At Vecino Verde our mission is simply to broaden the scope of children’s futures by allowing them to experience outdoor adventures beyond their immediate home surroundings.
In random surveys conducted by our staff, almost half of the inner city middle school children we were teaching had never been outside their own city. Their idea of America revolved solely around neighborhood and school.
Most of these children had never visited a state park or a farm. In some cases, pictures are all they have to depend on. They don’t know the meaning of enjoying “The Great Outdoors”. Many do not know where their food originates from or what it takes to grow it. In fact, some believe that their food is miraculously grown in the back of their grocery store!
Almost all of these kids have never been on a boat, caught a fish or been on a hike in the woods. It’s no wonder that many of our children are fearful of storms and of the unknown. They’ve never been taught how to survive in challenging circumstances without the aid of technology or big business/government.
When America was mainly an agriculture based society, life skills were passed down as a rite of passage from parent to child. In many cases, it was considered a matter of personal honor to be taught these things. With the spread of technology and the speed in which our world now moves, it seems that most of these traditions no longer exist. We want to change that. We believe these two things:
- Technology has its place in helping mankind.
- Our youth should be taught these “Forgotten Arts” that almost every child knew many years ago.
Here at Vecino Verde, we feel it is important for children to get out of their comfort zone and to experience outdoor connections in nature. We make every opportunity to meet new people and learn from them so as to broaden a child’s scope of possibilities in life.
Some of the things we encourage our children to experience are:
Fishing, hiking, growing vegetables, visiting farms and parks, learn about preparing their own foods, small boat operations with training in navigation and seamanship, basic first aid, CPR, environmental protection, using a map and compass, recognizing a certain bird in the woods, and building an emergency shelter.
Once a week we meet on Saturdays for a day of scheduled fun. With the help of knowledgeable, vetted volunteers, a Friday night sleepover and then a full day of fun on Saturday is our goal. There’s nothing better than bacon and eggs cooking over an open grill followed by a morning adventure.
Our weekly outdoor sessions serve to complement Camp Valion, our first premier program.
We have designed Camp Valion from the start to provide kids with exciting outdoor adventures in a safe learning environment. Campers visit all kinds of interesting places. They might be at a farm in the morning, caring for animals before lunch, followed by a fishing lesson in the afternoon. Every day is different, they might even encounter a Native American dance group or learn about aviation at the local airport.
While outdoor skills are our primary focus, we also spend time learning about our local history and cultures. It’s all about sparking an interest in a kid’s mind that will give him/her that little push to see that there is so much to reach for as they grow up.
Anyone age 10 and up can join V.V. It’s FREE to join! Local volunteers that can train up our next generation are always needed.