Young people aged 4-15 years old are set to benefit from outdoor learning and play opportunities thanks to our Camp Williams programme this Spring!
Nottinghamshire YMCA will be delivering a Camp Williams throughout the Easter and Summer holidays at The Emmanuel School in West Bridgford, offering a huge range of developmental and skills-based adventures for young people. Our mission is to develop the mind, body, and spirit of individuals and communities in Nottinghamshire; our programmes place a large focus on outdoor-based physical sports and play, championing outdoor-based activities that are crucial for a child’s development into a happy and productive adult.
Benefits of natural environments
The importance of this programme comes after new studies by The Wildlife Trust into the impact of outdoor activity on children’s wellbeing suggests that being outside can make young people feel more confident and capable of trying new things. The findings show children experience “profound and diverse benefits” through having regular contact with the outdoors. The data also highlights how children’s experiences in and around the natural world led to better relationships with their teachers and classmates.
Another huge benefit to spending time in the outdoors is physical fitness and sports. While physical fitness is important for children for many reasons, one that may not immediately come to mind is the role it plays in learning. In particular, cardiorespiratory fitness seems to support efficient cognitive processing, and kids with higher fitness levels do better academically. Having access to outdoor sport and activities may encourage children to be more physically active and keep in shape longer as they age. Empowering children to spend time in settings with natural elements or giving them structured outdoor experiences can make for a calmer, socially, safe, and fun learning environment. Being outdoors can also enhance peer relationships and relationships with teachers, even for students who otherwise feel marginalized socially.
Boosting children’s mental health
Outdoor experiential learning and physical activity is at the core of the YMCA Camp Williams programme, which offers play fundamental skills learning in a number of exciting outdoor activities, including kayaking, basketball, football, climbing, mountain biking, scootering, skateboarding, among other life-shaping activities. Camp Leaders offer a safe environment for risk taking and skill development and help campers to build positive relationships with their mentors and friends.
Martyn Gibbons, Camp Williams Manager and Programme Leader, said: “There are many studies that highlight the benefits of outdoor play, including stress relief, improved short-term memory, increased mental energy, improved concentration, creativity, and improved mental health. The great outdoors is a natural playground that contributes to a child’s positive development.
“Children need to explore, take risks, question, experiment, discover, and imagine. These opportunities abound at Camp Williams and throughout all of Nottinghamshire YMCA’s programmes for children. With youth development at our charity’s heart, we know that contact with nature is a source of inspiration for children and essential to their healthy development as well as a sense of spirituality.
“Young people of all ages must learn to push their physical limits and explore emotional boundaries. How high can I climb on the climbing wall? Do I dare get in a river and kayak? The benefits of outdoor activities are a fantastic backdrop for exploring yourself and developing bravery that you never knew you had.”