For as long as I can remember I have always felt extremely uncomfortable in social situations. Never liking to do things alone, when I was younger, I couldn’t even go to a store and pay for an item myself, the thought of talking to the teller was too much for me. It wasn’t until more recent years I learned that Social Anxiety was a thing, and that I started to look for ways that really help.
I remember when I was 10 my grandma sent me to a summer camp for my birthday, I remember being so scared that I wouldn’t make any friends or that nobody would like me. When I got to camp, we spent 90% of our time outside, it was so refreshing, and I didn’t spend time worrying about my fears. Instead I made friends easily and it is one of my fondest childhood memories.
Most of my childhood was spent outdoors, playing kick the can with the street kids, running into the gully behind our neighbors houses to go down to the creek and try to find bugs and animals or playing outside in our pool. I have very rare memories of playing inside as a kid, we just didn’t do that.
With the technology that we have today it is much harder for us to pull our children away. Most of us know that our screen time is increased for our children from that of our childhood. That we often rely on the tablet or phone to help get us through a rough family dinner that our toddler is not wanting to be at. There is so much to learn from technology there is no doubt it is the way our future is going, but what about all there is to learn from nature?
The summer camp I attended taught me so much about nature, and the outdoors, we went on hikes in the woods, nature walks, and clean up walks on the beach. None of us wanted to play video games or watch tv because we were so interested in all that was around us. What if we could provide a space now for our children to do the same? Well that is what Sea Smart School is providing for our children.
Sea Smart School is providing a space for children in grades K-12 to get off their screens and get into nature to learn about all the things it has to offer and what we can do to maintain its health. If you haven’t heard of Sea Smart School, it is a non-profit organization in Metro Vancouver that was started by Dr. Elaine Leung. “Dr. E” is a marine biologist whose vision is to inspire and empower youth to protect and love their oceans.
Sea Smart was founded in 2016 and has since helped more than 25,000 students reconnect with nature and reignite their love for their outdoor surroundings. Studies show that children who spend more time in nature have better self-esteem, that it increases their physical and mental health, and promotes their interest in biological sciences. Its also been found that children who spend time in extra curricular activities have a reduced risk of being involved in drugs, alcohol, crime or to drop out of school. They aim to focus our children on essential life skills, social responsibility, creative thinking, personal awareness, all while increasing their awareness and appreciation for the natural world around us.
Some of you may be thinking that extra curricular activities are not something you can afford at this time. Because of this Sea Smart has an amazing bursary program. Their bursary program follows a “pay what you can” model that allows every child the opportunity to attend summer camp. Their bursary program is funded by donations and event sales of t-shirts, reusable glass straws, etc.
The summer camp takes place at Acadia Beach, a biodiversity goldmine on the northwest tip of UBC. Students will spend their day exploring beach at low tide, identifying all the marine critters (from sea stars to Killer whales). They will learn about the threats our ocean creatures face and brainstorm every-day changes they can make to become environmental heroes. The day is filled with fun interactive games and activities that help kids to develop skills and awareness around our beautiful ocean. The children literally get their feet wet in the world of marine biology.
I realize that a lot of my readers are not in the Metro Vancouver region therefor they are unable to attend this camp, however there is still something you can do from where you are. You can donate providing a child who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend summer camp the opportunity to go and enjoy time in nature, go to this link to donate now. As well you can bring Sea Smart to your school. Sea Smart also runs an after-school program, and K-12 full day workshops where they work with students to create positive changes and engage in action-based conversations. If you are or know a teacher who has a passion for the environment and would like to bring this to your school please email: Lily Haines, Sea Smart Marine Biologist – firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have so much passion towards this Non-Profit organization and have been fortunate enough to team up with them to give one lucky followers child an opportunity to attend Sea School Camp. All you have to do is like the picture below, Follow @seasmartschool on Instagram and follow @monsterzmama on Instagram and tag a friend (tag in separate comments please), every tag is an entry. Contest Ends: June 30th 11:59pm PST. Winner will be announced July 3rd.
For bonus ways to enter: Share the post on your Instagram stories tagging @monsterzmama and @Seasmartschool