Love it or hate it, we are surrounded by a generation of athletes who are pushing the limits and constantly redefining “extreme”. In my world, it’s awesome until I start comparing myself to them, easily filling my head with all of the things I’ll never be able to do. How then, without all of that notoriety and fame, will I ever make a difference in the outdoor world? Simple. Be a mentor.
Seriously, what an amazing idea. Although classes are helpful at learning information, mentors can actually get out outside doing things. Want to learn to climb? Ask your buddy and he’ll be sure to get you up there. Itching to try some new single-track? Ask around at a local bike club and get a group together. We’ve heard it before, but there really is power in numbers. Power to push ourselves harder, get out more often, and try new things. Even if you’re awesome at doing something, chances are, you can team up with a mentor who’s a notch above you and push your game to a whole new level.
Recently I was talking with a friend about how hard it is to figure out outdoor adventures since she didn’t grow up doing them. Throw on top of that bringing kids along, and you’ve got a combination that can easily scare away an eager participant. However, throw a role model into the mix to help mentor them and the situation becomes a whole lot more manageable Questions that may seem second nature to some, will make the difference between a good and bad experience on an adventure. Answers to questions like “how much water should I take on a hike”, “what does poison oak look like”, “how do I tie a bowline knot”, or “why do I need to take duct tape with me” can make a world of difference to a new adventurer.
Yes, mentors are for everyone. The North Face has teamed up with an amazing group of athletes to offer some great advice to parents everywhere, who are raising the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Here is some of their advice:
“Stay creative. Your kids can be your best teachers; don’t be afraid to let them fire up the creativity and fun” Kit Deslauriers. Parent, alpine climber, and skier.
“Include other kids. Kids feed off of each others energy and tend to stay focused on the activity longer if other kids are involved.” Mark Synnot. Parent and alpine climber.
“Exposure. Introduce your kids to aspects of the activity such as the equipment and the enviroment, as early as possible. When they’re actually ready to participate, they’ll be that much more comfortable.” Pete Athens. Parent and rock climber.
“Take a leadership role. Children follow your lead as a parent and a mentor and getting outdoors in new experience provides a unique opprotunity to lead them into challenging, stimulating, educational and FUN experiences.” Michael Wardian. Parent and ultra runner.
So why is a major company like The North Face focusing on something as grassroots as a mentoring program? Simple –
“If people are introduced to the outdoors, they will foster a connection to our natural landscapes that will be with them forever. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of explorers and conservationists by helping them discover nature’s playground.” The North Face
Thanks North Face for helping to inspire the next generation of adventurers!
Athlete and The North Face Quotes found here