by Jay Liebenguth



Kids going outside, to play, to pretend, to discover – is a good idea. That makes common sense.

I’m not trying to channel my inner old codger but back in my day, if there was a creek and some woods nearby, you wouldn’t have to worry about entertaining us. And, don’t bother looking for us – we’ll be there.

There are even those that believe that there’s something in densely wooded areas that can help us to feel calmer.  The act of taking in, in all of our senses, the forest atmosphere is known as forest bathing or shinrin-yoku.

Doing it with your family this summer in the Rockies is known as Critters, Creeks & Crows: A Family Nature Adventure. “Critters” is Shadowcliff’s annual siren song to come out with your family and play in the woods. Formerly the Eco Family Vacation, it’s an exciting time to unplug and enjoy family-centered learning & playing in the great outdoors.  Guests spend a series of nights in our mountain lodge and enjoy someone else planning all the activities and rustling up the home-cooked meals. It’s an ideal adventure that allows you to reconnect with your family and is designed for ages 6 and up. We love it when the grandparents come, too!

This year we are excited to offer two sessions of Critters: June 25th-28th (three nights) and July 5th-9th (4 nights).

Family Nature Vacation1Family Nature Vacation2



Here are some stats that might freak you out a little bit:

  • Kids spend 7 hours a day in front of an electronic screen, but only 7 minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play!

  • On average, children spend 85% of their time indoors!

Is that how you remember growing up?

And now we have information that backs our common sense need for Environmental Education (EE). From our friends at the Colorado Environmental Leadership Council (CEELC) we learn that EE is a life-long learning process that increases an individual’s awareness of, and relationship with, the environment. Research indicates that children (and adults!) engaged in environmental education experience an increased interest and curiosity in not just life, but also what they’re learning. This in turn gives children an academic edge in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

And guess what? It’s good for you physically, too! Children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces — doesn’t yours? Outdoor play increases fitness and builds active, healthy bodies.



Both sessions of Critters include:

  • lodging and meals for a party of three in one room (children 5 and under stay free, an additional fee required for extra family members over the age of 5 sharing the room);

  • all planned activities;

  • the opportunity to add nights before or after the camp to extend your Grand Lake Colorado vacation.

Pricing for Critters, Creeks, and Crows Session I, June 25th-28th, is $900 at the Early Bird discount before April 1. On April 1, the price settles at $1,000 for this all-inclusive three night stay for three people. Session II, July 5th-9th, is $1200 at the Early Bird discount before April 1. On April 1, the price settles at $1350 for this all-inclusive four night stay for three people. Additional family members over the age of 5 sharing a room are an extra $275 for either session.

Regardless of the session you choose, it is well worth the money knowing the value to your family and to the growth of your children. Plus, this year is Rocky Mountain Park’s 100th Anniversary with lots of special programs being offered all season.

Give your family the gift of playing, pretending and discovery in the Rockies this Summer. It just makes good sense!

 

10474274_768563306498626_1301408329716158749_n_copy“Now I see the secret of making the best persons. It is to grow up in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” — Walt Whitman

If you’d like to learn more about shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing, and how time spent in green spaces can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase your immune defense system, follow this link to the wonderful Mother Earth News article.

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. —Robert Louis Stevenson

Registration forms will be available on our website soon and we’ll update this post. Until then, you can email info@shadowcliff.org to request more information.