Camping in the northeast

Donations from Cincinnati Enquirer readers recently allowed 300 urban teens to go on their very first camping vacations, introducing them to the joys of staying at campgrounds and enjoying the outdoors.

Recently, the Outdoor Adventure Club of Greater Cincinnati, a group that makes outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking available to underprivileged teens, only had enough money to bring 100 of the 300 students who qualified for a camping trip to the Miami Whitewater Forest.

The group, which works with students from Cincinnati’s CPS and Newport middle and high schools, reached out to the community for donations that would let all the qualifying students go camping. The Outdoor Adventure Club takes some 2,200 kids on monthly excursions, and any student who attended half these monthly outings qualified for the camping trip.

According to the Enquirer, the community responded. An anonymous donor provided the $8,800 needed to bring all 300 students camping. Other donors’ contributions added $1,175 that will be put toward future excursions.

For many American families, camping is a hugely-popular activity, with 42.5 million people visiting the nation’s campgrounds in 2011 alone. But for many children and teens who come from underprivileged and inner-city backgrounds, going on a family camping trip isn’t often accessible.

“Most of (the teens) will be camping for their very first time,” says retired Cincinnati Public Schools teacher Denny McFadden, who runs the Outdoor Adventure Club.

These 300 students will get to enjoy, for two days, the many joys and benefits of staying at campgrounds — from some much-needed fresh air to getting physical activity to reconnecting with the beauty of the natural world.

What are your thoughts on this story? How can organizations work to introduce more urban and inner-city youth to the benefits of visiting campgrounds? Share with us in the comments below. Helpful research also found here.