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Helping Hands: National Get Outdoors Day

National Get Outdoors Day (NGOD) is this Saturday, June 14, and will be observed in Barstow and across the nation in areas choosing to participate. The meeting place here is at the Discovery Center, 831 Barstow Road and with activities set up surrounding the center. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The goals are to promote outdoor activities and reconnect our youth to the great outdoors. It is a new event and recently launched by a national coalition of partners from dozens of federal agencies, non-profit organizations and the recreation industry. The public is encouraged to come see about the opportunities for healthy outdoor fun!

In Barstow, kids will get an event passport to get stamped at different stations, a goody bag and free lunch. Private vendors will demonstrate outdoor camping, recreation activities and equipment. Burrtec Waste Industries will collect our old tennis shoes for Nike to recycle into various playground surfaces. Donate old tennis shoe and enter for a drawing of an iPod. The City of Barstow will have a station to promote its recreational programs in softball, basketball and have an obstacle course. There will be a rock climbing wall, water maze, drawings and prizes.
From a list of “Top 10 Reasons for NGOD”, here are several to share:

• “A smaller and smaller portion of the nation is deriving physical, mental and spiritual benefits from time on their lands, and use is especially low for American’s poor, our urban dwellers and minority Americans.”

• Today’s American kids are less connected to the outdoor than any previous generations (6.5 hours a day spent watching screens). Six times more likely to play a computer game than ride a bike. Four times more likely to be obese than the previous generation. And now facing shorter lives — a decline of two to five years in average length of life from parents’ expectation.

• America’s youth tell us that we are not reaching them with invitations to be active outdoors because we are not using the communications channels they utilize most: social networking sites including You Tube and MySpace and text messaging and photo sharing from phone to phone. They tell us they are interested in the outdoors but need “triggers,” and National Get Outdoors Day intends to be a trigger.

• Americans are overwhelmed with information over the Internet. Information on what to do and where to do it, is available but we need to help America find it!

• Americans who volunteer are also likely to be healthier. There are abundant opportunities to get healthier by volunteering on public lands.

• Americans have a growing problem that can be addressed with more physical activity — an increase in the percentage of American’s who are overweight and obese. This trend carries big costs — in dollars and quality of life. (seven to 10 deaths now attributable to largely preventable chronic diseases and 3 of every 4 dollars in health care spending is largely to preventable diseases.)

This week Barstow has a busy Saturday with a number of things scheduled. I’ve already written about the Route 66 Museum 8th Anniversary on June 14 also. I’m sure the museum would like me to mention a great deal of the celebration will be in the great outdoors! NGOD is aimed at our future generations but also hopes all will participate and the Route 66 Museum would also like to see both youth and parent generations too. There may be some time for both!

My wish: A good day to all! And perhaps you’ll try to do more than one event! It seems to me that both are very worthwhile!
Helen Bendure is a correspondent for the Desert Dispatch She can be contacted at

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