A number of years ago a friend of mine bought a group of kids up from Reno to Lake Tahoe and was shocked when one of the children asked if there were sharks in the Lake. The child though he was looking at the sea. His whole life he had rarely been outside of Reno and never before to Tahoe, despite the close proximity to his home. This experience led John to form Sierra Nevada Journeys which does incredible work in Washoe County to bring environmental education and outdoor experiences to the local schools. Here in Tahoe our children are more fortunate but I am still surprised when some of our members have never been to the East or the West Shores, or have limited experience of hiking or bike riding.

Risk and adventure are a vital part of growing up. We only need to watch our members on the playground to see how they love to jump, swing, climb and run. It is through being active that children learn what their bodies are capable of and in this age of obesity, being active is vital to their long term health. But being active in the outdoors and doing adventure activities is extra special. Kids crave adrenalin, they need the buzz that comes from appropriate risk taking, and the confidence that a child gets from successful completing a physical challenge cannot be beaten. It is worth noting that as children’s’ lives became ‘less risky’ – we started driving them to school and confined play to the front yard – engagement in inappropriate risk (smoking, drugs, petty crime and sexual activity) increased. In terms of evolution we are still not that far removed from the caveman and his survival was determined by his ability to recognize and manage risk. Therefore our brains still crave education and experience in risk and adventure while we are young, and that is why here at the Boys and Girls Club we recognize the need for our members to participate in outdoor adventure activities.

Already this summer we have had an adventure camp for our elementary age group. This week 10 of our teens are on a FREE five day backpacking trip with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and thanks to Vail Epic Promise, all members over the age of 7 will have the opportunity to experience the Heavenly Epic Discovery Adventure Camp. And I can personally promise that the G-force on the Alpine Coaster will make even the most nonchalant eight year old boy’s heart beat a little faster. Every afternoon the teens go offsite to enjoy the beach, swim in the Lake, play on the rope swing or do some paddle boarding. Not only is this getting them away from the X-box, but is also teaching them social skills, team work and group dynamics, all while providing that all important dose of adrenaline.

If you are interested in providing your child with an extra helping of appropriate risk and adventure then we still have places available on our Teen Adventure Camp (ages 11 and up). Held from the 1st to the 5th August, 9am to 5pm each day, participants will enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, climbing, hiking, biking and beach time.

Cost is $200 for BGCLT members and $250 for non-members. All equipment and lunch and snacks are included. Please call (530)542-0838 for more information.