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 town. Their idea of America revolved solely around neighborhood and school.
Most of these children had never visited a state park or a farm. They don’t know the meaning of enjoying “The Great Outdoors”. Many do not know where their food originates or what it takes to grow it. In fact, some believe that 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 thrive 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 nature. We make every opportunity to meet new people and learn from them 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.
Some things in the great outdoors just can’t be beat. Wonderful memories of bacon, eggs and flapjacks cooking over an open grill followed by a morning adventure are more valuable to a child than silver or gold.
Most of our activities are conducted through our premier outdoor training program named Camp Valion. Valion is a portmanteau of the words “Valiant” and “Lion.” We strive to teach our youth that God truly wants them to live victorious lives, just like a valiant lion. Camp Valion is scheduled numerous times during the year at different locations depending on the season.
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 session, as well as every day is different. Campers might encounter a Native American dance troupe or learn about aviation at the local airport. No two days are the same.
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 reach for new heights as they grow.
Anyone ages 10 and up can attend Camp Valion. And the best part is… It’s FREE! There’s no catch. Campers always attend Camp Valion free of charge thanks to the generous donations of others.
Local volunteers are always needed to help train up the next generation. You don’t have to be an expert fisherman or experienced in the outdoors. All you need is a desire to help a kid become a productive member of society.