For the last few years I have been heavily involved in designing outdoor websites. Some have been public service/non-profit, and some have been to put a little money back in the pocket. The real reason for my focus on outdoor websites involved a long range goal.
That goal was pretty simple in concept, but mighty tough to accomplish it seems. It's my opinion that the major reason for the decline of the USA centers around the erosion of the "family unit". When I look back at my youth, and compare it to what our young people deal with today, I see many differences, but the most glaring is time spent in front of video screens as opposed to "playing" outdoors. Don't get me wrong, I obviously spend a substantial amount of time working at this computer, but I do the best I can to balance it with quality time outdoors! With the possible exception of playing rock 'n roll in front of crowds in the 1970's, ALL of my fondest memories involve family and friends... and most involve the outdoors. I do not believe kids are given that same opportunity today.
In my travels across the country the last couple of decades, this subject has come up with regularity. It affects all of us, no matter what race, gender, religion, age, or political stance. The story is the same from Oregon to Florida, from the big cities to the smallest towns. So many kids don't even know how much fun it is to spend the day at the lake... because they've never experienced it! I cannot tell you how many smiling faces I've seen on kids who landed their first fish, caught their first fly ball, or held their first horny toad. Those moments are golden, and can change that child's life... if given the opportunity!
Of the hundreds or maybe thousands of people I've spoken to about the need to accomplish this goal, not once have I heard someone disagree. Not once! You know what they all say? "OK, I'm in... so what do we do?"
Hopefully Youth Outdoors USA will answer that question... If the website succeeds, the sky is the limit to what we might accomplish. My vision is that YOUSA will be a "portal" to an unbelievable array of beautiful outdoor pictures, great educational articles, funny stories about kids outdoors, links to other terrific kids outdoor websites, etc...
But it won't happen unless many of you get involved. It's entirely up to those of you who are committed to making this country a better place for future generations...
If I've tweeked your interest enough, please take a look at Youth Outdoors USA...
If you visited the home page of Youth Outdoors USA, you read the following "Call to Action". It basically explains that of the 85 pages on this website, 60 are blank, just waiting for articles, stories, photos, and links from anybody who wants to help accomplish the goal of getting kids and their families back outdoors. There are also a couple of main category pages needing someone to "take charge".
Here's the deal... I could just as easily populate all the pages with royalty free content from literally hundreds of ezine and photo sites, but I really want everything to come from people who are committed, so please consider giving up a little bit of your time to tell a story about your experiences in the outdoors with family and kids, submit photos of family gatherings at the lake, write educational articles, or whatever you think would be beneficial to today's kids.
We are happy to add your name, and other information including links to your personal or commercial website or blog to any submission, if you so desire.
Although visitors to the site will be required to complete a short form in order to submit to YOUSA, as a member of this forum you are welcome to submit to me at firstname.lastname@example.org without the form. Just tell me on which page you'd like to put your submission, and it will be done.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thanks so much for considering becoming an active part of Youth Outdoors USA!
"YOUTH OUTDOORS USA IS IN YOUR HANDS
Because Youth Outdoors USA is a non-profit website, we rely almost entirely on your submissions for content, and thus you will determine just how much we accomplish. In return, it is our commitment to do the best we can to ensure the highest placement possible on the major search engines through optimization of all pages. If we are successful, your kids outdoor articles, photos, and stories will be viewed by thousands, and possibly millions of people.
As of August 20, 2009, the official kick off of Youth Outdoors USA, there are dozens of empty pages needing to be filled with your submissions! Each of your articles, photos, and stories related to youth outdoors can include your name and other information including a link to your personal or commercial website address, if you so desire.
If you are not comfortable with your ability to write or maybe you have photos that need attention, but have great potential, we are happy to edit your submission, so that you will be proud to have them shown here.
Bottom line is this... Youth Outdoors USA is the opportunity we believe many people across our country have been waiting for... to make a difference in the outcome of the US, and bring our families back together outdoors!
Thanks so much for giving YOUSA a little bit of your day!"