No children have died falling out of a tree, at least not in the 17 years statistics have been gathered. In fact, the leading cause of death of children is car accidents. While some parents fear letting their children play outside, the same parents think nothing of strapping their children into a car.
Over the last 35 years, attitudes have shifted. Increased screen time, along with fears about playground injuries and child abduction, mean that only a third of Canadian school-aged children get the exercise they need. As a result, childhood obesity, anxiety, and depression have soared.
Getting outside is good for our kids.
That’s why the United Church runs camps across the country. Today, your Mission & Service donations support approximately 25 United Church camps in Canada.
Overall, approximately 20,000 children attend a United Church camp each year. In COVID times, many of these camps have pivoted to continue offering services and encourage kids to get outside.
On Environment Sunday, we often focus on what we can do to reduce our personal footprint and to advocate for changes to social policies, particularly ones that impact climate change. Without a doubt, we need to do more to care for the world God made.
But Environment Sunday is also a good time to stop and appreciate how the created world takes care of us. As Bill Darnell, one of the founders of Greenpeace says: “The environment doesn’t need us. It can get along without us. We need it.”
Let’s pause today and give thanks for all the ways the natural world sustains us, and especially our children. Specifically, we give thanks for the confidence, creativity, and imagination nature builds. For the sense of responsibility it creates. For the stimulation it provides. For the mental and physical health it promotes. For the wonder it inspires.
And we give thanks for all of our camps.
And for you.
Thank you for supporting outdoor ministries through Mission & Service. Your gifts help our children―and all of us―breathe more deeply.