At Colorado Youth Outdoors (CYO), we believe that participation is required to build quality relationships. Therefore, we ask that all participants work together – as a team – in any of the activities that we offer. Whether it is sharpening your skills on the archery or shooting range, learning to tie the perfect fly, or reeling in a catch at CYO, being an engaged participant is the key to mastering skills and building quality, healthy relationships. The opportunity to be an engaged participant does not end when you leave CYO, however. We hope that our guests will bring a spirit of enthusiastic participation to all aspects of their lives – because we believe this will help them gain new skills, live more mindfully, and nurture the relationships that are most important to them.
Perhaps most importantly, participating means being a team player. Sometimes at CYO, we have participants who only want to participate in their preferred activities. Setting limits for how you would like to participate, however, greatly limits the types of experiences that you will have – and your value as a team member. Ultimately, the best way to build skills and relationships is to participate openly in new and sometimes unfamiliar activities. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself to try something new! Only by challenging yourself can you really learning something new. And at CYO the experience of learning with your team will help you grow together.
This team-player attitude is especially important in Parent-Child and Mentor-Child relationships. Working together to learn new skills gives both children and adults opportunities to learn from each other and, in turn, grow their relationship in a natural yet intentional way. We have seen that when parents and children work together each person gets an opportunity to observe, instruct, practice, discuss, and learn. By playing these different roles, parents and children get an opportunity to learn from each other. These types of experiences build a shared sense of involvement and appreciation between family members, and common skills that can add value to any family.
Additionally, relationships are deepened when people participate in different activities together because it provides a valuable opportunity to share experiences. Often, people do not take the time to discuss and reflect on the experiences that have shaped their lives. Children especially are often unaware of the outdoor experiences (as well as the rewards and challenges of daily life) that have shaped the lives of their parents. Taking the time to participate in new activities gives participants an opportunity to reflect on their experiences together as well as providing a forum for other relationship-building conversations.
Finally, we at CYO hope that the experiences our participants have participating in our programming inspire our clients to volunteer. We have seen our clients achieve more healthy relationships and gain valuable, rewarding skills. Many feel compelled to give back. This gives volunteers intrinsic rewards – such as feelings of pride and accomplishment, and, research suggests, a healthier life – as well as the rewards that others experience. In this way, volunteering is the highest form of participation because it is by definition voluntary participation and serves the community, often enabling others to enrich their own lives.
Source on participation and building social capital:
Source – participation in the classroom
Source – 45 page report from Outdoor Foundation on the benefits of participating in outdoor activities:
Source – benefits of volunteering: