Taking Kids Outdoors – An Interview with Peter Brown Hoffmeister

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Developing Extreme Outdoor Skills

Whether you explore the nature in your backyard, a park, or a forest, you and your children will gain a better appreciation for simple things.  Photo by Susan Caplan McCarthy

Whether you explore the nature in your backyard, a park, or a forest, you and your children will gain a better appreciation for simple things. Photo by Susan Caplan McCarthy

In reading the book, I was amazed by some of the descriptions of camping experiences with his students that I thought some readers might view as extreme – for example, having teens wear shorts and walk barefoot in the winter to develop a tolerance to the cold.

I wondered if Hoffmeister might be concerned that some parents would look at some of these examples as reasons why they and their children shouldn’t spend time outdoors. Hoffmeister elaborated,

Some of the ideas in the book are very, very basic. But on the other hand some of the concepts or stories are extreme. I wanted to write a book that was accessible to any parent, youth group leader, outdoor volunteer, aunt, teacher, or grandparent.

Yes, preparing students for snow-survival trips (barefoot in winter) is quite extreme. But I wanted those kids to be successful in the backcountry in winter, backpacking on snowshoes and building snow shelters. They needed to be well-prepared for a harsh environment.

Hopefully there’s something for everyone in the book. Richard Louv wrote a book that I love, a great book called Last Child In The Woods, an academic text that explains why children need nature. Some of it is very extreme and/or too academic for certain readers, but there are moments that are accessible to anyone.

My book is very different, it’s more for everyday people, includes more application, examples and how-to ideas, but hopefully it’ll be like Louv’s book and have something for each reader. Bears has lots of small ideas. A few big ideas. I hope parents will read the book and take what they need.

Whether you are a first-time hiker or you can recall vacations spent camping, Peter Brown Hoffmeister’s book, Let Them Be Eaten By Bears, will inspire you to consider taking kids outdoors as a way to connect with your children help them discover confidence in their abilities.

Source

Hoffmeister, Peter. Let Them Be Eaten By Bears: A Fearless Guide to Taking Our Kids Into the Great Outdoors. (2013). Perigee Trade.

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© Copyright 2013 Susan McCarthy, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting

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