the big deal?

Well, simply put the ‘virtual’ cognitive processes aren’t always applicable in ‘real world’ contexts.  For example, navigating real world problems often requires intellectual flexibility, patience, resilience, and emotional regulation.  When our brains are rewarded in a simple and quick fashion ala ‘how many likes we have’ it presents a false sense of reality – that our end goal is quick and succinct.  This is obviously far from the norm.  Additionally, consider the social deficits that we reinforce as someone continually ‘looks down’ to communicate and relate.  Research is now showing increases in social anxiety, poor communication skills, emotional dysregulation, inattentiveness, and other mental, physical and behavioral health issues all due to being ‘disconnected’ through technology3.  Let’s shift to a cause and effect relationship.

If an animal is constantly fed by humans it becomes habituated – relying on those food sources to sustain their existence.  When released into the wild, they can’t function because they have been conditioned to live a certain way.   The human brain is not much different.  When utilizing technology in an unhealthy fashion, our brain becomes habituated – a creature of habit – expecting to give and receive information a certain way.

Pediatricians, neuroscientists, and youth development experts agree that our youth require diverse and intentional experiences ‘unplugged’ to help them grow into healthy adults.  SOLE’s transformational experiential education programs provides the essential ingredients to explore, achieve, and lead throughout the year.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 Reasons to immerse your child in a natural learning environment with SOLE this summer:

  1. Unplug to reconnect!  Providing an opportunity for your child to take a break from the TV, their smart phone, iPad, and social media accounts allows them to rediscover their creative powers through their natural senses.  This allows them to connect to the real world, with real people, through real activities, and therefore, forge real thoughts and emotions, as well as develop real relationships with others and their environment.
  2. Reconnect with our natural world!  Nature Deficit Disorder is a real condition, which has real consequences.  Summer outdoor experience provides the ideal setting to address nature deficit, and therefore, support  healthy child development.
  3. Develop executive functions!  Can you imagine going on a road trip without a map? Executive functions provide the essential ingredients to plan, organize, problem-solve, and cope when faced with challenges along the way.  SOLE’s summer programs provide the ideal setting for youth to develop these and other executive controls.
  4. Get physically active! As shown in the intro above, youth spend a significant amount of time today just sitting inside, sedentary, and wired-in.  Doing so has a negative impact on personal well-being.  After all, humans were not designed to be sedentary beings.  Through SOLE’s summer programs, and accompanying experiential curricula youth are provided the ideal setting to be physical activity through continuous experiential games and/or activities from start to finish in a fun and engaging fashion allowing the ideal setting to address this deficiency in a novel manner.
  5. Competence yields confidence! SOLE intentionally designs experiential/outdoor education curricula that allows program participants to develop and master outdoor and academic skills while simultaneously building self-confidence and self-esteem through active coaching and a peer-based culture grounded on a safe and positive learning environment.  This provides the ideal setting to take a risk, learn from your failures, and master skills.
  6. Become flexible and resilient! The reality in the ‘real world’ is that it doesn’t always go as we expect it to.  Being successful in life requires that we execute flexibility to adapt to the various stressors that life presents us.  Additionally, it is important that youth develop resilience.  Life chews us up and spits us out sometimes.  The more resilience that we are able to develop in our younger years, the better we are able to endure challenging setbacks.  SOLE’s summer programs provide a healthy dose of challenges that require youth develop these essential skills.
  7. Free time & unstructured play! Picture this.  You hike all day and arrive at a beautiful alpine lake, surrounding by mountains.  Untouched beauty.  In addition, to the other benefits of SOLE’s summer program offerings.  Our programs provide a natural setting to relax, laugh, and make long lasting friendships.  Free time & unstructured play also provide the opportunity for youth to tap into their creative and problem-solving skills which is why we intentionally place this time into our our summer programs, including our Junior Naturalist Experience programs.
  8. Develop meaningful relationships! SOLE’s summer programs provide the ideal setting to develop meaningful relationships with newly found friends, your surrounding natural world, even with yourself.  Our programs provide real world shared experiences without distraction fostering the opportunity to develop sincere and meaningful connections.
  9. Develop essential life skills!  During our programs we often share with our participants — it’s what happens AFTER the SOLE Experience that counts.  In other words, the skills that are mastered and the lessons learned are applicable well-beyond ‘out there’ and can be transferred and generalized into a ‘real world’ setting.  To do so,
  10. Grow independence! – SOLE’s summer programs provide the ideal setting for youth to make their own decisions without parents and teachers in the mix.  Making choices where there is a direct cause and effect relationship can foster independence and related benefits.  SOLE Field Instructors facilitate experiential programs that provide these and other ‘teachable moments’ for program participants.

Oh yeah, it’s good ‘ole fashion fun!

SOLE’s summer programs are uniquely positioned to foster healthy youth development.  SOLE’s summer programs are also the perfect partner for schools, families, youth groups, organizations, agencies, or community centers provide holistic education that yields an increase in personal self confidence and independence, problem-solving and decision-making skills, social and emotional skills, personal and character development – all in positive learning environment under the supervision of positive adult role models with formal experience and education.

So we hope your family will join us this summer as we venture out there!

 

Ready to get started?  Click on one of the SOLE Experiences SM below!

may

No Events

june

10jun(jun 10)9:00 am14(jun 14)5:00 pmLEAD Experience | Closed ProgramLeader of the Day (LOD) Experience | Idaho Vocational Rehabilitation (15-18 y/o)9:00 am - 5:00 pm (14) Chewelah Peak Learning Center

17jun(jun 17)9:00 am19(jun 19)3:00 pmFeaturedFieldwork Experience | OpenJunior Naturalist Experience | Nature Detective: Session I (4-6 y/o)9:00 am - 3:00 pm (19) Round Lake State Park

july

15jul(jul 15)9:00 am17(jul 17)3:00 pmFeaturedFieldwork Experience | OpenJunior Naturalist Experience | Nature Detective: Session II (4-6 y/o)9:00 am - 3:00 pm (17) Round Lake State Park

15jul(jul 15)9:00 am19(jul 19)5:00 pmLEAD Experience | OPEN ProgramLeader of the Day (LOD) Experience | OPEN9:00 am - 5:00 pm (19) Idaho | Montana

22jul(jul 22)9:00 am27(jul 27)5:00 pmFeaturedLEAD Experience | Open ProgramTeen Trek Experience | Exploratory Trek | Male-Specific (13-17 y/o)9:00 am - 5:00 pm (27) PST Cabinet Mountains, Montana

august

05aug(aug 5)9:00 am10(aug 10)5:00 pmFeaturedLEAD Experience | Open ProgramTeen Trek Experience | Empowermnt Trek | Female-Specific (13-17 y/o)9:00 am - 5:00 pm (10) PST Cabinet Mountains, Montana

12aug(aug 12)9:00 am14(aug 14)3:00 pmFeaturedFieldwork Experience | OpenJunior Naturalist Experience | Nature Detective: Session III (4-6 y/o)9:00 am - 3:00 pm (14) Round Lake State Park

september

No Events

october

No Events

Dennison Webb, MA
Founder | Executive Director

 

 

Kersting, T. Disconnected: How to reconnect our digitally distracted kids.

https://ottawamindfulnessclinic.com/2010/05/06/neural-pruning/

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/the-teenage-brain-on-social-media

Are you in the know?

Nowadays, it’s easy to get lost in translation as technology grows by leaps and bounds, even daily it seems.  As a grassroots nonprofit, grounded on a sustainable and forward-thinking vision and mission technology provides the ideal platform to share upcoming events, important updates and other specifics related to who we are, what we do, and how we do it.  As such, it is our aim to keep you up to speed on how to actually stay informed and up to date with all things related to SOLE!  Social media platforms like Facebook continue to evolve, and while we are sure their intention is to maximize efficiency and streamline their process for some (including us mind you) it becomes cumbersome!  In fact, us recently we have become aware that SOLE’s Facebook Feed has been dropping out for some of our followers.  So we’ve done some digging, and we have found a solution which will allow YOU to stay in the know!

First, you need to go to SOLE on Facebook.  There you can follow the simple steps below to ensure that SOLE shows up consistently in your Facebook Feed.  Again, go to the SOLE Facebook page which can also be found at the following URL: https://www.facebook.com/SOLEExperiences/ to begin the process.

Are you there?  Great!  You can now complete the simple (3) step process, which is shown in the following image and described in detail below.  This will allow you to stay up to date, and in the know!

How to follow SOLE on FB

  1. “Step 1” (yellow circle in screenshot image) in the process is to click on the RSS Feed button.
  2. “Step 2” (orange rectangle in screenshot image) in the process scroll down and under “In Your News Feed” select “See First”.
  3. “Step 3” (red rectangle in screenshot image) in the process scroll down and under “Notifications” select “On (Events)”.

There you are all done!  Now you will receive up to date info from our News Feed, including upcoming events, programs, online lessons, and all good things related SOLE!