The Next Child in the Woods program reflects a bold commitment and vision to re-centre time spent outside and re-establish a connection with nature as a community and societal value. This means that the current structures which dictate and influence levels of access to outdoor and green spaces must evolve: this means education, urban spaces, housing, and transportation to name a few. It also means dissolving financial barriers as they occur now. In recognition of the countless ways that people and families can find themselves unable to cover basic needs, the Next Child in the Woods program is in place so that no child is turned away from Nature Immersion programs due to an inability to cover program fees.
This program gets its name from the 2009 book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv which was a rallying cry at the outset of an unprecedented digital age, where more than ever, children would need opportunities to reconnect with themselves and others. The science is more clear than ever on the many academic, social, as well as health and developmental benefits of time spent outside. Next Child in the Woods is an investment to equitable access to those benefits. This is also a vital investment in future leadership: supporting young people of all backgrounds in becoming effective community organizers, creative innovators and compassionate leaders.
Access to natural and green spaces can no longer be considered a nice to have, luxury or the privilege of a select few. Your donation to Next Child in the Woods will directly support Outdoor Immersion programs. Be a part of changing the story of who accesses nature. Now is the time, and thank you in advance for your contribution to a more just and healthy world.