February 11, 2014

The Importance of Adventure in Society

Commentary from guest blogger Shannon Goff

When I was a child, all I did was run outside and climb my grandmother’s weeping willow or huge apple tree. My friends and I spent every minute we could out of the house, and we thought it was just wild to run through the woods and play hide and seek for hours and hours in the yard. The thing is, these memories are the ones where I remember being truly happy and carefree.

My adventures helped me understand myself; they gave me a true image of what I could accomplish and what I could push my mind and body to do. I gained immense satisfaction and a positive sense of self-worth by setting and achieving goals for myself through adventurous activities.

Unfortunately, it seems like so many people today prefer staying indoors instead of exploring the outside world. Many kids and adults would rather stay safely locked away in their houses, attached to their phones or computers or video games. However, the need for adventure is inherent in everyone; and it’s time to revitalize it.  

As women, it is important to be the explorers of today and inspire others to follow suit. We can recollect memories of being outside romping around as a child, but for today’s youth those experiences are much rarer. An article from The Guardian cited a 2008 study by Play England,

“70% of adults had their biggest childhood adventure in outdoor spaces among trees, rivers and woods, compared with only 29% of children today… [the] majority of young people questioned said that their biggest adventures took place in playgrounds.”

I was shocked when I read this. Adventure is a crucial element of a successful and full life, and less than 50% of those children surveyed had ever had a real outdoors experience other than a jungle gym. This is insane. Now more than ever, we must stand up as strong, female members of society and motivate today’s youth to find their own adventures. Having explorations and adventures from a young age creates resilience and a strong sense of independence, which are qualities I believe every female, even every person, should acquire and maintain. Furthermore, another British study found that “around 55% of girls and young women questioned agreed there is a lack of strong aspirational women in general.” This is absurd. Let us be those women that change their minds. Strong role models in local communities and in society in general show girls and young women that they can achieve great things. Young girls need female role models that are confident, courageous and adventurous.

This doesn’t mean that we have to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, or bike across America. By simply going outside of our comfort zones and doing things that bring risk and change to our daily routines, we are creating adventurous lives and leading others by example. There are plenty of things we can do, whether it’s going bungee jumping or learning how to kayak. The important thing is that we go out there and live life, for that’s how we can show ourselves and others exactly what we’re made of. Everyone has the ability to inspire others, and we need to take advantage of this fact and become positive role models for the rest of society. We must become the driving force that moves others, both younger and older, toward a more active future.

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