Maximize Your Exposure: How to Grow Your Business by Attracting

Maximize Your Exposure: How to
Grow Your Business by Attracting
Millennials, Women and Kids
Edited, Compiled and Chapter Introductions by
James Taylor
Book Preforeductionments and Chapter Materials by
Ed Councill
To Outfitters (PPA/AO/AOA/etc.), teachers, parents, school administrators
and others interested in youth as paddlers:
The button you just pushed opens an eBook that was written for those of
you wanting to attract a younger clientele to your business. Your reasons
vary from commercial, to philanthropy, to outdoor education, to
environmental education, and in parts of the world even religious reasons.
No matter which is yours or a combination, this eBook will be useful.
However, it's built on an in-school model; so it's not surprising that we are
using a "blog" approach for its expansion to other models, particularly an
after school one in Detroit that Alan Heavner has pursued. When he sends in
his experiences over the past several years, we will add them to the eBook;
so look for the blog, which will be coming to this site soon.
Yes, we probably have some typos and other non-substantive errors in this
edition. But we wanted to get it out in time for the historic conference in
Florida in December where a new 'wedding' of outfitters in our industry will
be celebrated at long last. I am excited for our industry, its previously
separated members, and those we all can serve so much better together,
while growing professionally together as well.
I regret my obligations will not let me attend this year to chat about this
eBook, and the journey many of you recall glimpses of during the past
conferences and between. OK, one of my obligations is to be with my
grandchildren whose parents, Allison and Nathan, will be there representing
our family and its 33 year old business CANOE KENTUCKY. I'm sure it will
survive, even thrive without us there, tho'.
Thanks to so many of you for your trust and support through your
participation and funding to make this dream come true. Now I want to
share this with you and hope you develop a similar "fire in the belly" for our
youth, our businesses, their industry colleagues, and making a better world
in the process.
Ed Councill, Chair/CEO Paddlesports Industry Foundation
and kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. and coming soon KIDSgrowUS, Inc.
For Heidi
- J
For Bess
- E
As authors, it is hard to do things without other people. We have had so many
influences over the years that have taught us so much. James would like to first of all
thank Heidi Caudill for putting up with him when it comes to writing this book and editing
my part of the eBook. He would also like to thank Dr. Ernest Yanarella from the
University of Kentucky for teaching him so much about environmental education and
sustainability. Additionally, thanks go to James Robert Crockett who taught him
everything he knows about field expeditions and bats. There are also innumerable
politicians that have trained James over the years including Jerry Taylor, Tim Carpenter
and the late Charlie Cox. I learned more from going to political events and observing
than I learned in college.
Ed has had quite a few influences as well on this journey. First would be Bess
Councill who has stood by his crazy whims all these years. Ed would also like to thank
Jim Thaxton and Herb Petitjean who influenced him early on with the pamphlet they
wrote. Next would be Robin Antenucci without which this book, nor kidsGROWkentucky
would not be possible. KGK has spent a lot of time working with several people from
Kentucky’s only historically black college and university, Kentucky State University.
Jennifer Hubbard-Sanchez, the State Specialist for Sustainable and International
Programs, Ed Powe, the retired Outreach Coordinator, Anne Butler, the Director of
Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans, and Gay Broadwater,
the Program Specialist for the College of Agriculture and Extension Service, they all
deserve a special thanks. Additionally, Ed would like to thank Kim Murphy, the
Executive Vice-President for Environmental Affairs for Walt Disney and Derrick
Crandell, the Executive Director of the American Recreation Coalition. Ed would also
like to thank some people who have challenged him and supported him during the
endeavor unlike anyone else. First up is David Wicks of GO Kentucky and the Chairman
of the Board of the Kentucky Conservation Committee. Also, Joy Jeffries, the Executive
Director of the Frankfort Tourism Commission. Ed would also like to thank
Representative Derrick Graham who championed the Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill
of Rights (HCR 29). A few other folks to add to that list is James Clarke, chairman of
Student Voices, Elizabeth Schmitz, the Executive Director of the Kentucky
Environmental Education Council, Ashley Hoffman, the Executive Director of the
Kentucky Association of Environmental Educators, Risa Shimoda, the Executive
Director of the River Management Society, Alan Hevner of Hevner Canoe Rental, and
finally Misty Seitz, the former program director of the Kings’ Center.
We would like to thank all of these special folks. This book would have not been
possible without your help. Thank you!
By: Ed Coun
Is it harder to get out of the maze, or get out of
the box?
Or, are both to
too hard to even think about?
We have an answer below.
Hi, my name is Ed; and I’m an AQUAHOLIC! We all share a planet that is 68% water,
bodies that are 78%, and brains 98%; no wonder we are all addicted to it.
So, the title of this initial section of your eBook is a combination of preface, foreword,
introduction, and acknowledgements, OK? Yes, it’s because I’m not sure of the
difference among them anyway; so, so what!
First, this eBook is a summary report of my incredible journey to market our
paddlesports industry to Millennials and their kids as our sustainable business plan.
The target population that was recommended to us as outfitters was to focus on young
women 18 to 34 with or about to be with children. PPA paid for this to a market research
firm about 12 years ago. “Let’s Go Paddle!” was its name; and attracting these targeted
women (who decide on 65 to 80% of the family’s outdoor leisure activity budget) as the
‘low-hanging fruit’ to enhance our bottom lines and create a lifestyle of paddling for the
next generation was its ‘game’.
OK, the second half of the program failed. It was to be a pilot in the northeast US by
placing a simple ad in the magazines this cohort most often reads. Its $3 million cost
was too high for our industry; so it was shelved.
But the idea was sound; and I could not let it go. After all, I was a big fan of kids
anyway. So, my family business took up going after schools, since kids spend a lot of
time there (more low-hanging fruit). I was aMAZEd (you’ll see why I spelled it this way
later) that several teachers were as or even more enthusiastic about field trips on our
creek than I was. And the money was all the proof I needed that this was a great idea
So, I became addicted to seeing the joy of kids experiencing our little creek, not only for
the first time, but every time after that. It became my main reward for being an outfitter;
and enthusiasm being contagious put a ‘kids’ label on me ever since.
Then two fellow Kentuckians wrote a report under a grant from the National Science
Foundation. Expedition-based Education became my blueprint for kids learning about
their world and its water resources in a way that helped accomplish our livery trade
association’s mission of “preserve, protect, and promote”. This report, though written a
quarter-century ago, is still the cutting edge and precursor of the Children & Nature
Network, chaired by Richard Louv and inspired the resulting No Child Left Inside
Jim Thaxton, then Executive Director of NACLO, and co-author Herb Petitjean with the
Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet earned my heartfelt
appreciation for their job so well done.
But I wasn’t through putting my foot in this bucket of stuff: I was on a crusade for getting
kids outdoors so they could learn more about our planet and even share my lessons
learned as a kid myself from my family of avid campers and boaters on the Chesapeake
Bay. So, no surprise that all the hype about The Last Child in the Woods, and a series
of books noted in the appendix also, was shaping my newfound passion profoundly. And
the aMAZEing journey continued. Other outfitters reached out and shared their
experiences and caught the fever too. It was a magnetic moment for an AQUAHOLICS
ANONYMOUS kids support group among us outfitters (and you all know who you are).
The shit hit the fan in 2005 with Louv’s ‘Last Child’ book; it hit again with Sarbane’s NCLI
bill, which has subsequently died in the Senate; it was given hope by successes in
Harlem by the film “Waiting for Superman” and school principal Geoffrey Canada; again
by Time magazine’s September issue devoted exclusively to public education in 2010;
and driven home by Louv’s follow up The Nature Principle in 2011. If you’re getting hot,
check out the bibliographies in the appendix for even more fuel for your ‘fire’.
OK, enough! What follows is my summary of findings that are the key ‘how to’ elements
of a Program In-A-Box on this issue that I see as an opportunity to grow our industry.
Call me silly, but that’s what all this is about. Also, you have to get in line to call me
names; my family’s already ahead of you by calling me ‘Don Quixote’, their windmill
chaser from “The Man from La Mancha”.
You’ll learn how to choose a strategy for growing your business under this approach;
how to build a coalition that supports your plan; and how to test your initial effort to
attract kids to your site and outfitting services.
If any outfitters answer “yes” to any of the following, they need to rethink their
dated marketing strategy; or better, adopt the one offered to them in this Program-In-ABox project that is the result of a $10K grant to the Paddlesports Industry Foundation
(PIF) from the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) in June, 2010.
QUESTION 1: Are your clients/guests grey-haired, don’t bring kids to your rental shop,
like to do serious bird watching or fishing, either come alone or with a reluctant partner,
are annoyed by the noise and chatter of youth groups, etc. (you know these people well;
they have been faithful users of your services for years)?
QUESTION 2: Are you nervous about your mix of guests that includes partiers, ski or
other single adult clubbers, afraid to either limit or enforce alcohol and other recreational
substances on your premises, promote policies that maintain behaviors that neither
offends other paddlers or adjacent landowners, or concerned about your liability
insurance provider’s upcoming audit or reaction to a critical incident?
QUESTION 3: If you are facing succession, is your client base experiencing negative
and unsustainable growth insufficient to assure continued success in the business’s
bottom line; are your current marketing strategies not working , consistent, and sensitive
to demographic changes in 21st century America?
QUSTION 4: Are your traditional customer service practices outdated and insufficiently
innovative to attract non- traditional users; to fail to meet the” new normal” expectations
of our industry and its future growth; and result in a flat or even a slowly declining bottom
This is not a ‘trick question test’. It provides you a look at the seriousness of the
problems your business is facing. Although one “yes” is bad enough, each additional
admission of being behind the times and growth curve is that much more an indicator of
how far you need to go to grow.
Welcome to this eBook, the purpose of which has three facets: 1) it offers a
marketing strategy to enhance your profitability; 2) it is a data-based approach that has
significant implications for US social well-being; and 3) it is a continuation of an
investment that PPA made in 2002 to attract families and kids to paddling and the
lifestyle that would assure sustainable growth over the long haul. It likewise pursues the
America Outdoors program of reducing barriers to paddlesports, which began in the
mid-to-late 1990’s.
As an acknowledgement, it also builds on the National Science Foundation grant
to PPA’s predecessor (the National Association of Canoe Liveries and Outfitters, or
NACLO). This document is listed among the reading materials that relate to and
document the assertions behind the concepts of this program. Therefore, the journey on
which this program is largely based is some 30 years in the making. It has been
revisited recently due to several game changing events.
Do not worry; I will not bore you with the details of this adventure, at least until
you choose to really get into it in selected chapters. So, this eBook is divided into
groups of chapters for your convenience and ease of reference. The first portion has
several chapters devoted to the first major decision: CHOOSING A MARKET
NATIONAL ALLIANCE. An Appendix containing actual documents (including a reading
and reference list) is available at the end of the EPILOG.
This eBook format was selected so we all can contribute to this opportunity to
address the issue of sustainability for our industry and businesses, as well as the
connections we offer to the public to be a more informed citizen and steward of the
planet we call home. Thus it is an open source that welcomes your comments, ideas
and constructive criticism. We are all in this together; and the power of many has a high
probability of positively impacting our future, both as individual outfitters, as well as
facilitators of a new nature connection for those who are attracted to our doors.
Let’s get started!
It’s Time to Be A “Hipster”: Introduction
In the December 2012 issue of The Crafts Report, there was a letter to the editor that
unfortunately shows how the baby boomer generation views the Millennials and their
I have been disappointed by some recent changes. I noticed that the magazine
is getting thicker again, and I appreciate that, but it seems like you are jut filling
the space with advertisements and photos from Facebook! I don’t care to see
some new crafter’s work, no matter how good you think they are. If they’re not an
established professional, it doesn’t inspire me. Also, the November issue has a
cover that looked like she was flipping me off. Who is this woman? She’s just
some “artist” off of Facebook. I don’t know what you are trying to do. Be hip and
edgy? Well apparently your magazine is too cool for me. I am a crafter, and not
a hipster.
Let me be blunt. If you believe that young people are not worthy of your business, you
are reading the wrong book.This book is about reaching out the Millennials and their
kids. However, if you are an outfitter and you have noticed that your patronage is
beginning to get older and grayer, this is the book on how to grow your business and
keep it healthy for decades to come.
As you will find out in this book, Millennials and their children is the future of everything,
including your business. If you look at the election results from the 2012 Presidential
election you will see there are three demographics that are becoming increasingly more
powerful. According to these are how things broke down on November 9,
2012: President Obama: 61,176,680 votes and Governor Romney: 58,173,364 votes.
Women made up 53% of the total vote.18-29 year olds made up 19% of the vote and
30-44 year olds made up 27%. Millennials are voting now because they range in age
from 32 years old to 12 years old. So, if you are 18 years old today, you were most likely
born in 1994 and this was the first presidential election you voted in. This means things
are changing. As a paddlesports professional you must reach out to women and the
millennial generation.
This eBook will show you how to choose a marketing strategy, set up the plans, goals
and objectives to put a coalition together, implement a pilot project, take these folks out
on actual expeditions, do follow ups and evaluations, get sponsors, share your
experience with others and lobby your local governments in an attempt to reach kids
and the Millennial Generation.
If you believe that Millennials are not worth the time or the effort, like the person who
wrote the letter to the editor, then your business is done for. If you don’t reach out the
Millennials, the women and the non-whites you are done. If you think this person is
“flipping you off” go find another book and a rocking chair.
The quote and the cover photo are from the December 2012 issue of The Crafts Report.
However, if you are ready for change and can handle it, grab a chai tea and sit back and
read this eBook. It will change your business and your life.
It’s Toasted: Choosing Your Marketing Strategy
In the first season of the hit AMC show “Mad Men”, the cigarette industry was facing a
challenge. Science said that smoking causes cancer and was bad for your health. It was
Don Draper’s job to choose a marketing strategy to keep one particular company in
Don Draper: This is the greatest advertising opportunity since the invention of
cereal. We have six identical companies making six identical products. We can
say anything we want. How do you make your cigarettes?
Lee Garner, Jr.: I don't know.
Lee Garner, Sr.: Shame on you. We breed insect repellant tobacco seeds, plant
them in the North Carolina sunshine, grow it, cut it, cure it, toast it...
Don Draper: There you go. There you go.
[Writes on chalkboard and underlines: "IT'S TOASTED."]
Lee Garner, Jr.: But everybody else's tobacco is toasted.
Don Draper: No. Everybody else's tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strikes'... is
Roger Sterling: Well, gentlemen, I don't think I have to tell you what you just
witnessed here.
Lee Garner, Jr.: I think you do.
Don Draper: Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know
what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear.
It's a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever
you're doing is OK. You are OK.
Lee Garner, Sr.: It's toasted.
Lee Garner, Sr.: I get it.
Today, you, the outfitter, are facing your biggest challenge to your industry. People
participating in paddlesports are getting older and grayer. Your competition is not other
outfitters; it is new technology and the way that the “outdoors” has been branded by
other industries. Is playing an Xbox safer than canoeing in the short term? One could
make the argument either way. Is it more fun? That should be a resounding “no.”
Outfitters, like you, need an “it’s toasted” moment. You need to figure out how to reach
out to the next generation. Let me show you some facts about the next generation that
will be coming into their own in the next four years.
Colleen Dilenschneider, an audience engagement specialist, says, “The millennials
aren’t coming. They are here now.” For those of you who don’t know, Millennials are
those people who were born between 1980 and the late 1990s. I am one of those
Millennials and just like Colleen, I embody the traits of my generation: I’m an over-
educated, hierarchy-denying, collaborative, public service motivated, “super special,”
connected, social media addicted, perhaps-a-bit-professionally-high-maintenance,
optimistic, parent-loving, digital native. So, let me be an ambassador of my generation
and share some facts with you that Colleen has already shared:
Millennials represent the single largest generation in human history.
Millennials are the first-ever generation that will run America for at least 40 years.
There are more Millennials in the U.S. than another age group.
Millennials will have the largest buying power in the U.S. by 2017.
After the 2012 election, Millennials will largely determine the outcome of the
follow six presidential elections and the public policy priorities that will affect your
Check out Colleen’s article here:
You want a little more proof that you need to focus on the next generation. According to
Amelia Northrup at TRG Arts, there are a few things to know about Millennials.
1) We curate our lives: We have always had access to Google and Amazon. That
means that we have access to almost everything we could possibly want. We will
take the time the research local and original items and experiences and not the
mass-marketed stuff.
2) We spend on what we value: We are classified by baby boomers as being cheap.
There is a good reason for that: we have massive student loan debt. We can’t
afford much. But we will spend on things we value.
3) We give: Yes, we want to give back to our communities.
4) We are “tryers”: This means that we will try something but are more likely to drop
it after the first time.
Check out Amelia’s article here:
So, what does all this mean for you the outfitter? Allow me to be blunt; your industry will
die off with you if you do not have a “toasted” moment. It really doesn’t matter if you are
an outfitter or environmental educator, you industry will die a slow and painful death if
you do not invest in the Millennials and their children. This chapter is about how
KidsGROWus has chosen to market to my generation. But the most important thing to
remember is this; you must have a toasted moment and figure out a way to get my
generation. It’s up to you. “It’s toasted.”
It’s Toasted Table of Contents
A Proposal to Strengthen the Paddlesports Industry
Growing the Paddlesports Industry via Philanthropy
Top 10 Reasons PIA wants to Get Kids in Boats Now!
KidsGROWKentucky Mission
Memo to All Concerned About Our Kids
Where to the Children Play?
A Frankfort NCLI Team Press Alert October 15, 2010
A Frankfort NCLI Team Press Alert November 5, 2010
A Frankfort NCLI Team Press Alert December 2, 2010
A Case for NCLI + Learning Redefined
NCLI Frankfort Pilot Team News Alert December 9, 2010
Frankfort kidsGROW Team News Alert January 9, 2011
KidsGROWKentucky News Alert February 21, 2011
Memorandum on KYA Step Up for Kids Conference
KidsGROW Memo on a possible Disney Partnership
KidsGROWKentucky News Alert December 14, 2011
KidsGROWKentucky News Alert January 31, 2012
A KidsGROWKentucky News Alert September 19, 2012
Kentucky Association of Environmental Education notification of award for
Excellence in Environmental Education
Civil Rights for Our Kids?
Outdoor Emphasis by Katheran Wasson from The State-Journal
July, 31 2009
The paddlesports industry accounted for annual sales of $367 million in 2008
according to OIA’s research of manufacturers. As compared to bicycling sales of $2.8
billion, or to the outdoor industry as a whole at $5.567 billion; we represented 6.5% of
annual revenues, which makes us a relative small player in this market. However, our
size is misleading. As an example, although these numbers do not include outfitting/rentals, some 55 million people paddled non-motorized watercraft in 2003. This number
equals those who recreated on America’s waterways in motorized boats that year.
Historically, we have been not only a small industry, but also a fragmented one
with respect to the proliferation of paddlesports organizations that ‘represent’ often overlapping segments of our businesses and related interests. Efforts to unify the industry by
merging three similar organizations have failed. A couple have failed more than once,
which is indicative of putting egos and turf above doing what industry leaders have been
wanting for forty years: a single, strong voice in addressing paddlesports participation,
growth and healthy sustainability for the future.
The merger model as a way to strengthen paddlesports has not worked. What is
proposed is an alternative process that attempts to minimize the turf and ego barriers
that have maintained status quo proliferation for too long. New economic realities
demand another approach: one that exposes paddlesports providers to an array of
options for all industry firms organizations to meet their respective needs. Instead of
clinging to the idea that a single association can and does meet all the divergent needs
of paddlesports businesses, a new model is offered that allows each of us to pick and
choose the combin-ation among such providers that capitalizes on each association’s
unique strengths to better meet individual and business needs, as well as those of the
industry as a whole.
Each existing paddlesports association would allow members of the other similar
groups to join as affiliate or trial members of each additional association at a special cost
and membership status, which would not allow full membership privileges and would
likewise be at a reduced cost that would increase over time. For example, a PIA
member could join OIA, AOA, and/or TAPS at 30% of regular dues for the initial year and
65% for the following year. At any time during the initial two-year trial period, the option
to become a full member is available. Dues then would increase to that set by the
respective organization for such status; or the member could drop participation in any
association altogether. This approach could well be a win-/win for paddlesports firms, its
associations and the overall health of the industry.
To participating associations, their pool of members would be enhanced at the
start by welcoming new affiliates. Looking at the current members of the various associations, it is clear that some are attracting members from geographically different areas;
some are attracting members from different outdoor activity sectors; some are narrowly
focused on a single niche within paddlesports; and some have an industry-wide mission,
or a combination of the above.
Participating associations would also lose the existing dysfunctional and polarizing competition for members in exchange for a more pluralistic approach, which would
be more helpful to many industry organizations. This would make for a less polarized,
more collaborative and positive relationship by opening each to share their respective
strengths to benefit all who choose to affiliate.
Our industry is changing almost daily. Outfitters are adding other income
streams with entertainment, lodging, restaurants, etc.; retailers are adding new
paddlesports gear and products beyond traditional canoes and kayaks; manufacturers
are making products that break these molds every year; and associations are adjusting
their respective missions to keep up with an expanding array of needs that reflect the
above. Thus, with increasing costs for programming to meet these needs, ever shrinking
margins and an economy that demands a new way of thinking altogether, our existing
system of fragmented and strug-gling associations is not sustainable or effective. So
let’s do something different!
The plan is simple and functions at no added cost to any participating
association. It will require added fees from industry participants; and all association
benefit packages may not be available with this approach. It is merely a way of sharing
existing programs with a larger audience, which are already provided within current
association budgets. A larger number of attendees may add small increases in facility
costs, which even reduced affiliate fees should still result in a revenue neutral impact at
worst, maybe a net profit.
In short, any paddlesports trade association could be joined by members among
them for 30% of normal dues for that entity for an affiliate membership for the first year.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of the normal fee would be charged the second year, with the
third year at full price. An association is expected to encourage reciprocity to members.
No association benefits (beyond their programming and meetings, electronic
communications, professional development seminars/webinars, etc.) would be available
under a reduced affiliate fee. No such member could vote on association matters, vote
or seek leadership, or take advantage of cost-saving financial benefits, unless
specifically sanctioned by the relevant bylaws. Affiliate members are still allowed to
experience the mission and other content advantages the association offers, however.
All of this changes if and when full membership is selected.
Eligible trade associations include America Outdoors (AOA), Outdoor Industry
Association (OIA), Paddlesports Industry Association (PIA), and Trade Association of
Paddlesports (TAPS). By resolution of the current board of directors each of these elects
to participate in this new way of doing the business of our industry.
February 2010
1) Kids need outdoor activity because they are overweight
2) Kids want to know more about their world
3) Kids are the green generation that will inherit the world’s environmental
4) Kids are eager to help save so many of the world’s animals
5) Kids are curious about the balance of nature
6) Kids drive parents crazy with video games
7) Kids live in an increasingly urban environment that has destroyed habitats
8) Kids do not feel a part of a larger picture of interconnectedness
9) Kids have a better opportunity than any previous generation to solve
critical environmental issues
10) We all need to be better stewards of our planet, our only home
The world is 68% water; the human body is 78%; and the brain is 98%: no
wonder we are addicted to it.
My Story as Told by Water, David James Duncan
Field Notes of a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert
Nature in Balance, Al Gore
A Place for Play, Elizabeth Goodenough
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv
America is ill-prepared to compete with the world in this
century. Our students are too fat, have too little innovation,
creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, are
environmentally illiterate, lack collaborative intelligence,
and suffer school-induced stress illnesses.
Some solutions see class size, time in school,
performance testing, or waste, fraud and abuse among
officials as culprits. I disagree; and quick fixes don’t work.
A solution that transforms learning is required. We need to
add frequent student-, collaborative project-, free play-,
and interest-driven learning in wilderness venues that
mixes individual learning styles with fun and reflection.
We are currently solving this problem in Kentucky.
The KGK mission is to connect students, families, and
teachers to this new world where innovation is the key to
success. Through community conversations, workshops
on balancing right and left brain functions, and a series of
outdoor experiences that create a culture of learning that
improves individual goal achievement, workforce
competitiveness, and community development, success is
within reach.
For more information, contact via
email or call 502.395.1513.
All Concerned About Our Kids
Ed Councill, NCLI Crusader
Update on Recent Activities
August 3, 2010
Over the past three months I have been pursuing Frankfort to be a model for a
program that addresses a child’s total health. Many agencies have programs that focus
on a single facet of a child’s development: be it emotional, economical, behavioral,
environ-mental, physical, or educational. This laser approach alone, though necessary
from several points of view, is not having a level of success that is effective and
The No Child Left Inside (NCLI) amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act
departs from this ‘normal’ model by putting children in a natural/wilderness setting to
explore its wonders in a non-structured way. Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods:
Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, Elizabeth Goodenough’s A Place for
Play among others, offer a strong case for a more comprehensive approach using the
natural environment and allowing for free play, discovery and exploration.
The purpose here is to summarize this concept, the pending legislative amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act, and the ensuing movement that has been picked
up by several states and other organizations. My objective is to attract people and
organizations to support and be a part of a model NCLI program in Frankfort.
The Concept is fairly simple in that it recognizes that the potential learning
strengths of children are maximized under less stressful, unstructured, free play in a
natural environment. Getting kids outdoors and active is the venue for environmental
exposure and awareness, pursuing curiosity about the natural world, its habitat and
residents, and for exploration and discoveries using their creativity and imagination.
The Legislation,
Legislation the No Child Left Inside Act of 2009 (an amendment to the
revamped No Child Left Behind Act of 2008), will provide up to $100 million to develop
an Environmental Literacy Plan for the state’s school systems K – 12. Funds will be
available to train teachers, pay for instruction in an expanded curriculum, provide money
for innovative technology, and to develop studies assessing the worth of these programs
in elementary and secondary school curriculums. It will also touch on healthy living
programs encouraging outdoor recreation and sound nutrition.
While the bill was introduced in the House and subsequently passed (H.R. 3036),
it was forwarded to the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
(S.866) and its subcommittee on Early Childhood Elementary and Secondary Education.
No action has occurred to date.
The NCLI Movement has been growing as fueled by Louv’s book and the work of
Dr. Goodenough, and these legislative initiatives. Hyperactivity has resulted in several
states and organizations as follows:
Connecticut: endorsed the NCLI Coalition movement and legislation
Illinois: General Assembly passed resolution proclaimed June as NCLI
Month; IDNR provided free activities at state parks
Kansas: established a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights
Massachusetts: state parks create Great Park Pursuit program for free
family adventures July 1 through September
Michigan: Proclaimed NCLI Days, created a Michigan Children’s
Outdoor Bill of Rights by legislative resolution, partnered with a
Detroit canoe livery to establish a local NCLI Coalition chapter
and service center (Heavner Nature Connection)
Wisconsin: joined the NCLI Coalition and is working on a Environmental
Literacy Plan for the state and a state NCLI Coalition
National Audubon Society: endorsed the NCLI legislation and Coalition
National Wildlife Federation: endorsed NCLI bill and established a
“Green Hour” program to encourage parents to provides time for
kids each day
North American Association for Environmental Education: Endorsed the
NCLI legislation and Coalition
Professional Paddlesports Association: endorsed the NCLI Coalition and
legislation, created a “Program in a Box” draft to share among its
international members, assisted a livery in North Carolina to
create an NCLI center, and inspired a similar effort in Kentucky
Sierra Club: endorsed the NCLI legislation and Coalition
This listing is growing too fast to claim being up to date; but rather it provides a picture of
what is happening across the US.
The Objective is to assess the interest among organizations that have interests in
education, environmental issues, public health, positive social behaviors, and providers
of outdoor activities that could host an event or field trip for kids to engage NCLI
principles in a natural venue. Once visited and an interest expressed, a meeting to
create a vehicle to implement the program will be scheduled.
So far the following people/organizations have been briefly exposed to NCLI and
the opportunity for Frankfort to join the movement to implement to its principles for its
youth: Health Department, Tourism, Salato Wildlife Center, KSU, the Extension office
and the Kings’ Center. I am arranging to meet with State Tourism, Natural Resources,
Environmental Education, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, area churches/pastors associations,
social and community service clubs and organizations, and schools.
I need broad community support and participation to make this work to benefit
our most precious asset -- our children, who are tomorrow’s leadership and innovators.
Where Do the Children Play?*
Free play options abundant
Connected to nature
No distracting cell/text messaging/TV/Wal-Mart/malls/etc.
Children engaged in family work
Adults do not discourage outdoor activities or free play
Personal responsibility
Kids free played together
Isolated from similar kids
Poor neighbor interaction design
No sidewalks force auto use
Autos equipped to negate virtues of travel
Adults over supervise and encourage structured play
Play options
Neighborhood designs were people-friendly
Garden/outdoor classroom
Kids worked collaboratively
Couple who moved from big city to exurbia
Less parental play direction
Adult Responses
Stranger Danger
Scheduling to the ‘Hilt’/living their life through their child’s life
Indoor Leisure time
DR Ginsburg (led free play impacts on kids)
Nancy Arnett spoke about loss of critical thinking and the health of
Liz Goodenough on a variety of ills resulting from no free play
Penny Wilson spoke about the need for taking risks at play
School principal spoke about diversity of students/neighborhood
* from memory
A Frankfort NCLI Team Press Alert
Frankfort, KY
for immediate release
October 15,
National Children’s Movement Embraced in Frankfort
Twelve educators and officials from area schools, outdoor education and environmental professionals, community development and children’s health providers were
introduced to the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) concepts at a meeting yesterday. Initiated
by local businessman Ed Councill, whose family owns CANOE KENTUCKY, the group
unanimously approved a pilot program for the current school year.
“I am so amped by the overwhelmingly positive reception by the area’s educators
to the program,” said Councill, who acted as facilitator/coordinator for the meeting. “It
reflected the commitment to our children’s well-being from public and private educators
from elementary to Kentucky State University, from those of us in the outdoor education
and recreation arena, from home schoolers, and from local public officials involved with
community/economic development that understand the importance of investing in our
future starts with investing in our kids,” he concluded.
Superintendent Harrie Buecker of the Franklin County Public School system was
joined by Melissa Wainwright from Frankfort Independent, Stephanie Simms from Good
Shepherd, and home schooler Chris Shimmoeler in praising NCLI as an important
adjunct to existing programs. “Count us in. I see this as a great fit with the mission of
Franklin County schools,” she stated in her opening remarks. Similar positive comments
were heard from each of the other school officials.
A special guest, Dr. Bill Webb, Director of Henry County’s Center for Education
Options, echoed Buecker’s words. He had an on-site visit from Councill and college
professor and author Dr. Dennis Rader the day before that included meeting with
students to discuss the NCLI program. He mentioned “I liked it so much that we want to
schedule our outdoor trip next month. It will continue to compliment our guiding principle
of pupil engagement with each other, the staff, and the community.”
Each participant spoke to the advantages to kids that NCLI addresses: Keith
Crabtree spoke about college preparedness; Vanessa Brewer likewise talked about kids’
health issues, particularly obesity, and that NCLI ranked second or third among recent
Health Department priorities; Tourism’s Joy Jeffries and Robin Antenucci mentioned how
focusing on making Frankfort a ‘kid-friendly’ community would be a positive NCLI
objective; Dr. Rada indicated how ‘right brain’ thinking would be exercised and enhanced problem-solving, critical thinking and creative imaginations would result from this
program; and Kristy Stroud from Fish & Wildlife was passionate about these same points
as so lacking among the generation that have followed her own.
The meeting concluded with the assignment for each educator to select pilot
classes to implement the NCLI program in the coming months, culminating with spring
field trips in the natural environment; a listing of follow up measures including keeping
the public informed; a ‘Right Brain’ strength test administered by Dr. Rader; and a group
consensus to pursue an NCLI coalition in our community and in Kentucky like those in
other states across the Nation, with sponsors, tax-exempt and corporate status.
Contact Ed Councill at 502.395.1513 or [email protected]
A Frankfort No Child Left Inside NewsAlert
Frankfort, KY
November 5, 2010
for immediate release
Community Conversation About Our
A series of community meetings designed to talk
about ways to improve area K-12 education has been
scheduled for December 1, 2010 in the Community
Room at the Frankfort Paul Sawyier Public Library.
The initial session will feature a one-hour documentary entitled “Where
Where Do the Children Play”
Play to be
shown before a light pizza meal break and a group
discussion of the recently approved initiative for a pilot
project based on No Child Left Inside. The film starts
at 5:00 PM; food will be provided at 6:00; and followed
by group discussion at 6:30, ending at 7:30.
This session is sponsored by Frankfort’s NCLI Team
and Gattis’ Pizza, and is open to the public at no cost.
School kids from all public and private schools as well
as homeschoolers and their families are espe-cially
invited to attend and participate. Opportunities to talk
with NCLI Team members will be available during the
Please call 502.395.1513 to assure a seat and food
availability. Space is limited by the Fire Marshall.
Vol. I, NO. 1
for immediate release
December 2, 2010
The first Community Conversation about No Child Left Inside and the local team
efforts to implement its principles in the Frankfort area attracted 40 people with diversity
and passion for making Frankfort a kid-friendly community. Parents, local entrepreneurs,
government employees in environmentally related agencies, educators, graduate
students, elected officials and kids unanimously applauded the Team’s work and
recommended the
next meeting agenda.
Magistrate Jill Robinson suggested that the first group of students to experience
an NCLI outing come and share their opinions about the program. Melissa Wainwright
indicated that Frankfort High had a group of kids that were actively looking at activities
that might profit from the ideas described in the TV movie “Where Do the Children Play”
by DR Elizabeth Goodenough at the University of Michigan. A reshowing of this made
for TV documentary was recommended by several attendees.
Many parents lamented that adult peer pressure often resulted in resistance and
guilt to allowing their children free play opportunities near home. All agreed with the
advantages of such activity on exercise, imagination, sensory learning, a break from the
traditional classroom environment, cooperation/collaboration on projects and activities,
and just plain old fun. Melanie VanHouten cited her own childhood free play experiences
and how she often reminisced about former times growing up on her grandmother’s
farm, now Josephine’s Sculpture Garden. Others told similar stories.
Gatti’s Pizza was donated by Richard Hayes’ establishment on the river off
Wilkinson Boulevard; drinks were supplied by Folk Bike Recyclery and CANOE
KENTUCKY; and invitations and handouts printed courtesy of the Frankfort/Franklin
County Tourism Commission. Kids played with a kayak and watched the movie, while
parents and grand parents participated in the discussion.
“It was a very good session”, said DR Dennis Rader, author of the book Learning
Redefined; “I gained insight into how the Team can better involve the community, especially the children themselves”. “A surprising number of ideas relating to how to remove
barriers to schools implementing the NCLI concepts in their field trips were offered,” Ed
Councill mentioned. “That’s why several of us filed a non-profit application with the
Secretary of State’s office last week: so we could offer a tax write-off as an incentive for
donations for operating costs”, he continued.
Elaine Wilson, Director of Kentucky’s Adventure Tourism agency indicated that
she was quite supportive of the NCLI movement; and Elizabeth Schmitz lauded efforts
in Frankfort and mentioned her office’s progress on developing a state environmental
literacy plan. Fish & Wildlife was also seen as an important land-based NCLI partner.
For more information or to be on the email list, contact Ed Councill locally at 395.1513.
A Case for NCLI + Learning Redefined
Problem Identification
Kids today are not keeping up with world developing country counterparts. Their
future is slipping away. They are not doing well in science, math and, more importantly,
mojo, the singular attribute that has made us the world leader in creativity, innovation
and initiative. Not only are schools failing to prepare them; they are not physically active,
not engaged in learning, disconnected with nature, lack free play, are too invested in
sports and lack collaborative problem-solving teamwork, and do not appreciate the
advantages of diversity. In short we are losing our edge; and our children’s future will
pay dearly.
Popular Solutions
Americans are proud of their major contribution to the industrial revolution - the
assembly line. As Maslov predicts, if one gives a man a hammer, all the solutions
require nails. In our case, all solutions invoke more money and more
mechanization/standardiza-tion. Our schools, the places where our kids spend most of
their waking hours, are merely knowledge transfer factories. With recess and free play
seen as expendable to provide more time for classroom lectures, there is no time for a
break, no time to reflect and give context to what was presented, and no time to ponder
the usefulness of the information imparted, much less question its authenticity. Results:
compliant, unthinking robots.
Therefore, charter and magnet schools are proposed as the answer to the above,
plus a way to avoid the regulations relating to standardization, teacher performance and
techniques. In short, such schools are seen as a panacea to lack of performance.
Unfortunately the charter school track record in not consistent and shows overall
scores not significantly better than the norm. Private schools and magnet schools are
only slightly better and are free to recruit teachers committed to the challenges of a new
era in educational approach. This means that continued support and financing of these
singular ideas are not likely to achieve the results we so desperately need to regain our
leadership globally. Perhaps it’s time to use a bold and more comprehensive approach
ala President Lincoln: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy
present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty; and we must rise with the occasion.
As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew.” NCLI needs a new learning
A Comprehensive Approach
It is a rare human problem that is easily solved with but a single stroke. This case
is no different and requires changes: in our schools’ culture of mechanization in favor of
a child-directed approach; in our teachers who have to balance the traditional knowledge
transfer techniques with right brained context, conversation and critical thinking; in our
concepts of play to allow kids to reconnect with the natural world and appreciate its web
of interdependence; and our expectations of a shared responsibility to assure our kids
are nurtured to reach their potential. Learning Redefined provides NCLI that missing link.
Making It Work
Therefore, we need to debureacratize the “tests”, mobilize the “village”, exercise
the right and left brain connection, incentivize teachers to engage with their students,
and inspire kids to seek a love of learning mentality that helps achieve their goals and a
future they embrace enthusiastically. Call KidsGROW at 502.395.1513. We can make a
NCLI FrankfortPilotTeamNEWSALERT
Vol. I, No. 2
for immediate release
December 9, 2010
The ‘buzz’ created by the December 1 Community Conversation has been quite
deafening! I have been emailed by a number of people apparently aware of or missed the
meeting and want to get involved. WOW! I was so not prepared for this response. It is
heartening that so many are concerned for the future of their children and that of the area and
beyond to contact us and offer to help.
A couple such responses were focused on the role of children themselves in NCLI and
its design. Their argument seemed to be that “if we’re talking about a kid-driven pro-gram, then
why not provide them with access to and opportunity for putting it together?” Not sure of a
good argument on this point. With an elected official mentioning that having a group of kids
meet with us, and a school administrator volunteering that local students from a couple of
different schools would be a welcome addition to jointly meeting and working on NCLI, this just
might be a positive and exciting development.
Another school official invited me to a meeting of school top administrators to present
the program and ask for their suggestions for improving it for their students. I have asked DR
Goodenough for a few poignant scenes from her documentary to present at that meeting as
background for this discussion.
The Franklin County Health Department Team representative invited me to share a
conversation about NCLI on her monthly Cable 10 show. This session was taped only
yesterday. I will notify Team members when it is scheduled for broadcast in the near future.
The Director of the Center for Education Options wants his Video Journalism class to
produce a video of the combination of Learning Redefined and NCLI as they envision it based
on their experience earlier this fall. DR Rader and I attended an initial session with these
students yesterday to provide background information about the pilot to allow them to decide
whether it is of sufficient interest to them for a class production project. Their response was
surprisingly positive; so materials were left with the teacher for their review to come up with a
plan. A definitive answer is anticipated within a week or so
KET has contacted one of our Team about a piece featuring how our NCLI pilot project
would address obesity and the need for more exercise in the outdoors for kids. An NBC News
item last evening picked up on the need for children to exercise more than that afforded from
participation in sports alone. We are targeting this Sunday or the next to shoot the story of the
Kings’ Center experience with NCLI this fall with interviews of neighbors, program staff, and
many of the kids that participated. A short field trip will be a part of the story, even scenes in
the bus on the way to and from a wilderness location.
So, one of the most highly suggested issues that came as a result of our “NCLI
Conversation” has met with enthusiasm among the target group so far omitted from our project
-- the children of our community. And to think that all of this has happened since this meeting
one week and one day ago is nothing short of amazing! Its like Lee Iococa, former Chrysler
CEO, said about his company’s success, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. Our ‘snowball’ is
coming down the hill and getting larger every second.
Frankfort kidsGROW Team NEWSALERT
Vol. I, No. 4
for immediate release
January 9, 2011
This is a reminder to RSVP for our dinner, meeting, theatre Community
Conversation on Saturday beginning at 5:30 PM at the upstairs meeting room
inside Completely Kentucky on Broadway in downtown Frankfort. An exciting,
thought provoking, delicious, and fun time is offered.
You may have noticed the change in title of this newsletter. This is due to the
new non-profit we established to attract donations and grants to further our
mission (to inspire kids, families and teachers to connect us all with nature and
our world) is kidsGROW. We are arranging a contest among area school children
to design a logo for the new web site, which is also under construction. Yes, we
even have created a new email for us, as you might have noticed. It is
[email protected], which may change when we open the new web site
on line.
Attached is the first in a series of articles to spread the word about what we are
doing with the pilot NCLI program, as well as the larger picture of addressing
major improvements in our school system of which it is a part. It is our plan to
have these published each Sunday; and a second one is near completion.
However, others among us are encouraged to write an article that reflects their
expertise or concerns. Coming topics are planned to cover the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act now pending in Congress that may include the Race to
the Top administration’s program, school-related health issues seen as resulting
from systemic and cultural pressures (a topic of “Race to Nowhere”), a new book
by a local author and fellow team member, which promotes the need to balance
kids right- and left-brain directed learning techniques, and even a field trip to a
nearby school that has been applying this concept for several years. Other
suggestions are welcomed.
Also attached is our agenda for the evening. If there are any questions, please
call my cell at 395.1513. Even though I am traveling to Washington, DC for the
coming week, I am happy to talk with any of you most any time.
I look forward to moving this important work forward with our 5:30 Saturday
evening event, and look forward to seeing all of you there.
Vol. I, No. 8
for immediate release
February 21, 2011
KidsGROWkentucky (KGK) was represented by Ed Councill and Dennis Rader at
the Somerset Mid Winter Breakthrough professional development event last weekend.
As sponsored by the Kentucky Science Teacher Association (KSTA) a dozen science
teachers attended their session, “Improving Teaching by Creating a Neurogenic Classroom”.
“We contrasted a neuro-toxic classroom environment along with a stern, “correct
answer”, teach-to-the-test approach in the beginning of our session, commented
Councill; “then we switched location to a more informal, conversation-friendly library
venue. It was as fun as it was an excellent way to illustrate the power of right-brain
The ‘class’ was divided into working groups that were given the question “What
are the characteristics of a neurogenic classroom”. After 15 minutes, the groups
reunited and shared their answers. “Surprisingly, they were quite parallel,” stated Rader,
who lead the exercise ands ensuing conversation. “It is strong evidence that many
teachers do have the abilities to teach more effectively given a more learning-friendly
environment and the flexibility to use right-brain techniques,” he concluded. “Our teacher
workshops as well as those for students and parents seemed to be well received”.
Other sessions also focused around the No Child Left Inside movement that is
the subject of numerous books, several documentary films, and reported in both
electronic and print media. KGK has used “Where Do the Children Play?”, “Waiting for
Super-man”, and “Race to Nowhere” for its series of Community Conversations about
how concerned citizens can help improve a system of education that is not keeping up
with the aspirations of many students, or the needs of America in the 21st century.
KSTA was complimentary of the door prize offered by KGK: a free teachers
workshop and virtual classroom canoe trip worth nearly $500. Also, KGK was invited to
present, exhibit and repeat its participation at its fall Conference in Lexington in early
November. “It was a mutually rewarding two days,” explained Rader; “a number of
teachers were interested in our program, our materials and the powerful potential of the
combination of free play in a natural venue, neurogenic classrooms, and the connections
to other student problems, like stress-related illnesses, obesity, anti-social behaviors,
and cheating by inspiring students to be engaged in their educational options”.
The fourth in the Community Conversation series will be at 6:30 PM in the
Coffeetree Café on February 28. It will use a recent Ken Robinson presentation to focus
discussion about how schools can be improved such that they no longer stifle creativity.
To reserve a seat, please call or email 395-1513 or before
noon Friday, February 25, 2011. Seating is limited. Also school officials are reminded to
sign up two classes for the pilot program and wilderness field trips for their schools.
KGK Statewide Expansion Files
Ed Councill, Chair/CEO
KYA Step Up for kids Conference
October 09, 2012
Held in the Muhammad Ali Center on Monday, October 8, 2012 from 9 to 5 PM, the conference
agenda focused on health, welfare, education, and justice issues facing Kentucky children. It included
out-of-state public, private, academic, and advocate representatives, as well as in-state service providers,
community, media, NPOs, and three Kentucky Cabinet Secretaries (Justice and Public Safety, Health and
Family Services, and Education and Workforce). Panels followed presentations about each of these issue
Two of these topics have not been a part of the KGK program: Juvenile Justice and Family
Services/welfare issues; at least directly. So, it was quite informative to hear how these “dots” affected
the kids with which we have had contact. The Workforce panel underlined the flaws of concentrating on
college readiness and not balancing with career readiness. Its Secretary was the first to indicate that the
missing link was not being sufficiently student- driven to avoid missing the needs of so many choosing not
to attend college as a path to their personal life goals.
However, this point (designing programs across the silos defined by the bureaucracy and seeking
student input) was reinforced by Secretary Haynes, Secretary Brown, and Commissioner Davis in their
respective panel discussions about the future and reforming such program areas. Haynes’ greatest threat
to children was “the lack of safe, stable, and nurturing environments” (home, neighborhood, and
community). Her takeaway message at the end was “we need to look at policy through the lens of a child”
(a truly potential supporter of the notion of a children’s advisory council).
All echoed the need for interagency cooperation, communication, and commitment to the ‘whole
child’, rather than attempt to do business as usual within their respective silos. Davis’ status offender
incarceration issue required the cooperation of the judicial branch of government, a major hurdle to
keeping “kids from going to jail because they made an adult mad” (i.e., truancy, curfew violation, etc.). His
view, if accepted, opens the door for partnering with NPO’s interested in helping such kids get back on a
track to a future of their choice as contributing citizens.
One of the more innovative presentations was made by a Texas NPO (Texas Public Policy
Foundation). As a quite conservative state, Texas adopted a market-based proposition to substitute
institutional prisons for smaller community-based facilities. The savings were redirected to educational
and other restorative programs for giving those incarcerated previously at a high cost to taxpayers, had a
second chance at a successful and contributing life.
This required innovative collaboration that forged internal partnerships within the executive branch, as
well as the judicial and legislative branches to be adopted. This put a stop on the revolving door and
prevented lengthy sent-ences that crippled opportunities for a normal, debt-free return to society.
It was the consistent common denominator among all these officials and public agencies to
change the service delivery and content approach in a manner that resulted in better service outcomes
with substantial cost savings. Connecting the “dots” was the new normal way to do business in an
innovative way for a new century with far fewer Americans costing the rest so much tax revenue
supporting an inadequate but entrenched system.
But the greater consensus was where children are involved: education, justice, and health and
family services. Haynes’ urging that children have a voice in formulating the policies guiding the
implementation of these services was heard loud and clear and received strong concurrence from the
attendees, colleagues and panelists.
I am convinced that the time to offer these cabinet officials a way to help them address problems
in a collaborative, cooperative, and innovation way as would be recommended by a children’s advisory
council as envisioned in the proposed EO to establish a similar vehicle for other agencies, is now. My
agenda will be directed to inviting some of these officials to our October 22, 2012 meeting for their input
and support.
kidsGROWky File
Ed Councill, CEO
Disney Partnership
October 21, 2011
A meeting in Detroit with a representative of Disney Radio was attended by Alan
Heavner and Chris Wall of Heavner’s Nature Connection (HNC); their provider partners
Carl Lindell of Michigan DNR, Andrew Haapala of State Parks; Ed Councill and James
Clark of kidsGROWkentucky (KGK); and Elise Miller from Detroit’s Radio Disney. HNC
and the Proud Lake State park’s conference (annex) facility hosted the meeting.
The agenda was a review of Disney’s interests in the HNC No Child Left Inside (NCLI)
program, its interests in ‘rebranding’ Disney as a family/kids friendly global corporation,
and to outline priority areas where a partnership could be designed for mutual benefit as
a pilot in the Detroit area. KGK was there to describe their program to illustrate the
efforts to take the program to outfitter members of the Professional Paddlesports
Association (PPA), and to describe PPA’s assistance grant to its Paddlesports Industry
Foundation, an NPO creating a template outfitters would use to establish their own local
MS Bennett described the Disney existing programs as Move-On exercise programs on
site at schools and other venues and Family Unplugged for the whole family to enjoy
together. Her experiences at inner city, suburban and rural school systems was
interesting and challenging. James offered his precautionary advice when dealing with
minorities: authenticity and sincerity with no pretenses.
Councill differentiated HNC and KGK NCLI programs as resource- and school centered.
He added that the science was in that proved nature benefits the growth of neurons in
kids and adults, making learning fun and more enduring than teaching to the test and
He also mentioned the PPA $10,000 grant to its PIF for creating the NCLI Program In-aBox that would make it attractive for its nearly 300 outfitter members to implement. As a
national distribution system, Disney may be interested in taking NCLI nation-wide.
Michigan DNR’s State Parks’ Baytown District indicated a willingness to be a partner; but
that any grants would be used internally for funding their programs, especially the
Passport Program. A meeting the following Tuesday was mentioned that would take up
this topic in more detail.
The take away conclusion reached were to establish a framework for a pilot partnership
in the Greater Detroit area among Disney, HNC and its partners that would begin next
spring. It is the results of that pilot that will determine the feasibility of expansion later.
Vol. II, No. 2
for immediate release
December14, 2011
---Merry Christmas and Happy New
During this fall, the KGK Board has been busy with several assignments: getting
our IRS taxtax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 corporation to accept grants from foundations
and government agencies relating to our mission; putting a budget and plan of work for
2012; taking the KGK/NCLI program to target-rich conferences and meetings; working
with a new strategy for the Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights;
Rights designing a series
of new workshops and implementing them with students in area schools; seeking a
Champion in each area school backed up by a student advisory group to improve the
pilot program and institutionalize KGK/NCLI within the curriculum; EE Certification as an
informal environmental educator through the KY Environmental Education Council (nice
name); starting a pilot program to take this approach nationally through partnering with
Disney in the Detroit area through the Professional Paddlesports Association and the
foundation I chair for 2012 (we want to be next after Disney’s evaluation); initial design
and implementation of a donor program (see the attached flyer) to sustain our efforts (the
first two donors have contributed $1,750); and we are scheduling next year’s classes for
field trips in spring, 2012. Not bad for our first full year of operation, eh?
We are putting a strategy together for 2012 during the Christmas Break to get the
Kentucky Children’s
Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights passed. The Honorable Derrick Graham has
agreed to restart the legislative process in the state House of Representative where a
positive outcome is more likely than was Senator Carroll’s efforts in a politically charged
senate committee last session (see attached resolution).
Partnering with Disney communications’ radio platform is exciting. They chose
the Detroit metro area and its largest outfitter Heavner’s Canoe and Kayak and Nature
Connection because of the large population. We are hopeful that it will prove its value to
Disney and be expanded next year to Capital Area schools.
Networking at the Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE), the
Kentucky Tourism Industry Association (KTIA) and the Kentucky Science Teachers’
Association (KSTA), we have taken our success stories statewide and created a lot of
interest and excellent contacts. KGK had booths at each of these and provided sessions
for their attendees.
New workshops have been designed and are being offered in classes at
Frankfort High, Wilkinson Street School, the GEM Academy in Bowling Green, and the
Center for Educational Options (CEO) in Henry County. Meetings with The Academy at
Franklin County High are scheduled later in December. Improvements to both the
workshops and the spring field trips will be discussed by student advisors from each area
school and the homeschooler community at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in the last
week of the year.
Kids will be treated to a pizza lunch followed by their agenda as noted above plus new
topics of concern to them as consumers of the educational process. Parents and
educators are welcome.
So, 2012 will see a more energized KGK/NCLI program even as compared to the
first year’s efforts and the positive acclaim it received. I appreciate your support in
Vol. II, No. 3
for immediate release
January 6, 2012
Happy New Year!
The first 2012 progress report is exciting: 1) we have established a student group
called Student Voices that has met during the break; 2) a new round of identifying area
schools and their respective classrooms for 2012 KGK programs has begun; 3) a fundfundraising program has also started to pay for each classroom that wants to participate at
little or no cost that depends on finding sponsors; 3) workshops are popular at FHS and
WSS; and 4) Representative Derrick Graham has taken steps to file the Kentucky ChilChildren’s Outdoor Bill of Rights concurring resolution.
Student Voices has aired several concerns about their educational experience in
area schools. Essentially, they focus on the general school environment, teaching
methods, and course offerings. They are unanimous in wanting to improve all three
areas of their respective learning venue. In sum, they want more flexibility, less
unreasonable penalties for non-compliant behaviors and breaks from factory-like daily
learning routine.
Agreement was also reached on overuse of lecture/book teaching and frequent testing,
more balance between technical science and math and the arts, and using the outdoors
and non-classroom venues for group and individual projects which would add interest
and fun to the learning experience. Lastly, the students wanted more real life- outdoor
venues for real environmental learning. They are in the process of organizing relevant
courses, more right brain balanced teaching and course offerings, and increased voice to
address their concerns that will improve student learning, interest, and performance.
KGK 2012 Workshops/Programs are being offered to all area schools again this
year. While costs will be low to encourage participation for students regardless of financial status, a generous subsidy from providers is anticipated that will reduce this barrier.
In addition, enhanced efforts to maintain teacher involvement with environmentally
certified professional guides will assure a close relationship with core content mandates.
The Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights concurrent resolution has been
filed and is sponsored by Rep. Derrick Graham. He plans a number of co-sponsors that
will enhance positive action by the General Assembly this year. Please thank him for his
leadership on this important show of policy support to nature’s power to inspire our
students and reconnect them to the real world, for addressing obesity and school-related
stress and resultant illnesses, to provide interesting real-life projects that promote team/collaborative learning, and thus reduce the incidence of anti-positive behaviors like
bullying, truancy, and dropping out of school altogether.
Fundraising is the key to addressing the remaining half of the costs of outdoor/field trips
indicated above. I need help with finding Champions for each school to lead the charge
to reduce the costs of this program to near zero. I have already been successful on this
approach in one of our schools, and look forward to its expansion.
Vol. II, No. 4
for immediate release
January 31, 2012
January has been a little hectic: 1) Student Voices has met to help improve our 2012 program
and their education; 2) a grant application for hiring inner city youth as trip leaders and have five
classes experience three field trips each in 2013 was submitted to NFWF (National Fish & Wildlife
Foundation); 3) workshops were proposed for February at The Academy (Franklin County’s alternative
school); and 4) the third in the series of seven wilderness programs for Mom’s and their daughters
funded by KFW (Kentucky Foundation for Women) was conducted at Salato in mid month; and 5) the
House Health & Welfare Committee will hear our request to support the Kentucky Children’s Outdoor
Bill of Rights on February 9th.
Student Voices wrapped up their third meeting with consensus being reached on several
concerns: 1) students want to be listened to, particularly about rules and methods that do not enhance
learning, which leads to an atmosphere of excessively responding to what are “small problems”; 2)
students want a better way to test their learning than the usual standardized tests that many don’t do
well on; 3) more real life teaching and elective courses that are non- STEM and college preparatory
oriented ones; and 4) more attention to non-classroom, outdoor venues.
NFWF grant application will be shared with a similar program in Detroit and will be funded with
approximately $80,000 for 30 field trips for both area schools. We will be notified in April whether we
are to be awarded.
A proposal to add The Academy to the list of schools that pursue these creativity workshops will
begin in Franklin County Public Schools. The Principal is eager to begin the classes in February with
as many as are ready for the experience.
“Searching for Iris” wilderness and art programs are having positive affects on the ten pairs of
moms and daughters involved. They are learning about the outdoors and wilderness worlds as well as
their expression of what they experience through art. A right brain workshop was conducted at the
January session hosted by the Salato Center.
With an impressive list of local and state agencies, organizations, school officials, students and
parents supporting the Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights,
Rights Rep-resentative Derrick Graham has
requested the House Health & Welfare Committee to hear the proposal at noon on Thursday, February
9 at noon in the Capitol Annex. The public is invited to attend and support kidsGROWkentucky, Inc.
and its efforts to create a public policy statement just for kids. The most critical reasons are health and
getting kids to take advantage of Kentucky’s abundant natural resources for a better future.
Next month,
month we will return to scheduling this season’s classroom visits, planning and
implementing the field trips, establishing follow up learning projects and identifying the classes to be
involved in the NFWF grant trips next year. Also high on our agenda is fundraising to maintain our
programs and make it sustainable for being a continuing part of the area school programs and
Our community conversations series will be given another look. The four held last year were
successful on pointing out the problems with student performance, health issues, overemphasis on
testing, homework and compliance and the magic of nature.
A kidsGROWkentuckyNEWS
Frankfort, KY
for immediate release
Sept.19, 2012
The Kentucky Association for Environmental Education (KAEE)
presented their annual Excellence in Environmental Education
Organization award to KGK (kidsGROWkentucky) at their conference at
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park on Saturday, September 15, 2012.
KGK’s Chair/CEO Ed Councill accepted the honor on behalf of “the hardest
working Board of Directors on the planet,” said Councill.
“To be nominated for this award is an honor my team deserves. But
being nominated by Elizabeth Schmitz, Executive director of the state’s
Kentucky Envi-ronmental Education Council, is so overwhelming,” he
continued. “Afterall, we’re only two years old.”
A slide show illustrated two of the outdoor experiential outings
supported by KGK this year. One was the ‘campout at Kentucky River
Campground with the Kings’ Center kids; the other was the last of a series
of outings involving mothers and their daughters for an overnighter at
Leland Farm hosted by the Rome family.
But the legislative victory of the unanimous passing of HCR 29 (a
resolution which stated that getting kids outdoors is a policy goal of the
Common wealth) followed by the Governor’s signing ceremony on May 3,
2012 was a major leap forward for health, education, resource protection,
and related state and local agencies whose missions enhance our
children’s welfare and future development, which was echoed by Governor
Now the challenge is to take this beautifully crafted policy statement
and find a way to give it meaning through solid progress and action. “KGK
is seeking partners to make this happen,” mentioned Councill; “we want to
show children that we are serious about our concerns and need to hear
from them about how to get it done.”
A public meeting to get ideas for citizens is to be scheduled in the fall.
For information, please contact KGK at [email protected], or
call Ed Councill at 502-395-1513.
It seems that the struggle for civil rights in America is a part of the
evolution of this experiment in democracy. First, it was the reversal of
constitutionally supported slavery and the 100 years it took to achieve true
equality through public education and voting rights; second, it was followed by
women’s suffrage; then came laws to protect child labor, those with disabilities,
and people who were denied equal rights that others enjoyed. All of this is our
heritage, of which each American can be quite proud.
Civil rights have addressed the issue of access for the disabled, and more
recently access to legal protections currently afforded only to married
heterosexual couples. Only recently were children protected from overly
assigned homework in Los Angeles public schools. This question of access was
also the core factor in the free speech argument in this week’s Supreme Court
decision about the constitutionality of limiting sale of violent video games from
young children.
All of this is well and good; but what about a child’s right to safely access
his or her community amenities like schools, parks, open spaces and trails, and
local streams and lakes? Several states have passed resolutions that state a
‘Outdoor Bill of Rights’ for children. Senator Carroll sponsored such a joint
resolution last session; but it was not allowed out of committee. Over a thousand
people and organizations signed a petition supporting this idea; and they are still
coming in the mail. Perhaps its time has come for a successful outcome next
Frankfort is becoming a ‘kid-friendly’ community on several fronts.
Walk/Bike Frankfort’s trail plan has been published and several trails already host
numerous hikers and bikers. The Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism Riverfront
Development Committee has been busy implementing portions of its plan: its trail
connecting downtown with Buffalo Trace, the nearly complete Ward Oates
amphitheatre, the highly successful tour boat on the Kentucky River, free rides on
the trolley connecting downtown attractions, an updated master plan for Capital
View Park and its system of nationally-recognized trails, new bicycle trails along
downtown streets, additions to Cove Spring Park and the family outdoor club
programs offered through Parks and Recreation, similar improvements at Fort
Hill, and other examples this limited space will not permit bear this out.
This pattern is growing. However, it needs to be coupled with efforts to
make Frankfort a more business friendly community by nurturing existing firms,
establishing public procurement policy that favors local ones, creating low-cost
ways to increase traffic in downtown shops with diagonal parking and parking
enforcement, and fostering a culture that frequently celebrates contributions of
small businesses to our community’s health.
Do NOT Talk About Fight Club: Two Rules NOT to Follow when Sharing Your
Experience to Build a National Alliance
Cover Art for the move Fight Club
The 1999 hit movie Fight Club, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, is an excellent
example of what NOT to do when trying to build a national alliance. In the movie and the
book by the same name, Tyler Durden (Pitt) has two rules about Fight Club. The first
rule is “do not talk about Fight Club.” The second rule is DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT
CLUB. By the end of the movie, with a strong emphasis on an underground grassroots
movement, Durden builds a massive network that leads to a violent revolution.
Even though Fight Club is awesome, it is just a movie. The first rule to building a
national alliance is to talk about the alliance. You need to share your experiences with
others so they can learn from what you did. We are stronger together and you will reach
your target audience of women, Millennials and kids. Through our efforts, we can
revolutionize the way outfitters do business and how the educational system operates.
But, let’s do it peacefully.
Do NOT Talk About Fight Club Table of Contents
Memorandum to PIF and PPA Boards
Memorandum to PPA Board Members
What the Heck is No Child Left Inside? Why Should I Care?
Expedition-Based Environmental Education: A National Program In-A-Box
Nature Deficit Disorder Means Fewer Stewards
Possible Grantors and Sponsors
How to Achieve 501(c)3 Status
Master Chapter Agreement
PIF & PPA Boards
Ed Councill, PIF Ch.
NCLI Opportunities
February 2, 2011
The purpose of this memo is to propose that our association invest in a youth
program that offers us strong alliances and partnerships with both agencies and
local communities, a highly visible and currently “hot” movement around which to
be a critical partner, and a long-term method of reaching a new generation that
are rapidly becoming disconnected, thus making them not likely to choose
paddlesports as a part of their lifetime leisure and family recreation pursuits. To
summarize, the NCLI movement can be accelerated by our serving as a
distribution system for accessing the Nation’s waterways. And our young will be
enriched, especially considering the alternative of not intervening as a key player.
We have all heard of other efforts to do the same thing – attract kids to boating.
US Boat, Fish & Wildlife, and our previous attempt “Let’!” have all
had limited success. The Outdoor Industry Foundation has created a voice in DC
for manufacturers and retailers through well publicized events, like a huge demo
in Central Park; but they all mostly share a ‘go it alone’ approach.
The River Management Society has offered to partner with us, having heard
requests for “great projects to get kids to and on the water” opportunities
consistently from their agency partners.
Many national initiatives have been developed by federal and state agencies that
seek to get kids outside (The National Park Service awarded grants to 240
groups last year for getting kids outside, with each requiring grant development,
NPS staff outreach, etc.). There have been hundreds of community-wide
successes and a few great national net-works set up to walk or bike to school.
Despite government budget cutbacks, federal funders are still looking for
programs, reinforcing the fact that no sustainable national “system” has been
established. Notably, while many programs are getting kids outside, few are
getting them on the water due to the lack of gear and knowledgeable organizers
and guides.
We have a “golden opportunity” to help them (who likewise have behaved in an
independent, rather than interdependent manner) achieve their national
mandates, promote paddlesports, and of course pursue our interest in pursuing
lifelong paddlers through a project that supports and promotes the outfitting
sector of our industry. Add the power of the No Child Left Inside mania coming to
a theater near you (“Waiting for Superman”, “Where Do the Children Play?”, and
“Race to Nowhere”; national print media (Time, Newsweek, USA Today); TV
programs featuring Steve Perry, Geoffrey Canada, and Michelle Rhee, and ‘best
sellers like Last Child in the Woods, A Whole New Mind, Learning Redefined,
Doing School and Road to Hell to name a few; the sea change that is occurring
that will improve the lives of our children is monumental indeed. I say, or more
accurately, Lee Ioacoca said, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way”. I
propose we be a part of the “lead”.
This means two things for our association: 1) a new and revitalized PIF (our ‘C(3)’
arm that offers tax exempt incentives for donors and a vehicle for grants); and 2)
investment in funds that can match such grants and shows that we have ‘skin in
the game’. I am thinking of a number between $50 - and $100,000 for PIF to
launch a program partnering with outdoor-related agencies and organizations like
the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management,
and US Fish & Wildlife.
Key to success, and the only way private businesses can benefit from
government initiatives without securing status as a government contractor, is for
our outfitters who operate on or near waterways adjacent to federal or statemanaged lands to serve this national initiative through partnerships between PIF
and schools, parks, and recreation groups connecting visitors with fleets of
canoes, kayaks and rafts as the distribution system for increasing usage during
reduced internal agency resources.
We (PPA through PIF) would need to develop a template of sorts based on the
successful programs of some of our members, secure funds for a test that may
enhance current programs and fuel new ones, and see if we can prove that the
recipe works to apply for broader scale funding. I can see many benefits to all
involved. Roch’s ‘passport’ idea has great potential utility, for one example;
kidsGROWkentucky and Heavner’s Nature Connection are two others on which
such a template can be based.
Let me hear from Board members of both PPA and PIF about how they see this
idea; so we can move forward by the March PPA BOD meeting. If there is
sufficient interest, the next step is top identify member outfitters on state or
federally managed waterways that are willing to participate in this initial pilot
program. I suggest we use each of our PPA regional directors to suggest
outfitters and their rivers from their region, along with contact info.
In anticipation of being serious about this opportunity, I am asking for new PIF
Board members to join or replace the existing ones (Mike Prom, Steve Jordan,
Matt Manashes, Lynn Lyons and me -- I’ll stay only if the PPA Board endorses
this idea and provides the needed matching funding. Already I am wooing the
likes of Joe Pulliam, and a couple others that shall remain unidentified at this
time, including an existing PIF member or so.
Specifically, I want the PPA Board to endorse the outline of the program and
likewise express their intent to provide the funding at a level estimated to be
between $50,000 and $100,000. Should these monies not be used for the
purposes contained in this brief over-view, they will be returned to PPA. In fact,
Rachel as PPA CEO currently administers the PIF account; therefore, these
funds will not leave the control of PPA without her fully documented requests
from PIF signed by me. I see this as an investment in the original objectives of
LetsGoPaddle to attract new participants to our sport and industry.
TO: PPA Board Members
FR: Ed Councill, PIF Ch.
RE: NCLI Support Issue
DA: April 27, 2011
I was informed that you did not approve the PIF NCLI Partnership Resolution and
funding proposal at last night’s teleconference meeting. My disappointment is deeply felt;
and I want you to know why.
First, I have placed NCLI on our annual conference agenda for the last three
years and participated in panels on growing our industry through outreach and service to
non-traditional populations. Two years ago, it was my proudest hour to have my whole
family talk about Team River Runner (Nathan addressed the needs of wounded vets),
the Sister-hood of the Traveling Kayak (Allison’s women’s program), and I spoke about
reaching out to minorities and all kids through a program built around NCLI principles.
Many of you attended these sessions, and appeared to understand how they all share
philanthropic goals; but also they promoted paddlesports by introducing a new
generation of paddlers to our sport and lifestyle.
Second, last year the panel showcased Heavner Nature Connection and my pilot
in Kentucky. Again, many of you were generous with your interest and praise. I even sold
my services at the auction to bring these programs to one of our members, who likewise
was most complimentary.
Third, for the last year I have worked in Kentucky, attended two summits with
other like programs out of state, and sought a relationship with the River Management
Society, a consortium of federal land management agency executives, as a means to
take us national through our members working together on the mutual objectives of
enhanced promotion, increased visitation, nurtured appreciation for our land and water
resources under public responsibility, and to encourage a lifestyle of paddling and
stewardship of such resources.
During previous PPA Board meetings, my requests for support were met with
enthusiastic approvals. I saw in the Passport Program, an opportunity to tie these two
promo initiatives together. I was asked to take on a template approach so that outfitter
members would not be burdened with reinventing the wheel again and again and again.
This has been done and submitted for your approval and support. In March, you
asked questions that I answered in my 04/14/11 memo to Don Roberts. As Chairman,
Don asked each of you in turn to ask any others of me while I was connected. I did so.
Today, Rachel said that other questions, some of which were re-raised after I left
the conference call. The one dealing with how does this benefit most of our members
was most surprising, at least from the comments after I answered it over the phone last
So, not only is my disappointment due to a decision which was inconsistent with
all previous conversation; but it appears the process was flawed with hidden concerns
left unmentioned, thus unanswered, at least by me who has done all the work.
PIF was created to be the tax-exempt, donor-friendly vehicle that was to promote
paddlesports via the Let’s Go Paddle program. You have decided not to provide me the
tools I need to meet this expectation and implement a program to accomplish this goal.
What the Heck is No Child Left Inside—
Inside—Why Should I Care?
An article by Ed Councill, KidsGrowOutdoors, Inc. (an NCLI Team Non-profit)
No Child Left Inside (NCLI for short) was an amendment to the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act before Congress. It provided funding for developing environmental literacy plans and teacher workshops to follow up with students. It is dead.
NCLI is now a national movement to fight against childhood obesity, poor school
performance in math and science and on environmental topics, a lack of problem-solving
skills involving collaboration and diversity, the absence of free play and field trips that
mix outdoor activity with nature, and increasing behavioral and interpersonal issues. The
fact is that it has no Federal ‘carrot’ as an incentive; thus, it is fueled by motivated people
that want to improve how kids are educated. It is this NCLI that is the story I want to tell.
Most examples of NCLI include field trips in public schools to areas that offer
water- or land-based ways to explore and play in a “natural” environment. These often
involve nature interpreters and canoe and kayak outfitters from both the public and private sectors. While these efforts are indeed a marked improvement over current school
practices, the Frankfort NCLI has supercharging differences producing amazing results.
The three differences are: 1) the program’s design is student/kid-driven; 2) NCLI
has to be totally integrated within the curricula and school day, not as an afterthought or
a ‘Saturday’ option; and 3) the combination of balancing right-brain and left-brain
directed learning and free play is the critical ingredient in our version of NCLI in the
Capital area.
A pilot NCLI program is currently being designed and implemented this school
year. Two meetings have been held with educators, professional environmental/conservationists, parents, outdoor recreation and land- and water-based providers, and others
concerned about the future facing our children under our existing system. Both
examined the very question of this article; and the second dealt with the benefits of free
play on our children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Students will constitute step two, as they are given the opportunity to design and
suggest how such a program is implemented at their respective facilities. A joint meeting
involving two area schools will likely take place in January. A visual media journalism
class is considering producing a video to illustrate their vision of NCLI and its benefits
and improvements for children and issues like drop out rates, bullying, and performance.
Step three is to identify the specific classrooms to be directly a part of the pilot
program. This leads to step four, which is to visit participating classrooms and take an
imaginary nature-based field trip. Preparations, safety precautions, equipment required,
transportation, staff credentials and experience, and non-student adult resource people
will be covered.
Finally (step five), real trips will occur in April or May consistent with the plan and
designated locations. All of the above principles will be incorporated to guide trip
Step six will follow during the late spring or summer with evaluations of the trips,
identification of successes and shortcomings, and recommendations for the next year’s
program. Success will be measured by enhanced initiative, creativity, curiosity, and
engagement in addition to the other outcomes mentioned above. Noticeably enhanced
student engagement and success is the overarching objective of this pilot project.
For questions and/or support, call 395.1513. We are a tax-exempt NPO.
ExpeditionExpedition-Based Environmental Education:
E-BEE has been a respected but illusive tool for educating K-12 students for over a half century.
It has gained more recent attention thanks to authors of The Last Child in the Woods, Drive, The
Element, A Whole New Mind, The Road to Hell, Doing School, The Race to Nowhere, and other
lesser known works. National and state standards as well as environmental literacy plans
are likewise identifying that natural environments make better learning venues, particularly to reconnecting children with their world. Successful implementation of this experiential tool for this
enhanced learning paradigm has been lacking to date, however.
The Professional Paddlespoprts Association (PPA) and its predecessor National Association of
Canoe Liveries and Outfitters (NACLO) produced a manual for outfitters to become involved
with this population through an in-school program using their vehicles for the ‘expeditions’ as
access to these learning environments (see Expedition-Based Education produced through a
grant from The National Science Foundation, self-published in 1984). However, as recent actors
on the outdoor services provider stage with a focus on more lucrative markets, many outfitters
chose not to become involved with education. Thus, implementation of this program was spotty
at best, though successful where it was in place.
Today, the issue finds itself in much more friendly waters due to several driving factors: 1) many
authors have written about how natural outdoor environments benefit student learning and
retention; 2) the neuroscience has produced empirical evidence that supports active brain
activation impacts of experiential, collaborative, and real world project-based learning; 3) with
the US fall from international scores of science, technology, engineering, and math coupled with
a similarly waning in innovation, a once entrenched, traditional lecture teaching regimen is
gaining overdue consensus towards change; 4) health issues among existing students are
beginning to emerge as significant as the work force and citizenry preparedness ones indicated
above (stress-imposed sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, adult-generated ‘success’ goals,
all contribute to both health and emotional/behavioral issues that negatively impact learning and
The No Child Left Inside (NCLI) movement, spurred by Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods
and subsequent formation of the Children’s Nature Network, has fostered action at the local and
state levels unparalleled by the usual reaction to federally-funded programs (a finding that is
consistent with Daniel Pink’s Drive and A Whole New Mind thesis of intrinsic rather than
extrinsic rewards as the most motivating). It is within this context that a revisit of the PPA paper
on Expedition-Based Education has occurred.
Three outfitters have taken the challenge of moving into the NCLI arena in a serious way. One
emphasizes off season classroom visits with an imaginary canoe trip that also involves a safety
session, as well as opportunities to talk about environmental issues at the local level in a rural
southeastern setting. Another has an afterschool emphasis in a major metro area in Michigan
that has put over 10,000 school kids a year on the water or in a land-based setting for
environmental learning. The third is an in-school program, which is student-centered, involves
free play and solitude as part of the sessions, and emphasizes collaborative, real world problemsolving, lead-ership, initiative, and innovation exercises. A pilot project in a micro-metro area
around the capital city in Kentucky was designed, planned and implemented by an NCLI Team
of 50 teach-ers, administrators, parents, students, outdoor service providers and citizens
interested in a better K-12 education for kids involved 600 students from area public, private,
faith-based, alternative, pre-college, and home schooled children.
The results of this exploratory work have been remarkably positive and have produced a
strategic momentum to expand to other states and nationally.PPA awarded the NCLI-inspired
program in Kentucky a grant to create a program-in-a-box (PIB) to be shared with as many of
the estimated 3,500 outfitters across the US to implement in their respective market areas.
Completion of this PIB package is scheduled for this fall.
It is likely that the NCLI PIB will be printed in color and contain examples and documentation to
ease an outfitters understanding and preparation to implement this program. As such, it is this
very cost that is beyond the available budgets through the end of the current calendar year.
Thus, it is the purpose of this application for the echoing green mini-grant to pay for the printing
and distribution for up to 50 packets to willing/interested outfitters. For example, the initial
proposal was a 32 page document, which can be used as an estimate for the PIB.
Most of the grant funding was for creating a vehicle to expand the program that eliminated the
$850 costs of an IRS tax-exempt application for a local organization. It also created a chapter
master agreement purchased a national domain name that related to the kidsGROW tag line,
which could also be applied to other states, and implemented an evaluation system for program
performance as part of the PIB template. So the program has addressed the major barriers that
impeded its previous acceptance by the PPA outfitting membership.
The recently promulgated environmental literacy plan requirements have a goal that
emphasizes the use of field trips in natural environments for environmental education purposes.
It is likely that this will add momentum to the movement as states complete their plans, national
standards are finalized, and federal funding is made available to implement them. Outfitters can
position themselves for this opportunity to be involved as service providers. And a similar
proposal is underway to partner with public lands management agencies for mutual benefit.
Moreover, interest from major national and international corporations has been evidenced. The
Detroit season ending next month is to be evaluated and considered by the latter for a national
rollout for the 2013 season beginning next spring. Things relating to NCLI are looking up.
Breaking Barriers to Growing Outdoor Leisure Family Participation
The Problem
Participation is falling
Visitors are aging
Kids and women are staying inside
Lower visitation means smaller budgets means eroding maintenance/repair = downward
The Strategy
Focus on childbearing aged women
Their barriers must fall
Create magic memories
Tie in to kids’ interests and school
Regain outdoor play as a family tradition
The Plan
Partner among school systems, outdoor providers/outfitters, and public land managers
The Costs
The Alternative
Obesity will exceed 50% in a decade
Public health costs will grow
School performance will decline
Possible Grantors and Sponsors
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
North American Association for Environmental Education
Your local chapter of the NAAEE
Echoing Green
Local banks
Local grocery stores
Local corporations
Local state agencies
Local colleges and universities
How to Save $850 Quick: Some tips on becoming a non-profit organization
There are different levels of non-profit organizations that the IRS recognizes.
KidsGROWus has 501(c)3 status. There are two things to know about this status:
1) It eliminates most taxes
2) you are eligible for more grants that any other entity
3) you can pass on your tax exempt status to your donors and they will get tax
deduction by donating money to your organization
Once having this tax exempt status, your organization is still considered a
corporation. What this means, you can be more creative and you do not have to worry
about personal lawsuits. You still need insurance, but this status will give you some
There is a catch. To gain tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3, you have to pay $850 just
for the paperwork. You want to know the way out? Join KidsGROWus. We have already
paid the money and we have already cleared the legal hurdles. We can have as many
groups under our umbrella as we want. KidsGROWus has already saved you $850. All
you have to do it fill out the “Master Chapter Agreement” in this chapter and send it to
us. That’s it. You are part of KidsGROWus.
We do have a few guidelines that we like to follow that we are asking anyone who
joins to follow as well.
1) You need to make sure that everyone has a background check. The FBI has an
$18 criminal background check that we use. It’s up to you how you get there but
we need a background check.
2) We require everyone to sign a sexual harassment policy. We are all about
equality and this is one way to protect that.
3) Conflict of interest policy needs to be instituted. Board members should not be
making money off of their non-profit organizations. The IRS doesn’t like that.
4) You need a financial accounting system that will track your expenditures. This
goes without saying, but the IRS likes to know where our money goes.
So, it’s not really that hard. If you like what we have shown you so far and if you like
what you see the rest of the way, please join KidsGROWus. We would love to have
Master Agreement Between
Paddlesports Industry Foundation, Inc.
This Agreement made and entered into between Paddlesports Industry Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation,
its successors and assigns (hereinafter PIF), and (insert name of chapter, hereinafter Chapter), a nonprofit corporation, its
successors and assigns, seeking to become an affiliated organization to PIF under the general supervision of PIF. Chapter
seeks to be included in the Group Tax Exemption of PIF so long as this Agreement remains in effect. Under terminology
used by the Internal Revenue Service, PIF is known as the “central” organization and Chapter is known as the
“subordinate” organization.
Paddlesports Industry Foundation, Inc. is organized to provide education to the general public concerning the health and
educational benefits derived from outdoor recreation, including, but not limited to kayaking, canoeing, rafting, hiking,
camping, fishing, and bird watching.
Chapter desires to educate the general public concerning the health and educational benefits derived from outdoor
recreation, including, but not limited to kayaking, canoeing, rafting, hiking, camping, fishing, and bird watching.
Effective Period
This Agreement shall be effective as a binding legal commitment between the Parties from the date of its execution by
both Parties until such time as it is terminated by one of the Parties.
This Agreement may be terminated by either party by written notice to the other party. Written notice must be given by
certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the party at the address stated below, or to such other address that
either party has provided to the other. The termination of the Agreement will be effective forty-eight (48) hours after
deposit of the written notice in the United States mail.
PIF Agreements
PIF agrees to provide the following services and to perform the following actions under this Agreement:
(1) PIF will provide the following educational materials: curriculum materials and marketing strategies. A license is
hereby granted by PIF to Chapter to use these materials during the term of this Agreement.
(2) PIF will file and will maintain a Group Exemption from income tax with the Internal Revenue Service, which
Group Exemption will include Chapter so long as this Agreement is in effect.
Chapter Agreements
Chapter agrees to provide the following services and information, and to perform the following actions under this
1. Chapter will incorporate under the laws of its state of physical presence as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization,
governed by a board of directors who are elected by the board of directors and not by “members” of the chapter;
the Chapter will include the following Articles in its articles of incorporation:
Purposes and Powers
The purposes for which the Corporation is formed and the powers of the corporation are as follows:
(1) The Corporation is a nonprofit organization incorporated and operated exclusively for charitable and
educational purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as
subsequent federal tax law).
(2) In furtherance of the foregoing purposes, the Corporation has all powers granted to a corporation under the
Laws of the State of (insert name of state of incorporation) and the power to do all things necessary, proper, and
consistent with maintaining its tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Code and its qualification to
receive contributions deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Code.
(3) No part of the net earnings of the Corporation may inure to the benefit of or be distributed to any director,
employee, or other individual, partnership, estate, trust, or corporation having a personal or private interest in
the Corporation.
(4) No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation may be devoted to the carrying on of propaganda or
otherwise attempting to influence legislation in a manner or to an extent that would disqualify the Corporation
(including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to
(5) Notwithstanding any other provisions of these Articles of Incorporation, the Corporation shall not carry on any
activity not permitted to be carried on by: (1) a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section
501(c)(3) of the Code; or (2) a corporation contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the
In the event of the liquidation, dissolution, or winding up of the affairs of the Corporation, whether voluntary,
involuntary, or by operation of law:
(1) None of the property of the Corporation or any proceeds thereof may be distributed to or divided among
any of the directors or officers of the Corporation or inure to the benefit of any individual.
(2) After all liabilities and obligations of the Corporation have been paid, satisfied, and discharged, or adequate
provision made therefore, all remaining property and assets of the Corporation must be distributed to one
or more organizations formed and operated exclusively for educational or charitable purposes within the
meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Code, or to a unit of federal, state, or local government, that meets the
following conditions
i. Transfers of property to such organization(s) must, to the extent then permitted under the laws of
the United States, be exempt from federal gift, succession, inheritance, estate, or death taxes (by
whatever named called);
ii. Such organization(s) must be exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the
Code; and
iii. Contributions to such organization(s) must be deductible under section 170 of the Code.
2. A copy of the Chapter’s articles of incorporation showing their date of filing with the State is attached.
3. Chapter will adopt Bylaws governing the internal operations of the Chapter that are consistent with the provisions of
the articles of incorporation.
4. A copy of the Bylaws showing their date of adoption by the Board of Directors is attached.
5. Chapter will adopt a Conflict of Interest Policy in the form attached as Appendix A. A copy of the Conflict of Interest
Policy showing its date of adoption by the Board of Directors is attached.
6. Chapter will register with the appropriate state officials in order to conduct fundraising activities within its state of
incorporation and within any other state in which it conducts fundraising activities. Instructions for registration may
be found on the website maintained by the National Association of State Charities Officials and the National
Association of Attorneys General, which can be found at
7. Chapter will undertake and maintain any registrations or filings required by its state of incorporation to obtain and
maintain tax-exempt status within the state. This does not include obtaining Federal tax-exempt status from the
Internal Revenue Service, which will be provided by PIF during the term of this agreement.
8. Chapter will provide PIF with copies of updates to its articles of incorporation, bylaws, and conflict of interest policy,
showing the date of adoption or filing, as those occur. Copies will be provided within 60 days of adoption or filing.
9. Chapter will complete and file in a timely manner, without extension, the appropriate Internal Revenue Service
Return of Organization Exempt from Tax, and will promptly furnish a copy of such return to PIF. Chapter will
maintain an accounting period ending on the 31st day of December.
10. Chapter will complete and file in a timely manner, without extension, any required state return of organization
exempt from tax, fundraising registration, business registration, corporate or other state or local information forms
required to remain in business in Chapter’s state of incorporation (including states to which Chapter has expanded
beyond its state of incorporation), and will furnish a copy of such return or form to PIF. Copies will be provided
within 60 days of filing.
11. Chapter will undertake such actions required to legally raise funds and expend funds for the purpose of providing
education to the general public concerning the health and educational benefits derived from outdoor recreation,
including, but not limited to kayaking, canoeing, and rafting. Sources of funding may include donations from
individuals or corporations; event sponsorships; grants or cooperative agreements from foundations or government
agencies; payments for services or products provided, so long as such services or products are related to the
charitable purpose of the Chapter; or any other contributions of a charitable nature. Expenditures of funds shall be in
furtherance of the charitable or educational purpose of the Chapter and may include personnel costs, supplies, rents,
communication costs, travel, or other appropriate purposes.
12. Chapter will provide PIF with copies of educational materials, curriculum materials, marketing strategies, and other
promotional materials created by Chapter. Chapter will do its best to obtain a signed consent from persons or
companies that create aforementioned materials in order to release such materials to PIF for its use. In certain
instances, persons or companies providing such materials may have stipulations regarding use as stated on the release
forms, which stipulations prevent use by PIF. In such instances of restricted use, the Chapter is not required to
compel persons or companies to release such materials to either the Chapter or the PIF before involving such persons
or companies in the Chapter’s educational goals and outdoor activities.
13. Chapter will refrain from undertaking or performing any action which is not consistent with the tax-exempt
educational purpose of PIF as stated herein, to wit: providing education to the general public concerning the health
and educational benefits derived from outdoor recreation, including, but not limited to kayaking, canoeing, and
14. By its signature below, Chapter authorizes PIF to include Chapter in its Group Exemption.
15. By its signature below, Chapter affirms that it is not a private foundation as defined by IRC 509(a) and that it is not a
16. If at any time the Corporation is or shall become a private foundation within the meaning of Section 509(a) of the
Internal Revenue Code, then the Corporation will be subject to the following as of such time and thereafter: (1) The
Corporation shall distribute its income for each taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to become
subject to the tax on undistributed income imposed by Section 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code; (2) the
Corporation shall not engage in any act of self dealing as defined in Section 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code;
(3) the Corporation shall not retain any excess business holdings as defined in Section 4943(c) of the Internal
Revenue Code; (4) the Corporation shall not make any investments in such manner as to subject it to tax under
Section 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code; and (5) the Corporation shall not make any Taxable expenditures as
defined in Section 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Chapter Reporting
Chapter agrees to further report to PIF as follows:
(1) Chapter’s current EIN (federal employer identification number): _________________. The EIN may be obtained
online through the website
(2) Chapter will promptly inform PIF concerning any changes in the Chapter’s purposes, character, or method of
(3) Chapter will promptly inform PIF concerning any changes in name of address that occur.
In Witness Whereof, the Parties have set their hands this ___ day of ______________, 20
Paddlesports Industry Foundation, Inc.
(insert address)
(type name of Chapter)
(insert address)
By: Its President (type name of signer)
By: Its President (type name of signer)
Appendix A
Conflict of Interest Policy
Article I
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect the (organization) (hereinafter “organization”) Board
when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an
officer or director of the organization or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is
intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest
applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Article II
1. Interested Person
Any director, principal officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, who has a
direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
2. Financial Interest
A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or
a. An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the organization has a transaction or
b. A compensation arrangement with an Applicant or with any entity or individual with which the organization
has a transaction or arrangement, or
c. A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual
with which the organization is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, Section 2, a person who has a
financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides
that a conflict of interest exists.
Article III
1. Duty to Disclose
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence
of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors and members
of committees with governing board delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
2. Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists
After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested
person, he/she shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of
interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of
interest exists.
3. Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
a. An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the
presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or
arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
b. The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or
committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
c. After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether the organization
can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity
that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
d. If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not
producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the
disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the organization’s best interest, for its own
benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its
decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
4. Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy
a. If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual
or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member
an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
b. If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the
circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or
possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
Article IV
Records of Proceedings
The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
a. The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection
with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine
whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a
conflict of interest in fact existed.
b. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or
arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or
arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
Article V
a. A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the
organization for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
b. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives
compensation, directly or indirectly, from the organization for services is precluded from voting on matters
pertaining to that member’s compensation.
c. No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation
matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the organization, either individually or
collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.
Article VI
Annual Statements
Each director, principal officer and member of a committee with governing board delegated powers shall
annually sign a statement which affirms such person:
a. Has received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy,
b. Has read and understands the policy,
c. Has agreed to comply with the policy, and
d. Understands the organization is charitable and in order to maintain its federal tax exemption it must engage
primarily in activities which accomplish one or more of its tax-exempt purposes.
Article VII
Periodic Reviews
To ensure the organization operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and does not engage in
activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews
shall, at a minimum, include the following subjects:
a. Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, based on competent survey information
and the result of arm’s length bargaining.
b. Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to the
organization’s written policies, are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and
services, further charitable purposes and do not result in inurnment, impermissible private benefit or in an
excess benefit transaction.
Article VIII
Use of Outside Experts
When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Article VII, the organization may, but need not, use
outside advisors. If outside experts are used, their use shall not relieve the governing board of its responsibility
for ensuring periodic reviews are conducted.
IRS definition: A conflict of interest arises when a person in a position of authority over an organization, such
as a director, officer, or manager, may benefit personally from a decision he or she could make. A conflict of
interest policy consists of a set of procedures to follow to avoid the possibility that those in positions of
authority over an organization may receive an inappropriate benefit.
Hold on Tight: Putting a Coalition Together
Let’s face it, folks. The day of the Lone Ranger style business is no longer valid. You can’t do it
all on your own. There are too many people in different industries that can do things that you
can’t and they are willing to collaborate.
To reach out successfully to Millennials and kids you must work with other people and especially
in other industries. Paddlesports outfitters can work with land-based outfitters. Outfitters can
work with schools, artists and governments. Non-profits can also work with other non-profits.
For instance, KidsGROWKentucky has formed a coalition that consists of the Kentucky State
University, Frankfort City Commission, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage cabinet, Frankfort
Tourism Commission, two photographers, Walk/Bike Frankfort (a non-profit organization or
NPO), FolkBike ReCyclery (an NPO), Josephine Sculpture Park (an NPO), and Get Outside
Kentucky (GO Kentucky, an NPO) among several other entities. KidsGROWKentucky has
reached out to people who can help move initiatives forward.
You cannot be afraid to reach out to others. There is no reason to stay in your box when it
comes to how to do business. Get out of your box, it’s fun out here.
Hold on Tight Table of Contents
A Proposal to Grow Paddlesports: Using the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Program
A Conversation with the School Board About Kids
Odysseus and the Paddlesports “Holy Grail”: A Proposal to Grow Paddlesports
Sustaining United States’ Public Lands with 21st Century New Normal
Sometimes, A Perfect Storm is Good
Education and Democracy in America, Parts 1 and 2
Frankfort’s Kids-Friendly Places
Response to Five Issues Re: Grow Paddlesports Forum
Youth Organizations in Kentucky
Contact Person: Ed Councill
Date: May 6, 2011
For 40 years of ‘organized’ paddlesports, the myriad of trade associations has focused on
helping their members increase profitability. Over 90% of benefits have been aimed at cost
reducing programs like insurance, freight and other costs of doing business discounts -- the
expense side of the financial equation. Little attention has been applied to the income side,
although many programs have attempted to promote or market paddlesports during this past
half-century. None has been successful; especially compared to those of the motorized boating
and RV industry. Paddlesports has nonetheless experienced substantial growth, in spite of
neglecting this critically strategic function.
During the past decade participation numbers have flattened for canoeing and rafting;
while those numbers for recreational kayaking have kept paddlesports as one of the top five
“gateway” leisure pursuits. In 2001 paddlesports achieved parity with motorized boating
colleagues at 55 million annual participants. This past year an estimated 90 million Americans
recreated on US waterways, as compared with 65 million in motor craft. So, paddlesports has
benefited immensely from rising fuel and equipment costs. Women are currently making 65% of
the family leisure outdoor recreation decisions, thus providing a viable target for an effective and
vigorous paddlesports promotional campaign. PPA pursued this approach five years ago and
invested $50,000 to design the program and establish a web site under the banner of Let’s Go
Paddle. Phase 2 was to be a major purchase of ads in women’s magazines to drive them to this
portal, which, in turn, would drive them to an outfitter to meet their needs. The estimated $3
million price tag could not be raised; and the program stalled. Our “Odyssey” to grow customers
still evades an effective solution.
The combination of a sluggish economy; our children suffering from ‘nature deficit
disorder’, obesity, a dysfunctional emphasis on competitive sports, and increasing learning
issues associated with an over attraction to media; changing demographics that require outfitters
to commit to a marketing strategy that reaches out to women, minorities and other nontraditional populations heretofore effectively ignored all add up to a real opportunity to promote
our industry, particularly as outfitters, and grow our customer base for a prosperous future. This
‘perfect storm’ is a crisis we need not to waste if we are serious about having sufficient
participation growth to assure sustainability of the industry as a whole.
Most notably among the elements of opportunity is the No Child Left Inside movement.
With over 58 institutions in an NCLI Coalition pushing the idea of getting kids in nature, with
water-based field trips as a venue to address the above issues facing our children, with
pressures to spend every education dollar to match core content and enhance performance and
test results, with outfitters being in a unique position to deliver equipment, professional
expertise, and guide services assuring safety as job one; a large majority of PPA’s members are
poised to benefit from taking this opportunity seriously and investing in a new way that is costeffective to revive the tenets of Let’s Go Paddle.
Given that the original LGP phase two was to place expensive ads in women’s magazines
(an idea which is less effective in our era of electronic media), PPA needs to invest in a program
that puts NCLI in a box to provide the “how to” for every outfitter that sees this as a way to
increase business. Several models exist among PPA members, whose experiences can be
invaluable input to this package. The results of the program will be a template that can be
provided to all of PPA's members as an easy starter package of how to grow their own NCLI
Key elements of the PIB will include:
1) Curriculum for the different types of groups that outfitters may connect with.
2) Marketing suggestions / templates on how to get groups promotion of the groups after
they paddle.
3) Tax issues, legal and risk issues outfitters may face.
4) K-12 educational connections that make teachers’ jobs easier with ideas on how to
convince their administration why these programs work.
5) Grant funding opportunities as well as samples of grant proposals that worked and
common mistakes.
6) Ideas on how to get large corporations as support sponsors as well as smaller business
7) Listing of potential partners such as local, state and federal governments, clubs,
associations and societies, which through collaboration, and will provide a more
comprehensive outcome and positive results for participants.
In short, PPA members need a simple how to checklist of putting their own NCLI program
together in their market area through social media portals.
This ‘template’ or "Program-In-a-Box (PIB)" will be designed over the next school year
and made available soon thereafter to all PPA member outfitters. Because of the immense
benefits to the PPA membership as a whole, the PPA Board of Directors is considering investing
$10,000 for its design, coordination and evaluation elements. This support would be divided into
two payments, one $5000 payment due May 15, 2011, and the final payment due September 15,
The program coordinator, Ed Councill, will continue to look for alternative funding options
using connections with local, state and federal governments, clubs, associations and societies,
much as the template will direct the members to do. These partnerships have been productive
in the past and will continue to be so in the future. PPA's investment in this NCLI program is
great opportunity that would clearly benefit the association as a whole, the members and the
public as well.
Topic is How reconnecting with nature in a non-structured, safe, and fun outdoor
field trip can improve our current education shortcomings
Importance is that our kids are too fat, stressed, too medicated, too disconnected
from the world and nature, too competitive, taught using standardized curricula
that promotes knowledge transfer over real learning (a result of ‘teaching to the
test’), and too ready to accept socially upward mobile objectives and compliance
with adults having authority over them. This is a result of a cultural change that
has occurred over the past generation that includes systemic flaws created by
systemically imposed expectations of success and happiness.
Speaker had and has children and grandchildren in each of our community’s six
school systems: 2 public (City and County), 2 faith-based (Christian Academy
and Good Shepherd), private (Capital Day and Mothers’ Day Out), and a homeschooling group. So I have experienced first hand each and have concluded that,
excepting pre- and home schools, each follows the same pattern with nearly
consistent results. The physical or emotional drop out rate affects boys mostly;
but all are disengaged and have no commitment to learning how to solve real
problems, use their imaginations, creativity, and initiative, and are “doing school”,
meaning gaming the process to get through a bad experience. School used to be
fun. It’s time to get it back.
For 40 years of ‘organized’ paddlesports, the myriad of trade associations
has focused on helping
their members increase profitability. Over 90% of benefits have been aimed at
cost reducing programs like insurance, freight and other costs of doing business
discounts -- the expense side of the financial equation. Little attention has been
applied to the income side, although many programs have attempted to promote
or market paddlesports during this past half-century. None has been successful;
especially compared to those of the motorized boating and RV industry.
Paddlesports has nonetheless experienced substantial growth, in spite of
neglecting this critically strategic function.
During the past decade participation numbers have flattened for canoeing
and rafting; while those numbers for recreational kayaking have kept
paddlesports as one of the top five “gateway” leisure pursuits. In 2001
padsdlesports achieved parity with motorized boating colleagues at 55 million
annual participants. This past year an estimated 90 million Americans recreated
on US waterways, as compared with 65 million in motor craft. Paddlesports has
benefited immensely from rising fuel and equipment costs. Women are currently
making 65% of the family leisure outdoor recreation decisions, thus providing a
viable target for an effective and vigorous paddlersports promotional campaign.
PPA pursued this approach five years ago and invested $50,000 to design the
program and establish a web site under the banner of Let’s Go Paddle. Phase
Two was to be a major purchase of ads in women’s magazines to drive them to
this portal, which, in turn, would drive them to an outfitter to meet their needs.
The estimated $3 million price tag could not be raised; and the program stalled.
Our “Odyssey” to grow customers still evades an effective solution.
The combination of a sluggish economy; our children suffering from
‘nature deficit disorder’, obesity, a dysfunctional emphasis on competitive sports,
and increasing learning issues associated with an over attraction to media;
changing demographics that require outfitters to commit to a marketing strategy
that reaches out to women, minorities and other non-traditional populations
heretofore effectively ignored all add up to a real opportunity to promote our
industry, particularly as outfitters, and grow our customer base for a prosperous
future. This ‘perfect storm’ is a crisis we need not to waste if we are serious about
having sufficient participation growth to assure sustainability of the industry as a
Most notably among the elements of opportunity is the No Child Left Inside
movement. With over 58 institutions in an NCLI coalition pushing the idea of
getting kids in nature, with water-based field trips as a venue to address the
above issues facing our children, with pressures to spend every education dollar
to match core content and enhance performance and test results, with outfitters
being in a unique position to deliver equipment, professional expertise, and guide
services assuring safety as job one; a large majority of PPA’s members are
poised to benefit from taking this opportunity seriously and investing in a new way
that is cost-effective to revive the tenets of Let’s Go Paddle.
Given that the original LGP phase two was to place expensive ads in
women’s magazines (an idea which is less effective in our era of electronic
media), PPA needs to invest in a program that puts NCLI in a box to provide the
“how to” for every outfitter that sees this as a way to increase business. Several
models exist among PPA members, whose experiences can be invaluable input
to this package. Key elements will include the marketing, tax/legal issues, K-12
educational connections that make teachers’ jobs easier, grant funding
opportunities, and a listing of potential partners, which through collaboration, will
provide a more comprehensive outcome and positive results for participants. In
short, PPA members need a simple how to checklist of putting their own NCLI
program together in their market area through social media portals.
This ‘template’ or “Program-In-a-Box (PIB) will be designed over the next
school year and made available soon thereafter to all PPA member outfitters.
PPA will invest $10,000 for its design, coordination and evaluation elements. One
idea is to seek out partners at the local, state, and federal levels that could
likewise benefit from this initiative and be willing to provide sponsorships or other
supporting funds for its implementation. PPA’s Board of Directors is considering
this proposal and will decide on its support soon.
September 19, 2012
This is an application for a National Environmental Education Foundation grant
under their America’s Great Outdoors: Connecting Youth to the Outdoors 2012 program.
It is submitted by an NPO, kidsGROWoutdoors, Inc. in cooperation with another NPO
Get Outdoors Kentucky LLC. Both entities share the NEEF grant program mission
above as seen from the web site
A similar grant was submitted to the National Park Service earlier this year in
cooperation with the River Management Society, which likewise targeted a unique mix
of NPO and NGO organizations, underserved minority and inner city populations, and
emphasis on emerging neuroscience of learning that would create intrinsic motivation
among youth for stewardship of US natural resources.
These two NPOs collaborated with many public and private agencies and groups
at all levels to successfully secure a legislative policy that encouraged Kentucky children
to get outdoors (HCR 29 is in Appendix A). This approach has been pursued in a half
dozen states; however, the challenge has been to implement this ‘Children’s Outdoor
Bill of Rights’ with an effective, actionable, and child-driven imple-mentation mechanism.
We have selected the approach using an Executive Order from the Governor as
Kentucky’s answer to this opportunity (see Appendix B). Thus Kentucky has positioned
itself as a leader in the No Child Left Inside/Richard Louv/Children in Nature movement
gaining momentum across the US.
The Professional Paddlesports Association, comprised of a representative cross
section of 3,500 water-based outfitters operating throughout the nation, has contracted
through its Paddlesports Industry Foundation to engage two NPOs to do a pilot program
and followed by designing a ‘Program-in-a-Box’ for its members to implement on their
waterways and in cooperation with available land management agencies. The
overwhelmingly positive results of this pilot were summarized in the “report card’ (see
Appendix C).
Kentucky is also among the state leaders in completing their Environmental
Literacy Plan, which has been adopted by its Board of Education. This too identifies
Kentucky as an unique opportunity to undertake an ambitious program that implements
the Legislation (HCR 29), its soon-to-be signed Executive Order that establishes a
Nature and Youth Council to develop leadership, reach out and engage local
communities, provide advice to state agencies; and define an action plan that promotes
out-door experiential activities and environmental stewardship, and recommend ways
for both the public and private sectors to better collaborate towards mutual goals.
This grant application proposes a state pilot approach for an eventual
transformation that takes environmental stewardship and students (especially
minorities) to a new level of conservation and envir-onmental engagement. It will open
up America’s iconic landscapes beyond inspiring photographs by Ansel Adams and
Dudley Edmondson to millions of visitors. Among these will be a higher percentage of
Americans of color due to the reduction, if not elimination, of the barriers that for too
many over too long a time were denied access and the enjoyment of connecting with the
best of our natural world. This pilot will be the beginning of achieving this vision in a
very short time due in essence to the public/private partnerships and the power of
market-based incentives to accomplish what was once a limited dream.
Implementation of the Governor’s Executive Order is the purpose of this project
and funding from the NEEF, matched by other public and private partners. However
due to the nature and uncertainty of this new Council mechanism, this grant is focused
on supporting the summer immersion portion of its initial annual program.
With up to 25 Council members, this summer immersion adventure will involve all
of the afore-mentioned Council functions: leadership development; outreach to local
communities and Kentucky kids reasonably close to a publically managed facility;
consulting with state agency management to assure that youth voices are considered in
their planning, policies; and assisting the implementation of Kentucky’s Environmental
Literacy Plan (KELP) on request.
Specific emphasis is given to the first two plan elements; leadership development
and outreach. It is critical to apply the summer immersion program to intensive outdoor
leadership training that prepares Council members for expedition- and experientialbased outdoor adventures scheduled as part of the ensuing outreach element. Topics
include safety and skill development for both water- and land-based trips, how the
Council was organized for addressing its mission, interpersonal leadership skills, a list of
the state agencies and programs that most affect Kentucky’s young people, the vision of
public lands and agency management policies impacting their mission, and the need for
stewardship strategies that can be contributory to each targeted facility.
Outreach targets will be selected by the Council with the advice and
recommendations from adult advisors. An effort will be made to balance priorities
among areas of the state as well as the needs of the specific public lands managers.
Up to seven (7) to ten (10) facilities and supporting communities will be identified each
year following the results from the initial year 2013. To be considered also is the
presence of an outfitter and other infrastructure required for the visit. Training would be
needed for these partners, which is grant eligible as well. Local communities would be
requested to provide lodging, meals and other associated costs for the outreach visit to
their location.
Given that each of the quarterly Council meetings will have a standing agenda
item that describes the experiences from the previous summer, the costs associated
with these gatherings will be excluded from NEEF funding, but will count among the inkind contributions to the overall budget. Administrative and similar program costs will
likewise treated as part of the pilot project.
This proposal meets all three of the NEEF grant project types requirements for
maximizing hands on outdoor opportunities: Education, Recreation, and Environmental
Stewardship. Our mantra includes an emphasis on free play, solitude for reflection, and
FUN: a formula having proven track records of success as noted in a century of
neuroscientific literature.
Innovative partnerships will not only include the Daniel Boone Forest, with whom
contact has preceded a letter of agreement to be executed on grant award, but also
Kentucky State University (the only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in
Kentucky) to assist with student mentors for Council members while in Frankfort, local
outfitters and their state organization Adventure Paddlesports Association in Kentucky
(APAK), Paddlesports Industry Foundation (PIF), CANOE KENTUCKY, local tourism
agencies, state and local parks and recreation organizations, outdoor gear
manufacturers and retailers, schools on the outreach list, Fish & Wildlife, Health
Department, Kentucky Environmental Education Council, and other agencies that
support the Council and its work and vendors of equipment and logistical services. Most
importantly are the Governor’s Office and The Honorable Steve Beshear and his
leadership and commitment to the children of the Commonwealth.
This program, due to its outdoor immersion characteristics, will limit student
participants to the 6-12 grade levels for safety reasons. The program is open to
handicapped and alternative schooled kids. An anticipated hub location is the Daniel
Boone Forest, which also is the largest publically owned land mass in the state.
Cooperative agreements with NPS and other public facilities will be based on that
with the Forest Service. Other contributing partners will provide services and cash to
assure a match of 5 to 1 for this project application. Details of how much is needed to
meet this threshold and how it is used to support eligible costs are described in the
budget below.
Our program is student-driven to the effect that a commitment to a particular
public land manager need is unavailable at this point in the process. However, the
general stewardship, enhanced visitation, and other less hands-on missions are
guaranteed outcomes at a level of success that may well surprise the agency’s most
positive thinkers. Our proven outing plan is described in detail in Appendix D. It also
indicates how the experience is leveraged at subsequent Council sessions. A typical
school pilot trip involving inner city youth is included in this section of the application.
Likewise, an evaluation form used in the pilot is located in Appendix D too. It is
used by both the students and adult partners and mentors at the culmination of each
outing. A sample letter is included that illustrates an unsolicited and insightful student
evaluation. Evaluations are open ended to capture both the output and outcome data
used to measure program effectiveness, scale, and reach.
A significant key to the efficacy of our program is that its long-term sustainability
is assured by its structure and partnerships. It will be included in an update for the 3,500
outfitters who wish to examine how to engage in this program for commercial and/or
philanthropic reasons. With many state institutions of higher learning involved,
continued visitation to nearby public lands is much more likely as well. With involvement
of KSU, the spread and scaling nationally is likewise to foster this trend given that there
are 105 HBCU’s in the US.
Both lead NPOs are experienced grants managers and have a record of
successful application of the federal investments in this arena. A list of suggested
reading indicates the breadth of input utilized in the recent past (see Appendix E).
There also are two bios for the principals of both NPO partners. Both Dr. David Wicks
and Ed Councill are experienced in outdoor-related disciplines, educating youth both
formally and informally, and have taken all the safeguards for risk management that
responsible adult professionals could employ.
Keeping in mind that the grant funds are solely in support of the summer
immersion plan element of the Governor’s advisory Nature and Youth Council in
Kentucky, the project budget for the initial year of the Council is as follows:
Program categories
Match $
Total $
Leadership development (4 sessions))
Trip leader training
Interpersonal skills
Council preparation
Outreach (10 trips/visits
Trip preparation
Safety briefings
Other categories
Expenditure items
Leadership development (4 sessions) $10,000
Training venue
Consultant fees
Match $
Total $
Outreach (10 trips/visits)
The Council members number up to 25 and are appointed by the Governor.
However, they are not the only direct beneficiaries of the program. If each member
identifies and successfully nominates his or her school as an outreach site, with 10
planned, the number of youth participating just in the summer immersion portion of the
pilot would be about 2,500 plus the Council’s 25 or an additional 250 attending these
events for a total of 3,000. Therefore, it is not an insignificant number for an initial one
year state-wide effort.
But the outcomes are likely to be the more significant result of exposing 3,000
young people to a venue like Daniel Boone National Forest, which is ‘home’ to the Red
River Gorge, among other unique and world renowned geographic features of the area.
Stewardship is the most elusive but reachable goal of any investment by public land
managers. Our program is the most likely means by which this can be achieved at a
reasonable cost. While it is too early to measure this outcome in terms of the recent
past pilot project in the Capital Area, a strong consensus is seen among the
neuroscientists whose peers concur that experiential learning coupled with teaching
methodologies involving as many senses as possible are the ‘stickiest’; and they lead to
the intrinsic motivation to take responsibility for one’s education and a more engaged
educational experience. Does this transact into stewardship? Most think so, indeed.
Check out Dudley Edmonson’s Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places for
confirmation; as well as take note that his successes involve African Americans, a
demographic not traditionally seeking outdoor activities or lifestyles. Expanding the
evaluation form to include tracking attitudinal and behav-ioral changes between before
and after this exposure will document the grant’s efficacy as an investment in
Following the NEEF schedule for grant award in November, I see this year
spending the winter in preparation for the “summer immersion”, and getting organized
as a group to do the hard work ahead of them advising the executive branch of state
government to be more kid-friendly in their service to citizens of the Commonwealth.
The March and June meetings will prepare for the outreach plan element, then followed
by an early fall meeting to assess the efforts, make adjustments, recommend any
actions by the executive or legislative branches, and report to the Governor of their year.
Kentucky’s kids have a voice!
Our most important asset is the children we brought into this world to
replace us and maintain the species. Today’s kids are threatened by more and
often dysfunctional distractions than any previous generation.
kids are too fat due to limited physical exercise and poor diet, too far behind the
world in critical thinking, too constrained by neighborhoods devoid of a natural
environment in cities that limit access to Nature, and too affected by competition
from structured sports that characterize relationships as “I win, you lose”, rather
than recognize that all life has aspects that interact, that are interdependent, and
make the world a more healthy and sustainable place.
Our kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. program, based on No Child Left Inside
(NCLI), is that “stone” that addresses these threats and can change the outcome
on so many fronts.
1.) Physical activity aimed at addressing the problem of child
obesity has
to be fun to be effective. Either land- or water-based soft
adventures in natural areas can solve this problem. Because
water covers over two-thirds of the planet, it should receive its
share of access.
2.) Educational environments need a lot of attention to create a
venue for learning that engages both right- and left-brain
approaches with a balance between proficiency testing and
student needs/preferences.
3.) Field trips to wilderness environments are an easy fix and allow
kids to experience nature, and apply their natural curiosity to
exploring it.
4.) Loosely structured teaching that accompanies such trips is the
key to
enhancing environmental awareness, and among the most
disengaged kids creates collaboration in problem-solving and
respect for diversity.
5.) The opportunity for bonding, teamwork and solitude during field
trips goes a long way to develop socially acceptable behaviors
among kids, rather than bullying, substance abuse, depression
or sleep-loss issues.
So, a healthy child is more likely to seek activity and exercise, enhance learning
through interests, develop curiosity about nature and its habitats, and participate
in group learning and collaborative activities that reinforces socially positive
relationships. Also a lessening of bullying, poor academic performance and
suppressed curiosity are positive outcomes.
The Frankfort NCLI Team has willing schools that have access to both
land- and water-based infrastructure and desire to implement a program using
the expedition-based education approach. Its non-profit kidsGrowkentucky, Inc.
is the vehicle to receive grant funds and tax-exempt donations for such initiatives.
A perfect storm in this case is a good thing to tackle the unfinished business our
generation left behind. I want to be the vortex of a collaborative “perfect storm”
that empowers kids to be better stewards of our planet.
Education and Democracy in America—Part One
An Op Ed Piece by Ed Councill of KidsGrowOutdoors, Inc. an NCLI Non-Profit Group
What ever happened to and in America’s schools? We have been the world’s “beacon on
the hill” for two centuries for innovation, creativity, imagination, initiative and individual
freedom, all built on democratic institutions.
Chief among these has been our Jeffersonian education system, which served us so well
during the agricultural and industrial revolutions by bringing education to many people.
What has changed during the past IT generation that has called into question American
leadership in education? Why did China, with its notoriously rote and robotized
approach to education, surpasss us and lead the world’s scoring on PISA tests conducted
recently? Moreover, how did we place near average among developed nations, many of
whom send their students to American educational institutions to study?
How ironic that the US system in recent decades has fallen so dramatically to the point
that many are calling it a failure and predict degraded life-styles and standards of living
for our children compared to what we had. Why has this happened; and how do we fix it?
That’s what caught my attention recently when two articles appeared only days apart in
our local newspaper. The first was an editorial about Frankfort Independent Schools’
proposed “Master Teacher” program that financially rewarded teachers up to $3,600 for
enhanced student test scores. The second was a report about a new approach in Franklin
County elementary schools to teaching math.
While the editorial praised school officials for seeking new solutions to falling student
test scores, it pointed out that there were serious questions about the “sanctity” of such a
metric; and that more money even with “instructional charisma” (whatever that is) might
not be the total answer to mending the current “teaching to the test” system. The absence
of positive parental involvement and support were mentioned as another negative factor
inhibiting better learning.
The latter article suggested that a new approach was promising that combined traditional
lecture teaching with visual, hands-on methods. Pilot efforts in western Kentucky and in
nearby Fayette County are showing similarly encouraging results. Neuroscientists have
consistently found that multisensory learning produces better results.
The ‘take away’ points are that financial (extrinsic) incentives have likewise been studied
extensively and show that results quite often are counterproductive, even reversing results
from those sought. While applying multisensory learning techniques, which engage both
right- and left-brain directed problem solving, have positive track records.
So, while it is encouraging to see local initiatives to strengthen education in Frankfort,
these two efforts are not likely to have a major impact on improving student learning
goals. Besides, what is needed is more than just strengthening the existing system — it
needs a major and comprehensive change in order to turn this problem around.
-2Among the success stories being explored are more time to address students as young
individuals, more time for discussion and critical thinking about context and meaning of
the subject matter, and creating a culture of learning that is useful, relevant, and fun.
Part Two will offer more specific ways that address a comprehensive solution.
Suggested reading and a list of web sites that address these attributes are available from
the author at [email protected], or by phone at 395.1513. Among local resources are
DR Dennis Rader who wrote Learning Redefined and DR Bill Webb, whose leadership
at nearby Henry County’s Center for Educational Options, puts many of these ideas into
practice daily. There are others in our community who are willing to put their talents and
insights to this complex issue. Be one of them and join our Frankfort NCLI Team group.
Our next meeting will include discussing these ideas and “Waiting for Superman” the one
hour documentary, to which we will walk to the Grande for a showing and commentary
afterwards. Come with a “brown bag” meal, order Thai soup and sandwich at 5:30 PM,
or just come for the discussion at 6:30 on January 15, 2011 in the Completely Kentucky
upstairs community meeting room.
About the author
Ed Councill is a 32-year resident of Franklin County whose family owns CANOE
KENTUCKY, a paddlesports adventure and outdoor recreation business. Ed’s
passions as a “river rat” include the region’s waterways, connecting people with
thee Commonwealth’s waterways, and using them to cure our children of ‘nature
deficit disorder’. He is president of the Paddlesports Industry Foundation, formerly
president of the Elkhorn Trust and the Kentucky Attractions Association; currently
serves on the Tourism Commission’s River Development Committee and KSU’s
Stewardship Advisory Committee; is a Climate Change Presenter; and avidly
pursues getting underserved kids in boats’ to provide environmental and eco-heritage outdoor education to a population that will be responsible for future public
policy when they become America’s new majority. He earned a masters degree from
Virginia Tech in Urban & Regional Planning/Water Resource Management; he
came to Kentucky as a planner in the Division of Water. He is currently ‘retired’.
Education and Democracy in America—Part Two
An Op Ed Piece by Ed Councill, KidsGROWKentucky, Inc. (NCLI Team’s non-profit)
Earlier this month, Part One of our poorly performing education system ended with a few
general approaches to improving it and thus the future of students, as well as our Country
in a post-industrial world. Today we explore what a new wave of educators are citing as
specific problems and their solutions.
It is encouraging that the community is becoming more engaged in improving our kids’
educational system. By actively evaluating systemic change options that offer a better
and substantially improved outlook, KidsGROWKentucky, Inc. and our Frankfort NCLI
Team are discovering major barriers to learning. “Teaching to the test” is the most often
identified suspect due to its sole emphasis on left-brain learning, which omits the half of
thinking that has been America’s hallmark and mainstay for so long — innovation,
initiative, imagination, and creativity. Others include tenure, rigid and fully scheduled
classes, an emphasis away from the arts, limited outdoor/field trips, and monotonous
teaching with no fun (see Where Do the Children Play? by Elizabeth Goodenough).
Even more critically, the current ‘cookie cutter’ approach to educating both teachers and
students is fundamentally one of compliance with an established set of standards, centralized curricula, and left-brained teaching that emphasizes auditory sensory learning at the
exclusion of other senses. With this much investment in so-called standards, the system
designed around easily measured left-brain factoids makes it easy for administrators to
implement (it’s easier to measure knowledge/facts, than curiosity, creativity, innovation,
etc.). However, it also corrupts the process to where it is counterproductive for students
themselves (see Learning Redefined by Dennis Rader, an NCLI Team member).
As such, it is characterized as an assembly line (Henry Ford would be quite proud) for
knowledge transfer leaving little to no time for thinking much less discussing and examining the premises of the issue at hand or problem to be solved. The result is that kids are
poorly prepared to apply critical thinking and emotional intelligence to life’s numerous
needs for such skills. Even if their test scores improve, it is real learning that suffers; and
real learning must address the whole child says Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind and
repeated in Marion Brady’s The Road to Hell.
China desperately wants emotionally intelligent students who can innovate, but wonders
why America, a leader in innovation, is pursuing a compliant, bureaucratic, and nondemocratic approach like theirs, which inhibits such an outcome. How strange is that?
So, our system needs to be redemocratized. Start by asking students “if you had a ‘magic
wand’, how would you change your school’s educational approach?” Allow more time
for meaningful conversations that challenge, explore and develop full understanding of
the complex issues increasingly a part of the 21st century and its conceptual-thinking
economy? Provide multisensory teaching that addresses the differences among our noncookie cutter kids’ learning preferences? And, perhaps most of all, establish and promote
-2a learning environment in class, in the field, and at home that makes learning enjoyable
and fun, rather than creating stress by ‘parroting’ knowledge bits on tests to appease and
comply with adults, resulting in more stress and other health issues that are on the rise in
America (check out Denise Pope’s Doing School)? Of course we should do all of the
above… and more, much more.
Specifically, we need to create a culture that celebrates learning. We need teachers that
are intrinsically motivated to treat each student what he or she needs to accomplish his or
her life’s goals, are equipped to fully engage with each as an individual whose potential
needs help to realize, are aware of how to balance right- and left-brained learning, and are
permitted and committed to a flexible curriculum allowed to accomplish the above.
We need to make Frankfort’s educational systems kid-friendly so that their lives can be
personally satisfying, socially contributing, and economically productive in a world that
is changing so rapidly that they require the ability to responsibly respond to its needs,
demands and opportunities. That is called “response – ability”; and it represents the best
insurance policy for us to continue as a true democracy and world leader. Our schools
must achieve more balanced and flexible teaching and testing for student growth, not the
current version of “academic achievement”.
John Dewey said, “Democracy has to be born anew in each generation – and education is
the midwife.” KidsGROWkentucky seeks these general principles and will work towards
their implementation in our schools. Join us by emailing [email protected]
1. Cove Springs Park
2. Skytrail Park
3. Riverview Park
4. Capitol View Park
5. Switzer Covered Bridge
6. Josephine’s Sculpture Park
7. Peaks Mill Swimming Hole
9. Kebler Wildlife Area
10. Salato Wildlife Education Center
11. Happy Jacks Pumpkin Farm
12. Fish Hatchery
13. KY River Campground
14. Knight’s Bridge Public Access
15. Saufley’s Bottom Fishing Hole
16. PenHouse Retreat Center
Natural Resources &Environmental Protection
Fish & Wildlife Resources
Young people/students
KY Conservation Committee
KY Waterways Alliance
Adventure Paddlesports Assn
Assn of Rec, Phys Ed, Dance
Friends of KY Parks
Pediatric Medical Physicians
Chamber of Commerce
Local Government reps
KUPEE reps
Special Needs Children rep
NPO’s related to outdoors
4-H Program
KY Farm Bureau
Group size is a potential problem: the more people, the less “air time” for each.
The issue is whether to invite over two dozen and let attrition reduce the size to a
more effective number (like 12 +/-), or to select among the willing responders
using a similar approach as before (skill set, industry sector, geography and “fire
in the belly”). If the first option is chosen, we can go with the letter we have
drafted. If we want to strive for the balance among the criteria, we need to
determine what gaps in the above criteria exist and so state in the invitation letter
just what we are looking for.
The downsides are either a large group to start the process, or a “filtered” but
smaller one that may discourage applying and/or omit some who would be
fantastic contributors -- a tough choice. I like the “less managed” first option.
Scope is critical to success and must be addressed up front. I applauded the
expansion to grow paddlesports -- a high tide floats all boats thing. The more
narrow focus on a better trade show is a miniscule part of getting there at best, in
my opinion. Therefore, I support this quest for an elusive “Holy Grail” which has
daunted our industry for way too long. It is a reflection of whether one sees
paddlesports mainly through a supply chain prism, or is it more seen as a
connection among those who make and sell the equipment it requires, those who
are involved with addressing the barriers to participating in the sport (like how to
paddle safely, where to paddle, and protecting the water resources on which we
all so deeply depend), and those who facilitate people to connect equipment with
the paddling experience (outfitters). I think an effective approach must address
all three.
Meeting frequency is an issue that can be addressed by the group once put
together rather than anticipate what seems to be a minor difference between
weekly and bi-weekly such events.
Annual face-to-face meetings are a good idea. I think they should be held at a
mutually convenient and neutral place, or combined with an event most or all
would be attending anyway.
Movers versus soldiers is a complex issue. The argument that movers would
most be able to represent the interests of the industry is a good one, but not
without a downside – not all within this industry wants to be united. Some cling to
a status quo that is not very sustainable. On the soldier side, we could get
bogged down in indecision. Maybe the letter could be addressed to the mover,
but suggesting that a representative would be acceptable on the condition that
the interest is truly represented and for which the invitee is accountable. This
compromise makes sense to me.
I appreciate the quality of this debate and look forward to working on the goal of
growing the paddlesports industry. I wholly concur that we do not start with a
plan that includes an affiliation with any group, which preserves our objectivity.
Ed Councill, PIA CEO
for Ky Kids Outdoor Bill of Rights
January 27, 2011
The following have endorsed the above Bill sponsored and soon to be filed by
Senator Julian Carroll:
Frankfort Tourism Commission by unanimous vote and signed resolution
on 01/19/11
KidsGROWkentucky at its 0`/`8/`` board meeting
Harrie Buecker, Franklin County Schools Superintendent by email
Elaine Wilson, KY Adventure Tourism Executive Director by email
Elizabeth Schmitz, Executive Director KY Environmental Education
Council in meeting 01/24/11
Keith Wetherington, Fish & Wildlife by email 01/25/11
Leslie Bishop, Air Quality Planning & Admin by email 01/25/11
Misty Seitz, Program Director The Kings’ Center by email 01/25/11
Kim Cowherd, Community Development University of Kentucky Extension
by email 01/25/11
Paula Alexander, Director Franklin Health Department by email 01/25/11
Stephanie Sims, Principal Good Shepherd School by email 01/25/11
Robin Antenucci, Tourism Sales Director by email 01/25/11
Chris Schimmoeller, Home School Liaison by email 01/25/11
Julia Rome, Owner Leland Farm by email 01/25/11
Irma Johnson, KSU Outreach Director by email 01/25/11
Jennifer Turner, Director of Forestry Environmental Educator by email
Melanie Van Houten, Owner Josephine’s Sculpture Garden by email
Sheila Anderson, Secretary kisGROW by email 01/26/11
Dennis Rader, V-P kidsGROW at our 01/25/11 Board meeting
Youth Organizations in Kentucky
Compiled 10/06/12
Big Brother/Big Sister of BG
Girls, Inc.
Junior Achievement
[email protected]
Junior Statesmen of America
[email protected]
Kentucky 4-H Program
[email protected]
KY Girl Scouts
(859) 293-2621
[email protected]
KY Boy Scouts
[email protected]
Kentucky Child Now
KY Partnership for Families
and Youth
KY YMCA Youth Association
[email protected]
National Youth Leadership
Inspires girls to be strong,
smart, and bold
Uses classroom and afterschool lessons to help young
people understand the
economics of life
Provides civics, education, and
leadership to High school
Develop citizenship,
leadership, responsibility and
life skills
Builds girls of courage,
confidence, and character,
who make the world a better
Provides a program for young
people that builds character,
trains them in the
responsibilities of participating
in citizenship and develops
personal fitness.
Promotes child welfare through
caring adults, safe places, a
healthy start, marketable skills,
and opportunities to serve
Fosters leadership, growth,
and careers through
agricultural education
KPFC’s vision is that all
families raising youth and
children affected by behavioral
health challenges will achieve
their fullest potential.
Develops citizenship and
servant leaders through
experiential learning, service
and activism
Develops youth
National Youth Rights Assn.
National service-Learning
Our Time
Salvation Army Boys and
Girls Clubs of the Blue Grass
Youth On Board
Challenges age discrimination
Youth community problem
Creates a Youth Conservation
Corps for NPS
Teaches youth to build lowincome homes for the poor.
Creates positive communities
where youth are heard
Before He was Hemingway, He was just Ernest: How to Implement a Pilot Project
Before he became one of the greatest American writers, Ernest Hemingway was just
another guy. He was his mother’s son, another soldier, another veteran and another
writer. He eventually became the Hemingway that we all know by writing constantly and
become an expert at his craft. He once confided to F. Scott Fitzgerald:
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the
Hemingway knew he wasn’t perfect and because of that he was never going to produce
a masterpiece in the first draft of a story. Every page he wrote was kind of like a pilot
This is the great thing about pilot projects. It gives you the chance to iron out the kinks
before launching your project in earnest. It also gives a chance to give potential
sponsors a chance to see what you can do.
In this chapter you will see where KidsGROWKentucky has succeeded and made
missteps in implementing a pilot project. The pilot project gave KGK a chance to make
its masterpiece and to get “put the shit in the wastebasket.” Once you have a very
successful pilot project, you have your masterpiece and you are ready to expand.
Before He was Hemingway, He was just Ernest Table of Contents
No Child Left Inside: A Pilot Project
2011 NCLI Pilot Classroom Visit
Franklin County NCLI Pilot Project Team Agenda
KGK Strategic Planning Options 1
Analysis of Youth Programs: Nature, NCLI, etc.
Flexibility vs. Assembly Line Education
It’s Time to Reconnect with our Eco-Heritage
Connecting the Dots: Empowering Caring People for a Better Planet
Holistic, Relevant, Experiential Learning
Mother Nature’s Classroom Makes Learning Relevant and Fun!
Memorandum to Frankfort’s NCLI Team
No Child Left Inside: A PIA Progress Report and Work Program
Pilot NCLI Program Update
We Are All in this Together
August 10, 2010
One way to test the effectiveness of an idea is to create a pilot project that allows
participants to see what is intended, how it is designed, and evaluates the results prior to
a full commitment of resources to it. This is the purpose of the current briefing paper.
Our experiment requires three ingredients: kids, educational institutions and
providers/supporters in the community. Depending on their interests, a representative
from each category at the state level would be appropriate and useful. So, the NCLI idea
is described through these categories as follows:
Kids are the key participants. By the nature of a pilot exercise, it is useful to involve a
cross section of this target population. Therefore, it is suggested that kids come from
public and private schools and home schoolers. Some attention to diversity is important,
particularly demographics, including family structure and economic status, ethnicity, gender, and educational level. No, this is not intended to be a science-based study; but
rather it should allow observations of very different kids and their reaction to the
Educational Institutions are invited to voluntarily participate, including home schoolers.
The program has a K-12 emphasis, actively involving selected participating classrooms,
grade levels, teacher and administration willingness and other factors.
Community Providers/Supporters comprise the third category. Several community
agencies have been contacted and want to at least take the next step in this exploratory
process. Those expressing an interest are: Health, KSU, Extension, Salato, Tourism,
Franklin County public schools, the Kings’ Center, and the United Way. Yet to be
approached are Frankfort Independent schools, other outdoor providers like the Sierra
Club, Walk/Bike Frankfort, and Parks and Recreation.
Next Steps will require each Team participant to identify their area of involvement. Job
One is to select the kids that will be part of the pilot program. At least two classrooms
from each public school system the private schools and the home schoolers will be a
start. Such nominations will be selected by the Team using the criteria indicated above.
Providers, likewise need to identify the services they have to offer based on the
principles noted in Louv’s book, Goodenough’s writings, and the precepts of the NCLI
program as included in the proposed legislation. Thus, field trips that provide the best
opportunities for free play, unstructured exploration and experiential learning will receive
the most support.
Supporters have a more open range of choices: transportation, volunteers,
donated expertise, etc. are most welcomed. Even supplying lunches, water and other
necessities are needed.
Programmatic Approach is to be an incremental one for year one which starts immediately. Most NCLI programs begin with a series of classroom visits that introduce the
ideas for a field trip, the selection of venue that reinforces the curricula, and assesses
the willingness and commitment of the participants and providers. A typical program in
school looks like this:
1st Visit: an introduction of students and teachers to the idea of a field trip
2nd Visit: a pretend trip that demonstrates what the actual one will be like
3rd Visit: actual field trip preparation (a canoe or kayak trip used in NC and
4th Visit: the actual expedition
5th Visit: evaluation and recommendations for future trips, if deemed successful
A Decision to Grow/Continue NCLI
NCLI depends on the experiences during the pilot and the
team’s evaluation of its performance. This information will be used by the NCLI Team to
determine the relative success of the pilot, make any adjustments and to recommend
full-blown programs for the following school year and a plan for implementation.
Example Programs are illustrative of the power of the imagination. One example is of a
North Carolina elementary school class that was visited by a local canoe outfitter on the
French Broad River. She brought a couple canoes into the classroom, gave the students
a short description of the equipment (boat, paddle, and life jacket), mentioned several
important safety tips for a trip, and watched them “paddle” down their river to the Tennessee, the Mississippi to New Orleans. They were truly Olympic ‘want-a-bees’; they did
the trip in less than 30 minutes!
Another idea was to put the class into teams and tell each team to pick a river
and describe their trip. Each one reported back to the class, which provided the agenda
for the next inside ‘virtual’ trip the following week.
As a result of these experiences in the cool season, real excitement and ‘handson’ planning for their warmer outdoor adventure was created. It also ‘warmed up’ the
admin-istration, teachers and parents to the field trip and provided interest in lessons
scheduled for that grade level.
Balance between land- and water-based trips is encouraged. Both have advantages and
disadvantages; but both are a major part of the world we share. Since water covers 68%
of the earth’s surface, water-based programs should be well represented, but not at the
neglect of land adventures.
In Sum,
Sum an NCLI pilot has much to offer from an educational perspective. Its strength is
that it provides learning through the non-visual senses as well, encourages free play and
creative imagination, sends a message that diversity is a virtue in exploring nature, and
that a natural outdoor venue is an effective and collaborative learning environment.
Actions needed
needed are described above by category. Please respond positively to this pilot
program in our community.
2011 NCLI Pilot Classroom Visit Outline
Magic Wand decision: Land or Water Journey*
Virtual Practice Trip Plan
Weather Forecast
Equipment Checklist
Adult Resource Team/roles
Student Teams/roles
Staff Credentials/skills
Practice Trip
Trip Date
Same as above plus:
Specify rafts as water-based vehicles
Lunch by adults
Shorter trip
Same as General plus:
Specify canoes as water-based vehicles
Lunch shared with adults
Medium trip
Same as General plus:
Choice of canoes and/or kayaks
Add meal planning and preparation
Longer distance trip
Special arrangements required concomitant with conditions
*Weather and water level dependent
Franklin County NCLI Pilot Project Team
October 14. 2010
Opening remarks: (see attachments)
Robin Antenucci
Sales & Marketing Director
Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism Com.
Keith Crabtree, Counselor
Kentucky State University
[email protected]
[email protected]
Harrie L. Buecker
Franklin County Schools
Stephanie Sims, Principal
Good Shepherd School
[email protected]
[email protected]
Paul Sims, Principal
Frankfort Christian Academy
Ed Councill
NCLI Program Outreach
[email protected]
[email protected]
Samantha Jeffries, Alt.
4-H Agent UK Extension
Kim Cowherd
County Extension Agent
UK Extension Office
[email protected]
[email protected]
Herb Petitjean, Brownfields
Environmental Protection
[email protected]
[email protected]
Laurie Davison
Program Director
Salato Education Center
[email protected]
Deborah H. Fleming
Health Education Director
Franklin County Health Dept.
Dr. Dennis Rader, Author
Learning Redefined
[email protected]
Judy Mattingly, Alt.
Franklin CO Health Dept.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Zack Hall
Associate Executive Director
Frankfort YMCA
[email protected]
[email protected]
Debbie Bell, Alt.
Franklin CO Health Dept.
[email protected]
Vanessa Brewer, Alt.
Franklin CO Health Dept.
[email protected]
Misty Seitz
Program Director
The Kings’ Center
[email protected]
Irma Johnson, KSU
Service Learning Coordinator
[email protected]
[email protected]
Melissa Wainwright
Frankfort Elementary/Middle School
[email protected]
Review of NCLI examples
The NCLI Movement has been growing as fueled by Louv’s book and the work of
Dr. Goodenough, and these legislative initiatives. Hyperactivity has resulted in several
states and organizations as follows:
Connecticut: endorsed the NCLI Coalition movement and legislation
Illinois: General Assembly passed resolution proclaimed June as NCLI
Month; IDNR provided free activities at state parks
Kansas: established a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights
Massachusetts: state parks create Great Park Pursuit program for free
family adventures July 1 through September
Michigan: Proclaimed NCLI Days, created a Michigan Children’s
Outdoor Bill of Rights by legislative resolution, partnered with a
Detroit canoe livery to establish a local NCLI Coalition chapter
and service center (Heavner Nature Connection)
Wisconsin: joined the NCLI Coalition and is working on a Environmental
Literacy Plan for the state and a state NCLI Coalition
National Audubon Society: endorsed the NCLI legislation and Coalition
National Wildlife Federation: endorsed NCLI bill and established a
“Green Hour” program to encourage parents to provides time for
kids each day
North American Association for Environmental Education: Endorsed the
NCLI legislation and Coalition
Professional Paddlesports Association: endorsed the NCLI Coalition and
legislation, created a “Program in a Box” draft to share among its
international members, assisted a livery in North Carolina to
create an NCLI center, and inspired a similar effort in Kentucky
Sierra Club: endorsed the NCLI legislation and Coalition
This listing is growing too fast to claim being up to date; but rather it
provides a picture of what is happening across the US.
Core principles
The Concept is fairly simple in that it recognizes that the potential learning strengths of
children are maximized under less stressful, unstructured, free play in a natural
environment. Getting kids outdoors and active is the venue for environmental exposure
and awareness, pursuing curiosity about the natural world, its habitat and residents, and
for exploration and discoveries using their creativity and imagination. It allows a better
balance between left and right brain learning and expression. In no way is it a substitute.
Pilot project proposal
Programmatic Approach is to be an incremental one for year one which starts
immediately. Most NCLI programs begin with a series of classroom visits that introduce
the ideas for a field trip, the selection of venue that reinforces the curricula, and
the willingness and commitment of the participants and providers. A typical program in
an elementary school looks like this:
1st Visit: an introduction of students and teachers to the idea of a field trip*
2nd Visit: a pretend trip that demonstrates what the actual one will be like*
3rd Visit: actual field trip preparation (a canoe or kayak trip used in NC and
4th Visit: the actual expedition
5th Visit: evaluation and recommendations for future trips, if deemed successful
* may be combined
Resources required
Our experiment requires three ingredients: kids, educational institutions and
providers/supporters in the community. Depending on their interests, a representative
from each category at the state level would be appropriate and useful. So, the NCLI idea
is described through these categories as follows:
Kids are the key participants. By the nature of a pilot exercise, it is useful to involve a
cross section of this target population. Therefore, it is suggested that kids come from
public and private schools and home schoolers. Some attention to diversity is important,
particularly demographics, including family structure and economic status, ethnicity,
gender, and educational level. No, this is not intended to be a science-based study; but
rather it should allow observations of very different kids and their reaction to the
Educational Institutions are invited to voluntarily participate, including home schoolers.
The program has a K-12 emphasis, actively involving selected participating classrooms,
grade levels, teacher and administration willingness and other factors.
Community Providers/Supporters comprise the third category. Several community
agencies have been contacted and want to at least take the next step in this exploratory
process. Those expressing an interest are: Health, KSU, Extension, Salato, Tourism,
Franklin County public schools, the Kings’ Center, and the United Way. Yet to be
approached are Frankfort Independent schools, other outdoor providers like the Sierra
Club, Walk/Bike Frankfort, and Parks and Recreation..
Schedule : To be decided by each participant. For example, initial classroom visits
can begin in Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb, followed by trip preparation the next month and actual
trips beginning in late March through the end of the spring session/school year.
Every effort will be directed at achieving zero or near zero costs to the
participants. Providers are volunteering their services for this pilot project; and sponsors
will be sought. Sponsors will be picking up any incidental costs.
Concluding remarks:
Next meeting date, time and place/host
Join NCLI Coalition
At least one classroom from each education institution
Draft resolution re Children’s KY Outdoor Bill of Rights
Seek sponsors for 2011
Develop evaluation criteria
Add additional resource people/organizations
Prepare documentation for these initial pilot activities
Targeted at 5:30 PM, no later than 6:00.
Thanks for your leadership in helping
our community
community be a better place for
our children.
If it is to be; it is up to US! Each and
every one.
KGK (kidsGROWkentucky, Inc.) was formed to implement the No Child Left
Inside (NCLI) pilot project in our area last year. The advantages to use an NPO were to
have a vehicle that was able to seek grants, provide tax incentives for donations, provide
legal protections from liability, and be small and nimble to navigate government
bureaucracies, take actions in a timely manner and build a record of success and
consensus. Our “report card” indicates that we did a great job on most fronts, especially
the main one that involved our children (see attached article).
KGK identified specific design elements of the NCLI pilot “get kids outdoors in
Nature” program; it conducted classroom ‘virtual’ trip planning and allowed the students
to design the trip itself; it put 600 kids from six area school systems on field trips; and
followed up by evaluating each step in the process. Few would doubt that the pilot was
successful beyond our expectations.
With schools beginning a new term, it is time to consider where and how we go
from here. A mere continuation of last year is not moving us forward, nor is it
sustainable. All of the expense for these 600 kids was born by CANOE KENTUCKY
which amounts to $12,000 at the school discount. So any strategy is required to address
this cost. Most other costs as well were a donation from me. This too is unsustainable,
and thus, must be addressed. It’s fundraising time!
Two strategic decisions are: either we grow the program by expansion to other
counties; or we focus on the participants and others within our area to expand the
number of students and the breadth of additional program benefits we can offer. It’s a
tough choice. On one hand, we need the political clout of Fayette County schools and
others like Scott, Owen, and Woodford. On the other, we risk being spread too thin to
sustain an increasingly quality program that serves our mission. Which one allows better
fundraising chances is a consideration as well.
Applying a system of evaluation criteria provides an informed and object-driven
method to select between the above strategies. Political clout, fundraising prospects,
staff costs, program costs, and participant availability are a good start (note that equal
weight is given to all):
Strategy Option
Score (1-3)
Participant availability Capital area (CA)
Expanded area
Staff costs
Program costs
Political clout
Fundraising prospects
Totals: CA = 12, EA = 7
The above results point to a strategy of improving what we offer within the Capital
area, leaving open the option of expansion to outlying counties for the coming years.
However, a com-promise approach might be wise: to add Fayette County schools on a
selected basis given the opportunity and reaction expressed by an administrative official
and 4 teachers (email attached).
This option would be a cost-effective way to gain more political clout and slowly expand.
Analysis of Youth Programs: Nature, NCLI, etc.
Youth-based programs are proliferating across the Nation at an increasing pace.
From advocacy addressing social justice issues, nutrition, environmental awareness and
stewardship, sports, physical activity, educational deficiency issues, behavioral
problems, free play, nature deficit disorder, adventure-based outfitting and tourism, these
programs are aimed at and designed for our children.
Often they are sincerely cause-driven. Just as often they are a support group for
agency or industry growth; and thus they are frequently commerce-driven.
Some are marketed to parents based on fear, upward class ascendancy, a
chance at a better institution of higher learning, etc. Others are marketed as causes like
habitat pro-tection and other environmental issues, summer camps for farmers, school
activities, kids with terminal and non-terminal physical, emotional and behavioral
problems, and sports, as examples. Many youth-related programs are discipline-, faithbased, or church-related.
Many are causes without a simple remedy. No Child Left Inside is clearly in this
category. However, even under this “hot” and increasingly popular banner, many groups
are oversimplifications of what is actually required to begin to positively impact the real
problem in a holistic sense, as well as its symptoms.
NCLI has three major facets: free play as espoused by DR Elizabeth
Goodenough and others; reconnecting with nature fostered by Richard Louv and his best
selling Last Child in the Woods; and Learning Redefined by DR Dennis Rader and his
colleagues, which posits that a balanced approach that gives attention to both left- and
right-brain learning is required to equip our children to succeed in accomplishing their
These three interrelate and are optimized within the educational process: at
school and/or at home in a neighborhood, whether urban, rural, suburban or exurban.
Because a third of weekdays are spent in school, it is often an effective base for NCLI
The ‘success’ of these programs is in the eye of the beholder. In other words,
pro-gram success is usually defined by evaluation criteria prior to its
design/implementation. Therefore, if one employs traditional and bureaucratic metrics
for such criteria, the point is missed. Because some programs are created to fill gaps left
by the normal educational processes, new criteria less easily measurable are required.
Measures of a kid’s initiative, creativity, imagination and critical thinking are not easy.
But results like better student retention numbers, attendance, engagement, career
choices, and less bullying, obesity, and other behavioral problems reflect positively on
the program’s success.
A student-centered approach designed to meet multiple issues facing today’s
boys and girls is required. NCLI as outlined above is the best chance to make a real
By Ed Councill, kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. President
In less than 10 years since No Child Left Behind became the newest and most prescriptive way
our Nation established standards for educating US children, Secretary Arne Duncan is urging flexibility
for states in meeting the law’s 2014 performance deadline. As Chicago’s former school superintendent,
he sees the folly in continuing to push an assembly line, cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all, test-centric
system, which 40 states are failing to implement and are seeking waivers.
As a firm believer in changing our current educational system to one that treats our kids as
people, which need a sea change in learning environment and culture, which deserve better than a
“teaching to the test” approach with its emphasis on rote parroting of disjunctive factoids, who increasingly disengage even drop out of school altogether, who see education as not relevant to life as
they see it, and who “do school” by playing the system to get it behind them by doing merely what it
takes, I am encouraged. No wonder we are being out performed by two dozen countries in core
subjects, that is costing us the innovation and competitiveness required to maintain our standing
globally, while creating stressed kids who are thwarted from being fully engaged.
During the past year, I was privileged to get close to six of nine school systems in the Capital
Area through a pilot program that saw 600 students exposed to a brief reprieve from the traditional
classroom. Patterned after No Child Left Inside with added help from Mother Nature and Learning
Redefined, a book about balancing right and left brain learning by Frankfort author Dennis Rader, a
taste of a new and more flexible, student-centered approach was tested. It was a resounding success
as acclaimed by teachers, administrators, parents and students themselves.
More importantly, it allowed me to see each participating system on a “neutral court”, not in a
school venue. The diversity of our local school systems was clearly evidenced. Some were large, some
small, some public, some private, faith-based, and some were home schooled. These differences were
secondary to the responses of their respective students to this experiment. In fact the students shared
similar attributes in the natural settings along Elkhorn and Benson creeks and the Kentucky River where
we covered subjects they expressed interest in, like watersheds and their inhabitants, ecology,
environmental science, history, cultural sociology, and fossils.
It was an epiphany to see these young people engaged with intensity, continuously asking
questions, constantly wanting to see and do more, even to come back again and pursue the next
scavenger hunt, assess water quality by temporarily evaluating its inhabitants, and collecting more
fossils. Teachers were engaged with their students; while parents and school officials assis-ted,
enjoyed the show, and had fun too.
Yet this consistent outcome resulted from diverse learning institutions with different struc-tures
(or none at all) assisted by different adults present. It showed that learning is enhanced in a natural
environment with student-driven topics mixed with collaboration and fun. Tests were not given
dominance as the aim of the experience, but rather the experience took the stage and set the tone for
true learning in a flexible manner.
So Secretary Duncan should be given credit to see flaws in an education system that needs to
address students as the individuals they are with their personal learning modalities and goals to
becoming productive members of society. To change what Senator Kennedy and then President Bush
touted as the most effective change in education took courage. We have a plan that can and will do
better here at home, which will be presented in a follow up soon. Give Kentucky a waiver.
BY Ed Councill, Contributing Columnist
As a grandparent concerned about our environment, especially our waterways, I
am worried that today’s kids are consumed by computer games and sports over
Mother Nature as a way to explore, imagine and dream about their future. After
reading Last Child in the Woods, my worries virtually exploded! What kind of
environmental decisions are tomorrow’s officials (today’s kids) going to make
when they only know artificial parks, structured sports and a virtual computer
world? More importantly, how will such policies affect my grandchildren and
In his Last Child book, Louv makes the case for Nature’s fertile ground for
stimulating imagination, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and
innovation in our young people. These attributes are what have made America
the world’s most prolific generator of innovative new ideas, technologies, and
intellectual properties that have made life more fulfilling throughout the planet.
Unfortunately, the adage “all good things come to an end” has reared its ugly
head with the result that currently the US is 17th among world countries in
educating our kids, particularly in science and engineering. Our educational
system is in dire need of help if this trend is to be reversed. One way to do this is
through partnerships that result in more expedition- and experiential-based
environmental education field trips. In short, we need to get kids in Nature’s
(outdoor) classroom more often; and allow them to explore, dream and play in a
natural, less structured environment.
In a small state capital, this challenge is more manageable and thus more likely
to be achieved. Our resources include Kentucky State University and its
environmental education program and facilities, school systems with new
leadership that offer the opportunity to embrace such partnerships, an
educational policy that encourages us to expose students to the environment as
part of their portfolio, a treasure chest of available natural environments focused
on the Kentucky River and its two county tributaries, Benson and Elkhorn Creeks,
a growing shift in public policy to create opportunities for both land- and waterbased trails throughout our community, and several social service, faith-based,
and private businesses that share a common goal to improve the lot of the next
generation. All we need is to bring these entities into a cooperative alliance that
channels our collective energies towards this achievable goal.
This is a challenge to create such a coalition. The CANOE KENTUCKY family is
in support of this effort, as is the KSU environmental program, its Stewardship
group, the Kings’ Center, the Franklin County High School Key Club, among
many others referred to above. We need to better coordinate these resources,
create a specific plan and proposal, and institutionalize our partnership to assure
funding and com-mitment to implementing the plan. We are investing in our own
children and their future as well as our community. The Frankfort area, including
the communities in KSU’s service region, can uniquely and aggressively pursue a
shared goal of a better prepared future generation that will attract people to our
community that share a similar stewardship of place. Not a bad idea, you think?
Let’s just do it!
A panel on Protectors, Promoters and Proprietors at the Asheville RMS
Symposium April 24-26, 2012
THE PROBLEM is how to empower people and institutions that connect them. These
are families, public land managers, and those who facilitate their interface -- the dots! In
an economy struggling to rebound from recession, increasing gas and energy burdens
on personal and institutional budgets, and a national political debate on a ‘fact-free’ diet
with regard to a healthy planet, the result is a dire need to rethink how we, who are
concerned, can do our jobs in a different and more effective way. Obviously Einstein was
right about the perils of not doing so, and the ‘business as usual’ approach.
THE RESULTS are families whose frustrated children live in their ‘virtual’ worlds, a
similarly struggling cadre of land managers to adequately protect their resources; and a
private sector that is similarly seeing its clients getting whiter, older, and otherwise not
passing on our outdoor passions and pursuits to the incoming generations. “NPS Stats”
show visitation down in this decade by a million; canoeing and rafting have peaked in the
mid-nineties; and US students are falling behind their developing world counterparts in
innovation and educational achievement.
CONNECTING THE DOTS/TEAM BUILDING is how I believe we can reverse this pitiful
prophecy to achieve the goal to use existing resources more creatively. Key “dots” as
ingredients in this team are youth, public land managers, and outfitters through their
institutions, which include schools, RMS (the River Management Society), and PIF (the
Paddlesports Industry Foundation).
YOUTH are currently spending 35+ hours per week during the school year in schools; so
their involvement is a good idea. Louv’s Nature Connection movement has aroused a lot
of interest in families, teachers, and a growing number of outfitters to get kids outside in
Nature for expedition-based learning and play. Paddlesports has pursued its
consultants’ advice to focus their marketing plan on young (18 to 24 year old,
childbearing aged) women to drive them to our members’ businesses. This demographic
is the ‘low hanging fruit’ for growing US participation in paddling, and thus an opportunity
for stewardship.
SCHOOLS, particularly since Environmental Literacy Plans are now being established in
their respective states, are being challenged to do more than that represented by a small
outdoor garden or class-room approach. And they are held to both state and national
environmental education standards, with which they must comply. Field trips are back in.
RMS members are charged with a similar assignment: to grow visitation, increase young
volunteers, and create stewardship within its visiting youth. Your staff is working on this
issue as we speak. A National Wildlife Foundation grant would team up with the PIF’s
outfitting industry to train inner city youth as trip leaders using national public facilities,
and actually get fellow students on the water under their leadership.
PIF has taken a proactive interest in the youth/school connection. As a business survival
model, it makes sense to offer kid-friendly programs. Likewise, marketing to moms
means that we are getting their kids anyway, so why not make the most of it. And large
classroom-sized groups generate the largest profit margin from a labor-intensive cost
and support services perspective. No doubt that client retention and lower ad costs are
keys to profitability as well, both short- and long-term.
SUMMARIZE Due to falling numbers at NPS facilities (about 1 million/year or
0.3%/yr between 2001 and 2010 from “NPS Stats” annual visitation reports), that are
likely to be the norm for many public lands, it would be beneficial to connect with the
outfitting sector as the prime partners in a new business model for both. Participation in
paddlesports is up over this period (2006 – 2009) by 27+%, including canoeing at 1M or
3.6%, kayaking at 2.1M or 23.1%, and rafting 50K or 0.8%, in spite of the economy and
budgetary stresses, as described in the 2009 Outdoor Foundation Participation Report.
There are nearly 400 public school districts in Kentucky alone, which is an impressive
number nationally to be pursuing as partners. And there are 397 NPS facilities to
provide venues for this initiative, at least on a selected pilot basis next year. Adding 50
state departments of fish & wildlife, health, education, environmental literacy, etc., one is
struck by the abundance of dots to be connected.
RECOMMENDATION: a pilot project that tests the efficacy of connecting these dots is
recommended. It is suggested that PIF identify qualified outfitters who are willing to
participate; followed by RMS doing the same with federal land management entities. An
initial pairing of those with the most acute visitation issues with nearby school systems
that are willing to be involved as candidates for selection would be next. Once these
dots are selected, a training program designed by the participants would be conducted
along with measurable outcomes established to define success of the pilot program.
EPILOGUE: As PIF Chair, I can report that two pilot projects last year placed 11,000
students on area waterways in Detroit and Frankfort, Kentucky. One was an after-school
program; the other was conducted as part of the school day. They were so successful
that interest from a major/iconic kid-related corporation has been attracted as a potential
co-sponsor. These kids’ experiences have resulted in creating a stewardship
environment that resulted in hiring one as a trip leader in one outfitter operation, who is
identified as an inner city trainer in the NFWF grant mentioned above.
Furthermore, PIF’s member base includes sufficient numbers to attract at least a dozen
that would be capable of a pilot program alluded to above that are sufficiently near a
federal facility to be feasible partners.
PIF is ready to proceed, but needs consensus among RMS members to move forward. I
want to talk about this idea with those of you interested in helping put something like this
in place in FY 13.
As an informal environmental educator facing graduation/certification in February
2012, I decided to approach our final assignment as an opportunity to merge what I am
actually doing with students in the field (what I call a No Child Left Inside on Steroids)
that combines Nature, neuroscience, and minimally-structured, student-driven learning
that includes FUN, while presenting it in the structured professional educator language of
national and state education standards.
The goal is complicated by my heartfelt bias that real learning is student-driven,
relevant to accomplishing their goals, and successful to the degree that it balances
student learning between right and left brain thinking. In short, I view the ‘800 pound
gorilla’ as being the corrupting influence of teaching to the test on students, their
teachers, and their administrators who feel threatened and use ACT test scores as
affirmation of the system’s competency, efficacy, and accountability. A decade of this
approach has been a failure.
However, I would be limited by resisting these realities to bringing about the very
changes I seek. Critical among these are redefining learning and regain precious ground
lost to Finland, Singapore and Japan and 20-odd other developing and developed
nations; reducing the misguided toxic educational experience and its contributions to
stress, anti-social behaviors, obesity, compliance to silly rules that do not have positive
impacts; and critical thinking that is prerequisite for a more sustainable and competitive
The most popular field trip agenda, which is based on student preferences during
a classroom planning and safety session, offers the following activities, depending on
grade level (most often middle and high school), that support their learning preferences:
Water quality (bio-assessment)
Flora & Fauna (scavenger hunt)
Uses of water in our community past and present (group discussion)
History of man’s habitation of the watershed
Observations re land use impacts
Geology and its impact on habitat
Seasonal fluctuations of weather and flow
Follow up assignments re the math/analysis of bioassay
Follow up classroom activity re biodiversity of riparian plants
Classroom discussions of how the waterway affects development patterns
A class assignment summarizing the threats to the waterway and impacts
Suggested solutions to the above-identified issues
Paddling, swimming, splashing, exploring, conversations, and other FUN.
The above menu usually results in touching on a number of subjects, which are
related in the real world, but separated in US classrooms. This separation provides the
opportunity for students to have favored and disfavored subjects fed by knowledge bits
without context and meaning, and leads to disinterest and boredom, emotional dropout,
and other learning repercussions.
But the science is now in that establishes the natural outdoor venue as an
activator and grower of new neurons and connections heretofore nonexistent or weakly
related to knowledge bits from lectures. It also offers numerous opportunities for
reflection and conversation that activate both the left and right brain hemispheres making
learning much more associated with reality and thus more retentive.
Group inquiries, discussion and exploration likewise put learning on steroids. This
is particularly helpful in creating insight, which is the meaningful context of experience.
Another boost to retentive learning and insights is the opportunity for solitude and reflection, which is merely an internal conversation involving the corpus callosum, the bundle
of nerves that connect the two sides of the brain.
This approach, particularly the principle of being student-driven, makes predetermining the theme and/or activities that provide the field program’s educational content
and its relation to core content unit planning nearly impossible. Therefore, the challenge
is to have a menu to address the topical outcomes generated in class, as well as to
prepare learning activities that can be adjusted to a range of grade levels consistent with
standards and cognitive development guidelines, which can be drawn upon after the
students have defined what topics and activities they wish to pursue.
Teachers, held accountable for student test performance, will find this somewhat
unnerving at best, and unacceptable at worst. Therefore, it may require a degree of “toe
wetting”, as opposed to jumping off the “high diving board” in initiating this program. A
high degree of trust is definitely required to compensate for the risk taken by teachers
and administrators in trying, but even more so, in fully implementing this program and
inte-grating it with the curriculum, thus institutionalizing it as the ‘new normal’.
To date (2012) the program has included 6 of the area’s middle and high schools
and their 600 students, as the field trip part of the program; we have lead workshops in
twenty classrooms plus three sessions presented at professional development
conferences, and have spoken to several social service organizations, and obtained
support from the local health department (whose interest is on student health benefits),
two local school boards, environmental groups, and citizens who were touched by the
need for real reform in education, not just additional accountability, testing with little
concern for curriculum and standards. We have been to Warren and Fayette county
schools to explore their inclusion; and our workshops are requested for the next
conference season (2012).
More work is needed to truly institutionalize this emphasis on nature, neuroscience, and student respect and engagement as people in their education within the
curriculum as a holistic approach to learning. But, it appears we are offering products
that have more promise than anything else even being mentioned, other than financial
incentives, social controls as teambuilding and equality measures, and longer in-school
My assignment for a unit plan is attached for consideration within this context.
By Ed Councill, NCLI Facilitator/KGK CEO
Frankfort’s No Child Left Inside pilot program, which gets kids outside in
Mother Nature’s classrooms, started last September. Although it was to include
at least one class from each of six school systems, 600 kids attended from K–12
in a water and wilderness learning environment since September 2010. “While
some scores from formal numerical evaluations are still out, it looks like we not
only passed; but we were in fact blown away from the subjective comments, and
likely continue the program next fall stated Program Facilitator Ed Councill; “our
mission was indeed accomplished”.
Last year 600 students were engaged from area public high and middle
schools, one faith-based school, an alternative school, the Kings’ Center after
school program, the SEED international student exchange program at Kentucky
State University, and several KSU summer high school outreach camps. The cost
for this program, most of which was donated by locally-owned CANOE
KENTUCKY, exceeded $15,000, and some of which was donated by NCLI
Team’s non-profit kidsGROWkentucky, Inc.
Letters complimenting this experience/adventure have been consistent in
praising the program, its planning, staffing, venue, and the overall impact on
students themselves:
“I also appreciate the way you incorporate an educational aspect into the
trip which only enhances the activity”, noted Shawn Moore, Director of
KSU’s Land Grant Research and Extension Apprenticeship Program
“I gave our experience with SEED students straight A’s”, said Jennifer
Hubbard-Sanchez, Scholarships for Education and Economic
Development Coordinator.
“Many folks asked if we could do it again, maybe a couple times over the
Summer; the kids had a fantastic time as did their parents,” wrote Kelli
Gowan about the home school group trip.
Casie, an alternative high school junior described her colleagues’
experience: “In the span of three very short hours, we studied history and
biology and ecology and sociology and more, all together in the same
place at the same time, with no bells to separate them. And, it was FUN! If
it (NCLI) gives other kids the same opportunity that my classmates and I
had to learn things while in the company of the great outdoors, it is a very
worthwhile program.”
“The kids and I (and Mr. Crowe (Frankfort Independent School
Superintendent)) had a BLAST. Mr. Crowe must have thanked me 5 times
for bringing him”, emailed Kelly Helton, FHS Science teacher.
Such responses reflect a successful pilot for introducing the No Child Left
Inside principles to the Capital Area. “Ours is unique, however, in that these
principles are provided in a learning environment that uses nature to excite and
actually grow neurons, that uses right-brain teaching approaches to engage
students and commit them to a culture of learning, and all with a common thread,
FUN!” explained DR Dennis Rader, KGK Director and author of Learning
“As a private, non-profit corporation, we need donations to continue next
year”, said Councill, of kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. “I am confident our community
will step up in this time of need”, he continued.
[email protected]
For more info, email [email protected] or call 502-395-1513.
Frankfort’s NCLI Team
Ed Councill, Facilitator
Pilot Project Next Steps
October 23, 2010
Following a strong consensus to implement an NCLI pilot involving kids from all facets of
our community educational system, I see the following as the immediate, mid-term and
longer range series of required actions:
1.) Identify classrooms/groups of participating kids.
I hope to involve sufficient elementary, middle and high school classes to
obtain a representative sampling that can be evaluated with some degree
of confidence in our findings. So, please take this into consideration; but,
with five (two public, three faith-based) institutions, and home schooling
we need to keep a reasonable cap on the number of trips that will require
resources. I want to keep our volunteers from burnout so they can remain
involved if such programs are pursued in subsequent years. We need this
accomplished before the end of year holiday break!
2.) Schedule a classroom visit to select and create a virtual “trip” in house.
In concert with the teacher, I need to have a conversation with the class
about their ideas of what type of trip, etc. would meet their interests. The
only restriction is to be safe and otherwise have fun exploring nature. To
be between January
January and March 2011!
3.) Trip planning visit that can also be open to parents and administrators.
This will be an extension of the previous visit, and will use it to make ‘real
world’ plans, including a date and venue/location, needed supplies/equipment, etc. A month before the trip!
4.) Actual field trip during Spring Break through the end of the school year.
The big day arrives; and the magic begins. March, April, May windows!
5.) Pilot performance evaluations.
We will use pre-established criteria to apply to the above experiences
from each respective point of view: kids, school officials, parents and
Sometime after the school year; maybe in summer to prepare for fall!
In the meantime, I will be partnering with people interested in helping me form some kind
of organizational structure to accommodate our needs and those of any sponsors and
granting sources; a work plan to be implemented should the pilot be successful; and
more permanent arrangements with the partnering providers. Items that come to mind
include a website, budget, sponsorships plan, and brochure with contacts.
Any suggestions are always appreciated and most welcomed. Thanks for your
continuing support and cooperation on this project.
No Child Left Inside
A Paddlesports Industry Association Progress
Progress Report and Work Program
The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) has passed a resolution supporting
this movement and assigning its non-profit arm Paddlesports Industry Foundation (PIF)
to prepare a “program-in-a-box” template to encourage its outfitter members to lead the
Nation in expanding NCLI as a way to retain existing families and recruit minority and
other non-traditional populations to try paddling with their children. The purpose of this
brief overview is to let people know of our progress on this project whose deadline is the
end of the coming school year.
Funded with a $10,000 grant, PIF has negotiated with a non-profit tax attorney to create
the legal structure for taking NCLI nationwide, while eliminating repetitious tasks for
participating outfitters. This involves an analysis of a legal structure for affiliates, a how
to deal with the IRS template for tax exemption, donations, and governance/bylaws, etc.
It is listing the initial steps that will assure successful collaborating with educators, other
service providers for land-based activities and infrastructure, a sampling of success
stories from existing NCLI outfitters, a typical budget and work plan for a pilot project, a
marketing strategy and plan, an outline to match curriculum with teacher needs and field
activities, and ideas for partnerships and donors. “Already a team of cooperating river
and paddlesports-related organizations are assisting an advisory group from PIF and
industry to work with this effort,” said Ed Councill PIF Chair and NCLI Facilitator.
Of the more advanced existing outfitter efforts, Kentucky established an NPO to work
with a team of school officials, government environmental, fish and wildlife, tourism, and
related professionals, kids and parents on a pilot program currently in its final evaluation
phase. A major participant is Kentucky State University, an HBCU whose marketing
program is so vigorous in focusing on area high school students before they graduate, as
well as after, that mutual objectives are yielding positive and impressive results. Being in
a state capital is also advantageous in that relevant state cabinet officials are involved
and very supportive.
In Detroit and Ann Arbor NCLI is well supported. Michigan’s Legislature passed a joint
resolution supporting a Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights and honored one of PPA’s
oldest outfitters in Detroit for bringing together area local governments in a NCLI Team.
Ann Arbor hired a professional to run its own livery to push NCLI forward. Fifty-eight
national organizations have joined an NCLI alliance, including several state and local
governments. All tout the benefits of NCLI: it fights obesity, encourages curiosity and
learning, emphasizes collaboration, which reduces bullying, stress, and dysfunctional
competition, and nurtures an appreciation for diversity, nature and cooperation.
If bringing this contagious movement to your community, your schools and especially
your children, seems like an overdue idea, join us at [email protected]
___Pilot NCLI Program Update___
So far four school groups have completed the in-class “virtual” trip planning session.
Two have had the actual experience in nature’s outdoor world; and three more are
scheduled to go soon (Good Shepherd on May 23, Frankfort High on June 1&2, and
home schoolers to be decided later that week). That leaves three remaining to schedule
either the in-class or actual trip this year.
Good Shepherd’s seventh graders and teacher Melissa Pund decided to take part in
science- and human-related exercises and have an equal emphasis on free play to walk
in the wilderness, fish, and do some puddle jumping during their trip. They liked the
scavenger hunt and survival demonstrations as well.
Other related developments include the coming announcement whether the Kentucky
Foundation for Women (KFW) grant is awarded, and the award of a $10,000 grant from
the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) to its NPO the Paddlesports Industry
Foundation (PIF) for encapsulating our Pilot NCLI Program here in Frankfort and
providing a template for PPA Member outfitters to replicate our experience in their
service areas across the country.
The KFW program, Searching for Iris: Empowering Women through Art and Nature,
Nature will
involve a couple canoe trips this season and next spring for young women of childbearing age to address their hesitancy to engaging in the outdoor world using art to deal
with barriers real and perceived to do so. This will open up their families and future
generations to the benefits of a number of nature-based leisure activities, one of which
will be paddling.
The PPA grant will build on a former marketing strategy that also focuses on the same
target population for the same reasons. Women make 65% of the family leisure time
pursuit decisions; so they are key to exposing children to the benefits of wilderness,
among which are creativity, exercise, learning, imagination, solitude/relaxation, and selfesteem. PPA is also hopeful that a new generation of people who want to include
paddlesports as a life-style or “gateway” to other activities like hiking, camping, biking,
and fishing will be a positive result of their investment.
Additional information will be made available as developments occur; or call or email Ed
Councill at 395-1513 or [email protected]
Whether you are a public land manager, a teacher, an environmentalist, a parent, a student, or
an outfitter who depends on a healthy ecosystem for sustaining his passion for hiking, paddling,
camping, bird watching, fishing, hunting, or other family outdoor pursuits, WE ARE ALL IN THIS
TOGETHER, INDEED! Let me tell you why for each of the above people.
Public lands are seeing visitors that are getting older, white, sometimes bring their grandkids,
and whose visitor numbers are flat, if not in decline. This means that tomorrow’s numbers are likely to
be less; and a diminished number of stewards will result in a diminished resource. A ‘death spiral’ for
our National icons.
Teachers see the handwriting on the wall: the extra funds needed for field trips to such lands are
in competition with their job security, with their comfort zone of a safe classroom with air conditioning
and few distractions for student performance, and with safety and liability issues of outdoor risks. Their
students will lose connectivity with nature, get more stressed, and are vulnerable to behavioral issues.
Environmentalists are alarmed by budget constraints affecting resource management, environmental protection, stewardship ethic, student appreciation and understanding of environmental literacy,
and future career choices. Already recent shifts among concerned climate change and cap & trade
advocates signal a dire future for many remaining organisms.
Parents lament their child’s obsession with media; but miss the larger issue of a disconnected
citizenry from nature, and the psychological, physical, and health-related consequences of such a loss.
They see technology as the “Superman” who will assure a future similar to that in which they enjoyed as
Students, many of whom crave to fulfill their dreams for a healthy and contributing life, see such
dreams thwarted by rather than enhanced through education that is relevant, targeted to their learning
styles, devoid of silly cookie-cutter lectures, and served with a substantial dose of nature that fosters
creativity, curiosity, initiative, innovation, and critical thinking active learners. They deserve better!
Outfitters face a similar current client base demographic profile. It too is unsustainable and
bodes negatively for passing along to their children a viable business that provides mass access to
nature and its wonders. They too are sportsman who enjoy land- and water-based outdoor recreation
pursuits and life-styles, which will likewise have falling participation numbers that among many peaked
a decade or more ago.
So what can we do? First, we must face the reality that “the dogmas of the quiet present are
inadequate to the stormy present. We must think anew and act anew.” (A. Lincoln, March, 1861) Let’s
start with realizing our common dilemma, our predictable future, and our ineptitude as isolated players
facing these forces that will defeat our mutual goals. It’s simple: we need to see ourselves as a team
with a common objective, which will, by our cooperative collaboration, change the trajectory that our
course currently pursues. We collectively are the dots we need to connect if we are to succeed.
Therefore, I suggest we use a multi-participant partnership that defines specific roles for all of
the players, and has features of the best attributes of each:
• RESOURCE MANAGERS are facilitators for stewardship of the natural environment
• TEACHERS benefit from field trips that balance content with the wonders of nature
• ENVIRONMENTALISTS guide students to better understand their world connections
• PARENTS will be encouraged to pursue nature family trips to reinforce these benefits
• STUDENTS will be healthier, happier, better balanced by nature, free play and reality
• OUTFITTERS are a cost-effective vehicle to access natural venues through expeditions
Ride the Moose: The Actual Expeditions
(Photo Credit: Bettman/CORBIS)
Teddy Roosevelt, a legendary conservationist and the 26th President of the United
States, believed we have to get people outdoors and experience nature. He liked getting
outdoors; whether it was hunting, fishing or riding a moose. When it comes to being an
outfitter it may well be to your advantage to channel your inner Teddy Roosevelt:
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
If you as an outfitter make a conscious decision to get Millennials and their children into
canoes and kayaks, you are trying to improve your business. This means you are going
to have actual expeditions with kids and adults that are 30 and under. This will improve
your business for the long-term, meaning that your kids will inherit your business. Could
this fail and you don’t succeed? Yes, it is within the realm of possibility. But you have to
try to succeed.
This chapter is about what KidsGROWus has done on actual expeditions. KidsGROWus
has taken the steps to succeed and these expeditions have worked for us. Take these
expeditions and try them out. If they don’t work for you as they are, feel free to change
them. Just remember, sometimes you have to ride the moose.
Ride the Moose Contents
A KGK Leadership Adventure Camp
Three Down — Four to Go!
NCLI in Classroom “Virtual Trip” Agenda
Elkhorn Creek’s Historic Eco-Heritage and Economic Impacts on the Bluegrass
ELKNCLI Trip Scavenger Hunt/Discussion
NCLI Trip Activities List
GSS NCLI Elkhorn Trip Schedule
How to Ride the Moose: A Checklist
A proposal for an on-going leadership camp was outlined for implementation
this fall during Fall Break. “A prototype test of the idea will take place in late July
during a three-day campout with the Kings’ Center on the Kentucky River”. Noted Ed
Councill, kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. CEO. “Our successes with the 600 students
exposed to a half-day excursion during this past school year established the basic
principles that further our mission,” he continued.
The camp will be open to high school students in the Kentucky State
University service area composed of Franklin and four surrounding counties, and will
last a week. A day for student-parent orientation will precede the Monday through
Friday format. This session will confirm the trip route, lodging, menu, student roles,
safety protocols, skills of trip leaders, camp mission and activities that support its
accomplishment, schedule and other items of interest to parents and participants.
Day One (Monday) will include a trip planning session that establishes specific
goals, organizes the participants into rotating role assignments, begins the packing
of equipment, purchases food items per the menu, and includes a rotating ‘buddy
system and team-building exercises that will govern the week’s activities. This day
sets the tone and creates the community that will provide the environment from
which leadership will emerge,” stated DR Dennis Rader, KGK Educational Director.
The next three days comprise the actual journey down the Kentucky River
with overnight stops at public or private campgrounds. Assigned roles for teams will
involve camp set up, cooking, leadership training exercises, and a wrap up session to
reflect and journal the day’s experiences. These will be shared with the group during
a campfire circle before sleep time.
Friday will be packing up, transport back to Frankfort, and a final session that
will include evaluations of the trip, its planning, its staff performance, its equipment,
its food, its safety procedures, and as importantly how well the process of the
community worked in achieving the leadership results and goals. Students will be
picked up at 6 PM, which allows a short time for a brief wrap up in the presence of
In addition to the health benefits of such an expedition, as measured by a
weight loss number for each student, a community service project will be part of the
follow up phase. These will be chosen, designed and implemented by the kids
organized in teams to work in their respective community.
Future camps are planned for holiday breaks during and after the school year
for a continuing leadership program. Camps may be attended by prior students, or
new ones as identified to be potential beneficiaries of the program.
Three Down — Four to Go!
Last week, kidsGROWkentucky, the non-profit working with the
Frankfort No Child Left Inside Team, met with nearly 30 homeschoolers and
their families to plan their adventure in a natural setting. They chose a halfday canoe trip on a local stream for their participation in this pilot program,
which is available at no cost to all local (County-wide) schools. The trip was
planned at a meeting in the Paul Sawyier Library.
“It was a student-driven exercise that resulted in surprisingly diversely
consistent answers to two questions: What are your favorite outdoor
activities? and what are your favorite school subjects?”, explained Ed
Councill, Program Coordinator. “We are trying to match interests, which will
make for a very powerful experience”, he continued.
The adults met while their students were writing their answers. They
were given a brief overview of the program, how it was designed and why,
and assured that safety was ‘Job One’. A list of issues was discussed and the
training/skills needed for the trip were highlighted, including the waterway
chosen and the availability of rafts during the week from the water-based
One mom volunteered to tally the responses. Unanticipated was the
unanimity for tree climbing, swimming, fishing, camping, boating, biking and
hiking. An equal surprise among favorite school subjects was a ranking in
order from a high in math and science, to history, spelling, followed by
reading, writing and Spanish. So, efforts to address as many as possible
during a three to four hour tour would be challenging.
A mother of two mentioned, “If we can do most of the things done as
with the Kings’ Center and the first school last fall, we will have a great day”!
Both groups were exposed to habitat and water quality (science), history of
local waterways and early west-ward expansion from the original 13 colonies,
math required for simple water quality testing, and how to write up the
experiences of the day.
The home schoolers’ trip was scheduled for May 4 at CANOE
KENTUCKY at 1:00 PM, water level and weather permitting. Rafts and
canoes were chosen depending on kids’ ages and number from each family.
And equipment for the various stops along the way was identified and would
be available from Salato, a partner with the program.
A ‘Plan B’ date selected was May 11, a week later.
After two hours of a pretend trip as a chance to discuss how to put on
a life jacket, how to paddle, and how to deal with a safe way for the group to
organize, the chatter of a roomful of eager kids and their parents quieted;
many helped clean the room for the next group. An email “chain” was
established for communications and in case of any need to postpone due to
conditions. The remaining four schools only have 45 days to plan theirs!
Contact Ed Councill @395-1513 or [email protected]
A School Discussion Summary: November/December, 2007
The Elkhorn watershed attracted early Euro-American settlers who came
from the original 13 colonies through the Cumberland Gap or down the Ohio
River. The Bluegrass communities in the Elkhorn watershed soon followed
initial settlements of Boonesborough and Harrodsburg. Among these were
Frankfort, Georgetown, Lexington, and Midway.
These immigrants threatened the nomadic Native American hunters causing
hostility between the two groups. Forts, however, with the threat of the
Indians, led to founding small communities that offered protection as well as
a market for produce and supporting services. Many who came to Kentucky
were escaping financial and legal obligations in the colonies. They were not
large landowners or gentry, but rather semi-skilled small farmers and
adventurers. So these small settlements were located along a waterway that
supplied drinking water, transportation, food and power for mills. Most
frequently these mills provided lumber for homes and other structures, and
meal from corn and other grain crops. Rarer were paper and woolen mills;
however, there was one of each on Elkhorn Creek. Therefore employment
opportunities were in the mills providing the above products, in the fields as
farmers or loggers producing the raw materials, animal husbandry and
blacksmithing to attend the livestock, and tanners and leather workers.
Others lived off the land, or sought adventure through exploring the
newfound ‘West’. Slaves were later part of the mix of people that found their
way to the Bluegrass Region.
The Elkhorn was dotted with over two dozen mill sites, most accompanied by
a dam to create waterpower for its operation. Small communities grew up
around these nodes of activity to provide housing for the workers and
commerce. Soon even an oil refinery was located on the Creek’s North Fork
in Georgetown.
Agriculture soon focused on tobacco and livestock; spring water with its
unique limestone minerals led to bourbon; and the water in the Elkhorn
spawned a highly productive fishery. So much so that two jewelers in
Frankfort invented the reduced geared casting reel which impacted the area
as attractive to sports fishing for the hardy Small Mouth Bass. This grew to
attract so many tourists that two ‘high rise’ hotels were built to
accommodate the visitors, both domestic and international.
Today, Elkhorn’s visitors number 75,000 annually. This represents between
$6 and $9 million additional income to our Region. They fish a top ten bass
fishery in the US, seek out the scenery, picnic, hike, bike or canoe, kayak or
raft its many offerings, most often between Georgetown and Frankfort on its
North Fork and main-stem. Thus, the current uses of Elkhorn’s waters are
the above recreational pursuits plus habitat, irrigation for crops and
livestock, a flourmill, wastewater discharge/disposal, and a valuable water
source for the plants that reduce CO2 we produce.
Our current level of development and environmental mitigation measures
result in stress on the Elkhorn. By EPA standards, many stretches are not
suitable for some of the above uses; some areas are too polluted for
swimming or many aquatic species; and several man-made spills have
resulted in major fish kills. However, the greatest short-term threats to the
Elkhorn are sedimentation due to erosion caused by livestock and high
bacteria levels from inadequate farm practices like storage and disposal of
A number of stream cleanups each year has resulted in a decline, albeit
slight, of litter and garbage from illegal dumps. Educational programs
addressing fugitive litter and disposal into storm sewers has similarly had a
small but positive impact. Unfortunately, the sediment problem is insidious.
Because it is unseen in that the creek is filling up from the bottom up, little
attention is generated towards managing this problem. One exception is the
Scott County $30,000 per year fund that offers farmers $3 of every $4 to
fence their cattle away from the stream’s edges. This has had a positive
impact that when a tipping point is reached regarding the amount of stream
protected, even more measurable results are anticipated.
Now, a new threat is on the horizon -- climate change. Most efforts to date
to protect the Elkhorn have been local and regional in scope. Federal Clean
Water laws are enforced and supplemented by the state. However, this
threat is beyond our country, beyond our continent or our hemisphere: it is
global in scope. Yet there are actions we can take as individuals, as cities
and counties, as a Region, and a Nation.
Locally, all of us need to reduce, re-use, recycle and properly dispose of
waste to reduce the impact on our streams. Our habitat needs protection
from the spills, from mismanaged construction, farming and other human
Education followed by enforcement programs will always be
needed and enhanced.
This visiting lecturer program is a small but
important step to educate the next generation about the need to act
At the state and national levels, better energy programs are essential to
reducing our carbon footprint. It must include alternative sources of energy,
including nuclear, solar, wind, geo-thermal and hydro-electric; it must
include a CO2 emissions cap, better fuel efficiencies, energy conservation
measures and an environmental ethic that transcends old habits and
traditional behavior.
Globally, we first need to lead by example. The $300 billion needed annually
to implement the above program that reduces carbon emissions to below
1970 levels is cheap life insurance for the survival of our planet. It can be
done: we fought two world wars, ended polio, abolished slavery, gave
women equal rights, and are closing the ozone layer hole due to CFC’s. The
last required global cooperation to achieve success. It has been done; we
can do it again with carbon emissions and the climate changes caused by
global warming. Political will is a renewable resource, and we the people can
demand it.
Thanks for your attention. Let’s roll!
By Ed Councill, Contributing Eco-Heritage/Environmental Columnist
“Why not call the Ohio River the Kentucky River East Branch, since it’s
ours?” asked Tyree Childress, a Kings’ Center 11-year old during a recent trip
to Cincinnati. Along with seven other staff, kids and neighbors, CANOE
KENTUCKY hosted a two-day adventure that included Paddle-FEST (a
celebration of the Ohio River) and the Underground Railroad Museum
Freedom Center.
Inspired by Dudley Edmonson’s Black and Brown Faces in America’s
Wild Places, a photo-journalist’s story of African Americans making the
environment a part of their everyday lives, I am on a mission to make
paddlesports a way to establish a connection with nature for inner city kids.
I have taken the Kings’ Center water adventure program template to other
paddling companies throughout the US to introduce this underserved
population to Mother Nature. Hopefully, when they become adults with
responsible positions on environmental issues, they will be better prepared to
protect our world for our grandchildren from such threats as climate change
and water resource impacts, among others.
Cincinnati’s PADDLEFEST is a leading proponent of this effort via its
Kids’ Ex-Stream Expo portion of the annual Ohio River event. This year
nearly 1,000 kids were immersed in numerous environmental demonstrations
and interactive programs. Of course it included canoes, rafts and three war
canoes like the one shown on Lake Como in the Coney Island Amusement
Park. The combination of fun and learning makes messages stick more so
than mere classroom experiences.
Our planned overnight camping was interrupted by severe storm
warnings; so we had to get a motel (with a pool, of course) to rest up for the
Saturday 8.2-mile trip to downtown Cincinnati. A platoon of marines and the
event’s Grand Marshall paddling icon Bob Morgan filled one war canoe;
cancer survivors captained by fellow canoe rental friend Jim Thaxton filled
another; and our Kings’ Center entourage plus a few NKU students and other
volunteers were in my boat. An estimated 2,000 people paddled their way
down the Ohio, a 30% increase over 2007. As usual, the US Coast Guard
closed the river to motorized traffic until noon for this part of the event,
except for safety boats to watch over the parade. “The river was wall-to-wall
color,” exclaimed Misty Seitz, Program Director for the Kings’ Center.
Our group decided that the opportunity to visit the Underground
Railroad Museum was too much to resist. So we loaded the boats, packed up
the paddles and jackets, and made our way to this architecturally significant
facility near the Paul Brown Stadium downtown. Our tour guide left no
question unanswered; and did so in a way that clearly connected with the
varied people in our group.
Tyree had asked me about slavery during a previous outdoor adventure. This
was an opportunity for him to hear far more than even my passionate
interest in the subject could offer. We learned about Frederick Douglass,
John Parker, John Rankin, Nat Turner, Little Africa, the Black Codes, Dred
Scott, an actual slave warehouse reconstructed from its former site in
Maysville, the slave-based economy that gave rise to America’s prominence
in the world though a relatively young and sparsely populated nation, and
the impact of African Americans on our culture through their music, songs,
but mostly their strength from enduring such a difficult period in our history.
Although it was mentioned that slavery affected all other races, even
European Americans, it was the Center’s decision to focus on slavery as
experienced by African Americans. Pointed out also was that slavery still
exists today in many places in the world. Economic conditions that wrest
control of personal liberty and choice equate to a modern version of slavery.
At day’s end I challenged the kids to express their appreciation for this
adventure by writing a one-page description of the trip, their favorite
experience, and what they learned. They assured me that this was a
reasonable request and agreed to give their work to Miss Seitz by week’s
end. Our group is already planning another canoe/camping trip in July.
Logan Street’s ‘Grandma Liz’ will go with us, as she did in Cincinnati. See
you on the water!
The writer is a founding owner of CANOE KENTUCKY based in Peaks Mill on
beautiful Elkhorn Creek eight miles north of Frankfort on Rte. 1262. The
business is co-owned by wife Bess and is operated by daughter Allison and
husband Nathan Depenbrock. Contact them at (502) 227-4492, 888CANOEKY, or at for inquiries or reservations.
By Ed Councill, Contributing Columnist
As the proverbial ‘canary-in-the-cage’, Elkhorn Creek has a history that
explains how modern man came to our area, who was he, what was the
Creek’s role in these early years, and how have we been affected by this
waterway. More importantly, why is it so necessary to protect it?
Early European-Americans came from the original 13 colonies to Kentucky
through either the Ohio River or the Cumberland Gap. Located on our
northern and southern borders respectively, these routes assured Kentucky’s
role as the initial Gateway to the West. As such, it wasn’t long before these
immigrants, whose first settlements were Boonesborough and Harrodsburg,
discovered the Bluegrass Region and the waterway at its heart, the Elkhorn
along which they founded Lexington, Midway, Georgetown, and Frankfort.
Elkhorn waters powered two-dozen mills, most using dams and wheels to
drive the machinery to produce meal, lumber, wool and paper. Many were
small settlements for workers on nearby farms, loggers, tanners, blacksmiths
and other frontier jobs. Even an oil refinery was established on the North
Fork in Georgetown.
Agriculture included livestock and tobacco; limestone spring water lead to
bourbon; and the Creek itself spawned a highly productive Small Mouth Bass
fishery. Soon two Frankfort jewelers invented the reduced gear, casting reel
which attracted sport fishermen from near and far. Two ‘high rise’ hotels
were built to accommodate both foreign and domestic visitors.
Today, the Elkhorn attracts 75,000 people annually. This results in $6 to $9
million for the local economy according to the Tourism Cabinet. These people
fish a top ten US bass stream, enjoy its outstanding scenery, picnic, hike,
bike or canoe, kayak or raft its varied whitewater offerings, mostly between
Georgetown and Frankfort. The principal uses of Elkhorn’s waters are
recreation, habitat for land- and water-based flora and fauna, livestock and
crop irrigation, the longest continuously operating flour mill west of the
Alleghenies, wastewater discharge/disposal, and an invaluable view shed and
water source for plants that reduce C02, thus playing an important
environmental role.
Current levels of development and environmental mitigation measures are
creating increasing stress on this waterway causing limited capacity to
accommodate some of the above roles. The greatest short-term threats to
the Creek are sedimentation due to erosion, and high bacteria levels from
inadequate farm practices like storage and disposal of horse muck.
A new and long-term threat is beginning to likewise stress the Elkhorn -climate change caused by rising levels of man-made C02 gases in our
atmosphere. Already the impacts of frequent and serious droughts, more
intense rainfall events, warmer weather and other subtle changes have been
Locally we can reduce, reuse, recycle and properly dispose of waste. We can
better manage human activities, strengthen our laws and land use decisions,
and pursue intensive environmental education programs. State and
nationally, we can reduce carbon emissions, including an array of energy
options from solar and wind to geo-thermal and hydroelectric, mandate fuel
efficiencies and conservation measures, and foster an environmental ethic
that transcends old habits and behaviors.
Globally, America needs to lead by example. Verifiable global treaties that
assist developing countries to achieve pre-1970 C02 levels in concert with
the advanced economies are critical.
Further decline in the Elkhorn’s attractiveness and functions will have a
negative impact on the many who depend on it for food, fiber and quality of
life. It would be also a significant loss to the Bluegrass Region’s worldrenowned array of assets that make us so unique and so fortunate to live
NCLI In-Classroom “Virtual Trip”
OBJECTIVES: science, math, art, language, history,
VENUE: Elkhorn Creek at Knight’s Bridge
Students: interest groups, roles, special needs
Teachers: ditto plus skills
Parents: ditto plus skills
Administrators: role/skill
KGK Staff: roles, skills
SAFETY: on water, land rules, adult assistance, signals,
threes”, double buddy system, signals, water protocols,
Water level
ORGANIZATION: spacing of adult resources, lead role,
sweep role, distances, 3 - blasts
GAMES: science (fossils, geology, water quality), art
(plants, animals), history (Border state, mills, western
gateway), writing (Whitman’s “Blades of Grass”, Beloved)
ASSIGNMENTS/FOLLOW UP: Team reports, evaluations,
suggested improvements, recommendations for future trips
NCLI Trip Scavenger Hunt/Discussion
Find and identify three trees by their leaves, bark, or seeds
Name 4 roles or functions performed by Elkhorn Creek (more points for each
above 4)
Name a famous artist or writer who described the Elkhorn (added points for
more than 1)
Name parts of Bluegrass counties that make up the Elkhorn watershed
What Elkhorn inhabitant made the Creek so famous?
What institutions were first formed beyond the original 13 colonies on
Elkhorn Creek?
Identify the two most frequently found rocks in the Bluegrass?
Sketch two poisonous plants found nearby
Name three nocturnal inhabitants of Elkhorn Creek
Identify four birds by their sound/calls
What is the worst threat to Elkhorn Creek?
Name and explain some potential signs of climate change in the Bluegrass (2
points each)
Find a fossil and tell about its meaning
Name three fish frequently caught in Elkhorn Creek
1. work as a team; so cooperate, collaborate, and discuss your answers
and items
2. an adult will be assigned to each team to help explore for the answers
3. choose any 10 to answer of the above 14 challenges
4. time is limited to 15 minutes; so stop at the whistle
5. free time for play will be available after the exercises
6. so organize by choosing a leader, a secretary, and a timekeeper
7. extra credit (from 1 to 10 points) is to be awarded for teamwork
Land-based (plants, trees, rocks, fossils, etc.)
Water-based (critters, plants, habitat, etc.)
Habitat (human and non-)
Physical features (geology, topography,
structure, etc.)
History of Elkhorn and man
Water quality assessments exercise (demo/chart)
Fossil story (demo/riddle)
Water’s role in the Bluegrass (discussion/Q&A)
Free play
Benefits of this experience
GSS NCLI Elkhorn Trip
-- arrive for safety video/talk
10:00 -- launch at Knight’s Bridge
11:00 -- stop at High Banks for Scavenger
11:30 -- depart for The Claw
12:00 -- arrive for water quality exercise and
12:30 -- depart for Peals Mill
1:00 -- arrive at CANOE KENTUCKY for
return trip
Time for a Breather: Follow-ups and Evaluations
Just like this photograph shows, you have climbed the mountain. You have taken a
thought about reaching out to Millennials and kids and you have implemented a pilot
project and conducted an actual expedition. I have to say congratulations because the
hardest part is done.
After resting at the top for awhile though, you do have to come back down and start
working a little bit again. You may think that you conducted a really excellent pilot
project. But how do you really know? You need to ask the women, kids or Millennials
that you took out on the expedition. Ask what they like and what they could live without.
You need to evaluate your program to work out the kinks and become more successful.
This chapter has a few resources that KidsGROWKentucky has created that have
helped them be able to follow up their expeditions and evaluate their success and
failure. You may find you need different criteria to measure your success, but at least
this will give you a few ideas.
It’s Time for a Breather Table of Contents
First KGK/NCLI Student Creativity Workshop Delivered
An NCLI Trip Evaluation Form
Exams Are Over: Waiting on Grades
KidsGROWkentucky delivered its first student workshop on Creativity as a
conversation between the right and left hemispheres of the brain at Henry
County’s Center for Education Options. Twenty-one high school level participants
and their teachers spent two hours making ‘sense’ from pictures, riddles, and
metaphors presented by KGK’s Dr. Dennis Rader assisted by Ed Councill on
Four groups of students tackled the ‘problems’ exercising their corpus
callosum, the bridge of nerves that connect the two brain halves, and testing their
individual and team interaction skills. “Although these exercises were designed
for college aged students”, explained Rader; “these high schoolers were very
adept, which showed a high level of brain activity between lobes explaining their
high level of creativity”.
“It was fun”, said Dr. Bill Webb, CEO Principle; “they were energized with
the program and engaged with the small group format. I want them (Rader and
Councill) to come back soon”, he continued.
A follow up evaluation addressed both the effectiveness of the session and that
of the kids’ group skills.
This was the fourth visit from the KGK organization, which is promoting
changes within the K-12 public education system to balance development and
use of both left and right brain teaching approaches to strengthen knowledge with
initiative, creativity, innovation, and big picture divergent thinking that will be
highly sought after skills in a 21st century world. The initial sessions were part of
the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Pilot Project. “Because Henry County is within
Kentucky State University’s Stewardship Program ‘Service Area’, their
participation and that of nearby Anderson County were included”, said Councill,
KGK and NCLI Team founder. “these kids canoed with us last fall and had their
right/left brains exposed to the ‘magic’ of a natural environment”, he concluded.
Getting students out of the classrooms and actively participating in a
natural or wilderness setting has been studied recently by educator/researcher
DR Elizabeth Goodenough, Daniel Pink, Denise Pope and others and reported by
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from
Nature--Deficit Disor
der. Their consensus is that sustained understanding
through curiosity and group project-based learning is a most positive result,
exceeding substantially the more temporary information memorization of
classroom lectures followed by an overemphasis by bureaucrats on ‘achievement
tests’. As such, these tests focus on the left brain’s abilities to recognize
numbers, logic, and shapes, while ignoring the more difficult metrics for
innovation, engagement, curiosity, initiation, and creativity altogether.
“We hope that area schools will allow us access to bringing this right brain
workshop to their K-12 school classrooms in order to balance their kids’
educational experience”, Rader offered. “Our reception at recent meetings
involving science and environmental education teachers has been encouragingly
positive”, he stated; “and we are beginning to schedule these workshops more
Schools within the study/service area are offered initial workshops on the
basis of ability to pay, due to the end of the fiscal and school year being within the
next month. Meanwhile KGK has begun to inform these systems of their mission
at conferences, conventions, and the many meetings which are used as
professional development sessions for teachers and administrators. A display
was recently done for a show and festival; a sculpture “God Bless the Grass that
Grows through Cement” is nearing completion; a grant for funding workshops for
young women of child-bearing age that uses nature combined with art as a
powerful empowerment tool has been submitted; and a Speakers’ Bureau
established for community, civic, and professional organization meetings.
For additional information call 502.395.1513 or email
[email protected]
___An NCLI Trip Evaluation Form__
Evaluations* are used to improve the event/program by pointing out areas to be changed
or strengthened or eliminated altogether. It is to include the primary teachers, students,
parents, administrators, and provider staff and NCLI Team and KGK members. Your
considered comments are most appreciated and will be held in confidence as requested.
PART I: Planning
Was the trip planned sufficiently (were you comfortably ready)?
Were safety measures adequate?
Was there opportunity for student student-driven activities and focus?
Was sufficient attention given to core content requirements?
Did the session generate positive student engagement?
PART II: Implementation
Did the schedule meet the needs of the trip activities?
Were the facilities adequate for meeting group needs?
Was there sufficient and professional provider staff presence?
Were there any problems either not dealt with or not dealt with adequately?
Was there a good learning environment?
Did the experience relate to the agreed upon agenda?
Was time organized in a manner to balance specific activities and free play?
Would other suggestions improve the experience; if so, what?
PART III: Follow up/through
What degree of follow through was available following this NCLI trip?
Were there opportunities to cross educate among STEM and other content?
What changes would allow better attention to this phase?
Would student and/or teacher right brain learning workshops be helpful?
PART IV: Evaluation
Is an evaluation a good way to make the experience better?
Was it more burdensome than necessary; if so how?
What changes would you recommend?
With suggested improvements, would you want your students to go again?
Assess the benefits among students, teachers, administrators, and parents?
Will you urge a continuation of NCLI next year?
PART IV: Open comments
* Add a 1 to 10 number (with 10 as the highest praise) for each applicable item above.
By Ed Councill, NCLI Facilitator/KGK CEO (07/07/11)
YEA, NCLI TEAM! We have just completed our Frankfort No Child Left Inside
pilot program started last September. Although some grades from the evaluations are
still out, it looks like we at least passed and will continue the program next fall with new
data about its effectiveness in meeting our goals. So, good news is always a pleasure to
Last year we engaged over 600 students from the area’s public high schools, one
faith-based school, an alternative school, the Kings’ Center after school program, the
SEED international student exchange program at Kentucky State University, and four
KSU summer high school outreach camps. The cost for this program, most of which was
donated by locally-owned CANOE KENTUCKY, exceeded $20,000, some of which was
shared with NCLI Team’s non-profit kidsGROWkentucky, Inc.
Letters complimenting this experience/adventure have been consistent in
praising the program, its planning, staffing, venue, and the overall impact on students
“I also appreciate the way you incorporate an educational aspect into the trip
which only enhances the activity”, noted Shawn Moore, Director of KSU’s Land
Grant Research and Extension Apprenticeship Program (REAP).
“I gave our experience with SEED students straight A’s”, said Jennifer HubbardSanchez, Scholarships for Education and Economic Development Coordinator.
“Many folks asked if we could do it again, maybe a couple times over the
summer; the kids had a fantastic time as did their parents,” Kelli Gowan wrote
about the home school group trip.
Casie, an alternative high school junior described her colleagues’ experience: “In
the span of three very short hours, we studied history and biology and ecology
and sociology and more, all together in the same place at the same time, with no
bells to separate them. And, it was FUN! If it (NCLI) gives other kids the same
opportunity that my classmates and I had to learn things while in the company of
the great outdoors, it is a very worthwhile program.”
“The kids and I (and Mr. Crowe (Frankfort Independent School Superintendent))
had a BLAST. Mr. Crowe must have thanked me 5 times for bringing him”,
emailed Kelly Helton, FHS Science teacher.
Needless to say, these responses are deep reflections of a successful pilot for
bringing the No Child Left Inside principles to the Capital Area. Ours is unique, however,
in that these principles are provided in a learning environment that uses nature to excite
and actually grow neurons, that uses right-brain teaching approaches to engage
students and commit them to a culture of learning, and all with a common thread, FUN!
For more info, call 502-395-1513, or email to [email protected]
The Art of Asking for Money: How to Attract and Get Sponsors
My earliest experience with asking for money was when I was about ten years old and
went to a political event. My dad took me to a hot dog dinner. All the local candidates
were there seeking election. We ate and talked and listened to the stump speeches.
The sheriff talked about lowering crime, the mayor talked about strengthening the local
economy. After all the speeches were done, the political boss of the party said “now it is
time to pass the hat to help get these fine folks elected.” Then he took off his hat and
passed it around and people began opening their wallets and quickly writing checks.
Asking for sponsorship is not much different. By watching that political boss and being
involved with politics since then, I have learned 7 key things about asking for money:
You have to have a great product
If you don’t have a great product, fake it until you become it
You have to have the guts to ask
Don’t take no for an answer, even a dollar can help
Make people want to give you money
If it turns out there is a definitive no, no problem, ask someone else.
Get a big hat.
So, you may be asking the question, there has to be some kind of difference between
asking people for money to elect a candidate and asking a business to sponsor your
nonprofit organization. Sure, there are 2 differences:
1) You are not asking for dollars…you are asking for thousands of dollars
2) You are not passing a hat
That’s it. Those two things make the difference. The candidate in a political election is
just as much a product as what you will be offering through your business or nonprofit
In politics, the product is the politician, whether for a local county seat or the president of
the United States. You are selling a person and a party’s platform. You are selling that
product in politics. When asking for sponsorships from companies for attracting
Millennials and kids, you are selling your brand and your product. You have to follow
those six steps mentioned above for encouraging confidence for sponsorship.
My dad always told me that you have to ask. The worse that a person or company can
say is no. If they say no, then move on to your next target. Someone somewhere will
believe in your product. You just have to find the right one. So, read this chapter, then
go and ask for some money.
The Art of Asking for Money Table of Contents
Ideas RE A KidsGROWus Proposal
KidsGROWKentucky Donor/Sponsor Program
Making a Difference in Kids’ Futures
Ideas RE A KidsGROWus Proposal
• to create a network of getting kids outdoors programs
• to assure a future customer base for PPA outfitters
• to enhance support for national outdoor treasures
• to intervene and reverse NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder)
• to establish outdoor learning as part of school culture
• to create a culture environmental stewardship
• to foster learning environments that engages students
• to encourage curiosity, innovation, collaboration, leadership
• to use PPA’s member outfitters as a vehicle to access nature
• to collaborate with outdoor destination managers
• to pursue an internet referral system to attract kid’s families
KidsGROWkentucky Donor/Sponsor Program
THE PROBLEM is our children are over weight, are ill prepared to achieve their
potential, are disconnected from nature, are disengaged from active learning, and are
lacking collaboration and teamwork resulting in bullying, stress-related illnesses,
antisocial behaviors and dropping out of school altogether. No wonder the US ranks so
low worldwide in core subjects and innovation.
AMONG THE OPTIONS being pursued are: 1) top-down programs that mirror Henry
Ford’s industrial revolution approach resulting in a cookie-cutter, mass produced
curricula standards and testing; 2) ‘variants’ like magnet and charter schools which have
not shown sufficient/sustainable improvements in performance scores; and 3)
accountability for teachers based on student tests for performance, which provide
financial rewards for high scores to teachers and their schools. None of the above is
moving the needle in a positive direction, even when test numbers exceed national
norms (the Atlanta test scores manipulation is a corrupting result); therefore they are not
LEARNING SCIENCES are suggesting a departure from these options by 1) providing
different learning approaches for different learners, or treating students as unique human
beings rather than treating all the same; 2) training teachers and students the
neuroscience of teaching, room design, and other learning environments; and 3) greater
use of collaborative learning through group/team projects, which counters the
dysfunctional competition of pitting individuals against each other, and thus allows
students to appreciate and capitalize on differences among team members. A few
notable scholars are coming to recommend this approach for its transformational
NEW GOALS are necessary to fully understand and implement this alternative to the
status quo. Rather than evaluating student performance and infer that of teachers based
on core content tests and using standards to rank changes in system improvements, an
additional evaluation is required that address the goals of the students themselves.
Along with identifying measures for a student’s interest/engagement, initiative, creativity,
curiosity, innovation, and leadership, the true test of a successful educational program is
whether it prepares a student for his or her goals in life and his or her readiness to
accomplish them.
KGK’S APPROACH identifies three steps that offer positive results: 1) right brain
workshops to engage students and teachers in the necessary balance between the lobes
of the brain available for learning and problem-solving, and a neurogenetic classroom
venue in which to establish a culture of learning; 2) a field trip into the wilderness to
reconnect participants to the world we share that actually stimulates neuron growth; and
3) a series of collaborative projects that combine both the stimulative and reflective
experiences of the outdoors with required core content.
A PROPOSAL that implements the above is inexpensive, has been tested by 600
local students from six school systems last year, and was designed and
implemented by local people whose talent, skills and experience are nationally
recognized. In short, corporate or individual donor/investors may select a class
within a participating school, a whole school within a system, or may choose to
sustain the approach with an endowment that is sufficient to maintain a small and
efficient staff to continue to spread the program to all students in our community.
Already, plans are to take this effort nationally through a non-profit system of
chapters associated with the 3,000 existing outfitters throughout the US.
COSTS vary but are based on a per student figure of $30, which includes the
workshops, the field trips, and the follow up group projects assigned to
participants. The basic cost is $750 per class of 25 students no matter the grade
level or content requirements; and it is kept low due to a partnership with CANOE
KENTUCKY, a local Kentucky outfitter, who subsidizes the field trip by 50%. You
can make a difference through your generous gift. So call kidsGROWkentucky at
502-395-1513; or email [email protected]
By Ed Councill, kidsGROWkentucky Chair/CEO
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to an organization that is making a difference in so many ways that
benefit our children. In two years KGK has coalesced 50 area educators, parents, students,
professional service providers and citizens to plan, design, and test a new approach to real
learning that closes the gap between knowledge acquisition and how it can be effectively used -working as a team to solve problems, create and build a new product, innovate with new ideas,
or even explore an unknown frontier.
We are beginning to solve school-related problems that are limiting America’s future.
Our students are too fat, have too little innovation, creativity, problem-solving and critical
thinking skills, are environmentally illiterate, lack collaborative intelligence, and suffer schoolinduced stress illnesses. The KGK program improves learning by adding frequent student-,
collaborative project-, free play-, and interest-driven learning in wilderness venues that mixes
individual learning styles with reflection and fun!
Progress in these areas is based on a multi-pronged strategy: first, Community
Conversations to create public awareness of the problems and solutions aimed at our
educational system; second, a series of workshops that describe how a balance between right
and left brain thinking is so critical for active learning; and third, a series of outdoor experiences
that builds a culture of learning that improves personal goal achievement, workforce
competitiveness, and community development.
We also added two new objectives for our group. One was to expand the idea of treating
students as important voices and sources of ideas for decisions and policy that affect them. And
two, to show what we were doing that works to others who want to solve the same problems in
their area.
To expand student engagement, KGK worked on two important public policies: the
Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan ( KELP) adopted by the state Board of Education last
winter; and HCR 29, which was signed into law on May 3 this spring. Both move the idea of
using nature to address problems cited above. This is a major departure from traditional
classroom teaching; and has a proven record of success where it has been implemented.
As one of the first states to have both of these public policy tools, Kentucky has the
opportunity to significantly turn around student learning and workforce competitiveness. But
there is still work to do to make this happen.
First, we need public support for KELP. This will help local school districts put this policy
in the schools. As part of the new changes, teacher workshops will prepare classrooms with the
basic skills that will create a seamless transition to the new regimen, including the experiential
learning field trips urged for all students. Second, state agencies will be directed to assist with
implementing HCR 29’s policy to encourage Kentucky kids to get outside in a natural
environment. This action is envisioned to be a result of a Governor’s Executive Order, which will
establish an implementation oversight council comprised of a number of students from across
the Commonwealth to work with relevant state agencies to assure that the voices of Kentucky’s
youth are heard and considered in their plans and policies.
You can’t ALWAYS make it up as you go along: Setting the plans, goals and objectives
In the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first of the Indiana Jones series, there is a
famous quote that I love. Indy and the female lead, Marion, are hiding once again from
the Nazis. Marion turns to Indy and says “Do you have a plan?” Indy quips, “No, I’m just
making it up as I go along.” Believe me, there is a time and a place for that. When
working with kids that is definitely something you need to do. But when it comes to
setting plans, goals and objectives you are asking for trouble.
You have to, I can’t emphasize this enough, HAVE TO, have some kind of plan when it
comes to setting up for plans, goals and objectives in implementing your marketing
strategy for getting Millennials and kids to buy your product. We can see through BS like
no other group of people. We have trust issues and we are always on the lookout for
that stuff. You have to earn our trust; it won’t be given to you easily.
Take a look at this chapter to see what KidsGROWKentucky has done in terms of
setting up goals, plans and objectives. It wasn’t made up on the spot. It was a long and
thought out process with no BS. Here we go.
You Can’t ALWAYS Make it Up Table of Contents
NCLI/KGK Program Initiatives
Implementing Kentucky’s Children Outdoors Bill of Rights: Challenge or
Arts Meets Activism: KFW Grant Application
Empowering Women in Nature
A Tale of Two Creeks
The following outline describes the array of work items needed to assure a sustainable
and successful program consistent with KGK organizational goals. As such, they
provide input to a budgeting and work planning process for FY 11/12 for consideration by
KGK’s Board of Directors:
• BOD bylaws, training, composition
• IRS tax exempt status/letter
• Fund raising plan
• Create partnerships
• Create a strategic plan with short-, medium-, and long-range goals/objectives
Implement sponsorships and funding plan
• Bank accounts
• Web site with donation/join up functions
• Marketing strategy
• Office items: PO Box, phone, equipment, supplies, etc.
• In-school field trips
o Evaluate first year’s pilot program
o Design adjustments for second year with costs/sponsors
o Plan for expanding initial efforts
• Promotion/education/awareness
o Outreach: establish consistent communication with teachers, students,
parents, providers, community, professionals
o Create advisory groups for the above
o Make presentations at relevant association conferences and meetings
o Design and implement workshops
o Create a summer camp program for students and teachers
o Establish a mobile display and message for civic groups
o Seek endorsements for improving kids’ access to nature
• Current Grant Programs
o Kentucky Foundation for Women
o Professional Paddlesports Association
o Workshops/support/materials
• New Grant initiative
o River Management Society
A separate summary of each of the above will be prepared for additional detail and for
deciding on priorities and funding requirements.
The cliché that “the devil’s in the details” is an unfortunately apropos description of where
we are the day after this bill became law on May 3, 2012. What we have is a fuzzy public policy
that will be hard to ‘flesh out’ with actionable and enforceable specifics. OK, yes this can also be
seen as an opportunity of potentially major significance. But there’s no guarantee that children
have a focused enough constituency that makes moving this forward a ‘slam dunk’ at all.
Kentucky children are served by diverse and convergent institutions. Most are called
departments, agencies, commissions, NPO’s, advocates, groups, organizations, and camps to
name a few. Many are to provide services to children and their families, like schools, youth
groups, churches, parks, agribusiness, etc. Others are there for specific health, behavioral,
developmental, physical, emotional, problems or even activities like games, exercise, music, for
example. Still some are commercially interested in attracting children and their families to their
offerings. For many years these entities rarely joined together for a new service none of which
offered independently. So programs that connect seniors with young children for amazing
benefits to both groups are a recent phenomenon. Add puppies and you’re “out of the box”.
Far too often have traditional management barriers restrained a more flexible and
innovative col-laboration with astonishing results like the example above. For some reason,
public and private interests have hesitated to pursue a different way of doing business and
remain comfortable in their ‘zone’. While it used to make sense to separate services by subject
like health, education, recreation, history, culture, art, etc., we have learned that it is the
interface among such areas that is the better approach. So connecting the heretofore
unconnected ‘dots’ is a promising paradigm.
The Kentucky Conservation Committee and kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. are partnering with
the bet that this approach may help find new and creative ways to implement HCR 29. Starting
with a dozen or so agency and NPO people, we want to use the collective synergy to identify the
“heretofore unconnected dots”. We want to find ways to get children reconnected with our
natural resources that equals the seniors and kids and puppies idea.
This strategy is gaining traction with public land resource managers, which responded
positively to trying out a new way to increase visitors and a sense of stewardship for the nature
they are to protect. The private sector is also finding this idea as a way to rebrand their
corporate images. Patagonia, North Face, and Disney are examples of this movement. The
magic occurs when the ‘silos’ come down and the resulting interface takes on attributes of each
partner, creating a new perspective from which old problems are given new solutions.
Since we started with a cliché, let’s finish with an appropriate quotation from another
era, which was as challenging as ours is today: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate
to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the
occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew.” (A. Lincoln, 1862). Barriers
melt when we think beyond ourselves. Can I count on your support? Let me know at
[email protected], or call 502-395-1513.
Arts Meets Activism:KFW
Activism:KFW Grant Application
02/06/11 DRAFT
Funds awarded from this grant will be used to inspire women to break
barriers to our natural world and be free to introduce their families to its lessons
for changing our way of life, to the choices we make that are disconnected with
nature, and to the need for women to make right brain thinking a part of our public
policy and decision making pro-cesses. Through combining nature and art, the
impacts on women and their children are anticipated to substantially increase
participation in wilderness-related outdoor pursuits, such as biking, hiking,
paddling, and camping, and expose their children to the benefits of these
activities, the power of right-brain thinking and art as a medium for change, and
empowerment to claim equal access to such resources disproportionately
enjoyed by others.
Three specific activities provide the core elements for this program: 1)
workshops to introduce participants to the need to balance right- and left-brain
thinking, to outdoor trip planning and opportunities, and to apply alternative art
media to capture the wonders and lessons of wilderness experiences; 2) to
design and actually implement a wilderness trip; and 3) to use chosen art media
to create a display that can be installed at local and state parks, schools, and
other appropriate and target-rich venues, like shopping malls, churches, and
commercial banks.
Participation rates are significantly different demographically. In general
women, minorities and children are underserved with respect to the top five
unstructured outdoor pursuits mentioned above. In his Black and Brown Faces in
America’s Wild Places, author Douglass Edmondson concludes that such US
scenic icons as Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, other national parks and
forests are not safe places for women, especially minorities. This statistic is most
disturbing among young, childbearing aged women, because over 65% of these
women make vacation and outing-related decisions. Therefore, not only are they
denied access to such leisure pursuits, but are denying their children as well. As
Richard Louv (Last Child in the Woods) might say: “this assures a new
generation that will be afflicted with NDD (nature deficit disorder).
If societal pressures and accompanying fears about ‘stranger danger’ and
similar barriers have been erected that exclude women’s equal access and use of
these natural assets, this program is designed to reverse these factors and their
negative impacts on our girls, their mothers and our families as a whole. Key
activities are as follows:
Workshops are the first step in the program. They will be used to inspire
the creative spirit among participants, review a series of land and waterbased day trips in natural/wilderness areas, and address the barriers to
and fears of such an experience. The series of six workshops
programmed to begin as soon as the grant is awarded will include artists
to teach different visual media such as drawing, photography, and
specimen collage making.
Trips will follow in the summer and fall months to include natural land and
water-based venues. A contract with professional outfitters/providers will
be used for guiding the participants in such settings in a manner that
optimizes their focus on the natural world in a safe and green manner.
Outreach to other women about the lessons learned through this program
will be accomplished through the display of the art created during their
outdoor experiences. For this portion of the program, it is intended to use
partners with places frequented by women with targeted demographics for
maximum exposure.
The advantages of reconnecting people, especially children, to nature are
deftly documented in the Last Child in the Woods and in Elizabeth Goodenough’s
Where do the Children Play? These are enhanced critical thinking, collaboration,
creativity, imagination, initiative and the freedom and time to think about the
world, rather than memorize knowledge bits as in most school settings. Observed
results have been less bad behaviors like cheating, bullying, isolation, frustration,
disengagement, and stress-related illnesses, all products of adult-driven
expectations and dysfunctional competitiveness. All of these can be traced to the
exclusive emphasis on left-brain teaching to-the-test regime of our schools
supported by the overwhelming silence of most parents.
So a major positive result of this program is to inspire a culture of learning
that is child-driven and focused on allowing a responsible, contributing and totally
healthy and whole person and citizen to grow and realize their dreams.
Our timeline is to accomplish as many reiterations of the above three
program elements over the grant year as funding permits. The colder seasons
provide just as useful a venue as the warmer ones. However, we are directing
this initial effort at summer and fall, which require sufficient barriers to conquer.
Additional funding (other sources not-withstanding) may be sought based on the
outcome of this grant.
A work plan involves: workshop design, teaching professionals and
participant recruitment, and a location; the actual wilderness trip plan, outfitter
procurement, logistic support, and site visits: and outreach for displaying the
resulting art and associated messages about the experience will involve partners
mentioned above and the set up and transport of the art itself. Each of these
elements will be identified and allocated funding in the budget which follows
Our working definition of feminism is to achieve socially equal
opportunities for women to fully participate in “life with liberty and the pursuit of
happiness”. As an equal population, women are underserved and denied access
to resources in general, which affects negatively on them and their families, as
well as the loss of productivity in assets available to the rest of the planet’s
cultures and communities. We need to appreciate the gender differences as
much as we are beginning to appreciate other ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity that has contributed so much to America.
Since such traditions are man made; so also is their change for the better.
We want to be a positive part of that change process. This grant offers that
The first measure of success will be the actual feedback from participants,
then the people who want to participate in the future who were informed about the
program through exposure to the art created by its participants, and potential
grant programs, donors and other interests that see a benefit from supporting
future reiterations. So our goal is to use the trifecta of art, nature and feminism to
emancipate women and their girls from being hostage to fears and other
societally imposed barriers to wilderness activities.
Women visitation at state and national parks and forests should rise and
reverse the decline evidenced in the current century. Our partners will help
identify the numbers that will indicate the relative effectiveness of the program.
Likewise, women’s participa-tion at other natural venues and their admission fees
will be valuable data that measure the positive impacts towards this goal.
Measuring the impact of the art, however, is likely to be supported by
reactions and feedback from the exhibits, the increase in requests for reiterating
the program from those referred to it by previous participants, and the kids
through their schools and other places where kids assemble and share their
Given the short term goal is to remove fears and barriers, we see this as a
first step towards the longer-term goal of empowerment and movement towards
equality of access and participation in the American outdoors. Ultimately, the
vision is to reach the promise of our Declaration of Independence’s Preamble in
which it states that all of us have the right “to life, liberty and the pursuit of
Looking for Iris
This final report is respectfully submitted to the Kentucky
Foundation for Women. The report documents the
activities, results and impacts of our project which took
place between September 2011 and July 2012.
Kids Grow Kentucky, Inc.
Looking for Iris – Empowering Women in Nature
KFW Grant Final Report
August 18, 2012
1. Activities: What concrete actions took place during this grant?
The following is a summary of the activities that took place through this grant
during the period September 2011 through July 2012.
Library workshop: We held an informational meeting at the Frankfort
Public Library in September 2011. This meeting was publicized by
developing a flyer ( attached) that we took to all of the local schools &
alternative schools, posted on storefronts, and emailed to databases of
potential participants that each of our team members had. We also taped and
aired a discussion of our program on our local TV station, Frankfort Plant
Board’s Cable 10. Our target participant was girls age 8 or older and their
mothers. At our September informational meeting we had an attendance of
about 25 people, most being adults that were willing to volunteer their time
to help with our efforts. There were 2 or 3 young girls and their moms, with
one who had received our flyer at her school and specifically asked her mom
to attend our meeting. After that meeting, we again contacted schools and
individuals we had heard of that might be interested in our program, and we
asked that they complete and application form and return it to us. From that
process we found 11 girls and their moms, or a mentor that could attend
with the girl.
October Workshop – Held Oct. 15, 2011
Description & activities: this was our first workshop and outing with the
group. All 11 participants and moms/mentors came. We travelled by van and
car to Elkhorn Creek where we got in canoes and travelled by water to
Normandi Ellis’ farm. We stopped along the way to observe fall leaves, the
flow of the creek, the rocks, the breeze and other things in nature that we
could see from the canoes.
Art components: At Normandi’s, she and Reba Rye worked with the girls and
used found objects in nature – berries, leaves, stones, nuts, etc. to draw
with. Then the girls were asked to think of words that described things they
saw, heard, felt and smelled on the canoe trip and those words were used to
make short poems.
Summary of experience: The experience of travelling by canoe to our
workshop site was unnerving for many of our participants. Ed Councill of
Canoe KY gave the group safety information prior to getting in the canoes,
but many had never been in a canoe or boat of any kind. The trip gave the
mom/daughter pairs an opportunity to work together and communicate so
that they could navigate the canoes and stay with the group. By stopping
several times along the way, it gave everyone a break and relieved the
tension that was present from doing something unfamiliar. Some of the
teams experienced an unexpected mother/daughter bonding resulting from
shared effort to keep their canoe upright and on the path of the group. The
down side of this initial activity was that the group did not get to know one
another and therefore did not interact much that day. The art work that was
done later in the day was fun and the entire group had a great time drawing
with things found in the outdoors.
November Workshop – Held Nov. 19, 2011
Description & activities: Our second workshop was held on the wooded
property of one of our adult mentors, Hanna Helm. The theme was animal
tracks and signs in nature. We walked through the woods, led by Venita
Bright, looking at bark, fallen leaves, deer rubbings, squirrel middens, tracks,
etc. and how to be safe in the woods. We also collected interesting sticks,
moss, leaves, etc. For some, this was a first for walking off trail and an
empowering experience. We again transported the participants, thanks to Ed
Councill, and we provided snacks and lunch.
Art components: The art component for the day was to write a short poem
using words about our experience in the woods and the autumn season. We
also wrote a story about where we are from, and what that meant to us.
Additionally, we made nature journals and decorated them with beads, and
sticks. The girls will be able to use these on future outings and record their
observations and memories.
Summary of experience: At this workshop, we had 6 of our ten pairs attend.
Our outdoor experience lasted a few hours and we also had several hours of
art activities indoors. This allowed the group to begin to bond together and
have conversations. We did the activities as a group in a closer setting and
that served to allow everyone to get to know each other better.
January Workshop – Held Jan. 21, 2012
Description & activities: This workshop was held on a relatively mild winter
Saturday at Salato Wildlife Education Center. Our focus for the day was to
learn and observe how animals adapt in winter. We had hoped for loads of
snow and cold temperatures, but of course our winter was very mild.
Nonetheless we spent the morning at the center looked at all of the animals
housed there, as well as evidence of wild visitors and talking about how they
behave in winter.
Art component: the art component was a right brain learning session. Dr.
Dennis Rader, one of our team members, conducted a series of puzzles,
games and discussions that helped us understand how our creative brain is
important and how we can help to develop that in a world that is so focused
on left brain efforts.
Summary of experience: There were only 5 pairs at this workshop. As we
have progressed through this experience, it has become apparent that it is
very difficult to have people commit to a schedule that lasts over the course
of 6 to 9 months. There are many competing things that come up for families
with children, single moms, and just in general. There have been school
activities that we could not have predicted when we set up our workshop
schedule, sports activities, and many things that kids are
influenced/encouraged to do. Despite the few attendees, those that did come
had a great learning experience and again were able to bond as a group and
communicate with each other in a supportive and fun way. Several of the
girls shared some right brain activities with the teacher and her classmates.
April Workshop – Held Apr. 14, 2012
Description & activities: This workshop was held at Normandi Ellis’s house.
The focus for the day was seeds, growth, and renewal and spring signs.
Venita Bright worked with the 5 attendee pairs and showed them how the
blossoms on an apple tree in the yard will turn into apples, how seeds sprout
and what different seeds look like. She also had them plant seeds in small
pots that they could take home and watch grow. We brought ingredients for
a fruit salad and a vegetable salad for lunch, and we had the girls prepare
the meal, talking as we worked about growing fruits and vegetables in our
gardens and the fun in harvesting and preparing what we have grown.
Art components: The art component was a series of exercises in creating a
poem with words that the girls randomly selected that described spring,
plants, blossoms, etc.
Summary of experience: This workshop was another small group, which
enabled the girls to communicate with each other more easily and break the
barriers of communication that often exist with larger groups and unfamiliar
faces. We seem to have lost communications with a couple of the original
participants. There is one pair that only came to the October workshop, and
we have not seen or heard from them since. Others have had commitments
on the days of the scheduled workshops and have not been able to attend.
May Workshop – Held May 12, 2012
Description & activities: This workshop was held at Normandi Ellis’s farm,
located on the banks of the Elkhorn Creek. The focus for the day was
learning to see nature through the eyes of a famous local artist, Paul
Sawyier, who used landscapes of the immediate Elkhorn Creek area as one of
his subjects. This workshop had two components: art (drawing and writing)
and nature.
Art components: To start the workshop, we looked at several Paul Sawyier
prints and discussed techniques unique to his paintings, as well as why these
innovative techniques brought attention to his work. Professional artist and
professor, Reba Rye, taught the 5 attendee pairs to see shapes, colors,
shadows, textures, and perspectives in the natural landscape, and how to
capture those elements on paper using pastels. The writing portion was a
series of exercises, led by Normandi Ellis, in creating a poem with words
randomly selected that described shapes, colors, textures, and sounds.
Nature component: Before sending them off into nature to work
independently, Venita Bright taught them how to safety protect themselves
from ticks, chiggers, insects, poison ivy and sun rays. Recognizing what you
see and knowing how to be physically safe and comfortable in the outdoors
has been a theme throughout the workshop series.
Summary of experience: This workshop was another small group, which
enabled the girls to have individual help from the artist as well as
communication with each other. Each participant had the opportunity to
share their artwork/poems and explain why those two elements developed as
they did. Individual expression and acceptance has been encouraged
throughout the workshop series.
Final Workshop – Held July 7, 2012
Our final workshop was held on July 7, 2012. Due to a number of scheduling
issues with the participants, this date was selected at the May workshop.
Interestingly, July 7 turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer
and one that was challenging for outdoor activities. The focus of this
workshop was sheer fun and play. We wanted to have a session where all of
the participants, now down from the original 11 to 6, could spend time
together as a group and enjoy the friendships and bonds that had been
established over the year. We also wanted to have a learning experience in
the outdoors, so we arranged for the outing to be an overnight campout. The
group played together, and then set up their tents in a shady spot. We then
started a fire without matches, teaching the girls how to do that. We
gathered firewood; prepared the food we brought for our dinners, cooked the
meal and ate together. Following the meal, we gathered around the campfire
and talked about our yearlong experience together and what each of them
got out of it. We studied the night sky and taught the girls about
constellations and the North Star, also listening to night sounds and thinking
about what they could be. While there was not a specific art component to
this final meeting, there was the creativity of expressing thoughts and
feelings about this program and what it meant to each participant.
2. Accelerators/Barriers: Did you encounter accelerators, anything that helped
you move forward more quickly than expected? Were unexpected obstacles
encountered? If so, please explain.
We did encounter accelerators, despite the fact that our program extended
beyond the July 2 due date of the final report to KFW. The accelerators were
our project team. Without this group of dedicated individuals, this project
would not have been possible. Their efforts enabled this complex project to
be developed and to take place. The team members are listed below:
Robin Antenucci – [email protected]
Venita Bright - [email protected]
Ed Councill - [email protected]
Normandi Ellis - [email protected]
Dennis Rader – [email protected]
Reba Rye - [email protected]
As for obstacles, there were some encountered. They were primarily to do
with scheduling. Holding a group together for most of a year is challenging,
especially when school age children are involved. The schools have activities,
there are after school activities, there are church activities, sports, etc, all
competing for the time of school kids. This makes for an obstacle when
attempting to plan and schedule a year long program.
3. Results: What quantifiable and observable behaviors, processes or products
took place or were created because of the activities? (Please give specific
numbers when possible) Ex: How many women/girls were involved, what was
created, etc.
Of the 11 mother/daughter pairs we started with, we ended the program with
6 that attended all of most of the sessions. There were 4 pairs that came to
one or two workshops, but just did not or were not able to participate more
fully. While this was a disappointment to the team, it was understandable
given the complexities of schedules, shared custody issues, etc.
At every workshop something was created. At most the creations were pieces
of art or poetry (examples attached), but in addition to those experiences
were created. Memories were created. Friendships and connections to people
were created. These were created through the art and through the time
spent in nature and through the time spent together.
4. Impact: how do you know that your grant activities and results made a
difference in the lives of women and/or girls in KY? What kinds of indicators did
you observe to show that your feminist arts-based activities advanced social
change? What short and/or long-term changes can you demonstrate in terms of
knowledge, attitudes, awareness, participation, behavior, discussion, capacities
or policies?
We know we made a difference in the lives of the women and girls that were
part of our project. We know this from the input we received from the
participants about our program and from their expressions in some of the
poetry and writings they shared with us. The indicators we saw were a
notable and improved level of comfort in natural, outdoor setting and with
outdoor experiences. From the tension and apprehension we saw at the first
workshop to the confidence and fun at the last, these indicators show that
our project made a difference in these mothers and daughters lives.
5. Impact: If possible, please share a brief story showing how your grant activities
and results made a difference in the lives of women and/or girls in KY.
Below are some thoughts and feelings that some of the participants in our
program shared with us about their feelings and thoughts of the activities we
‘We enjoyed having you as our guests at PenHouse and I think the
young women and their moms/mentors had a great time, too. Looking
forward to sitting down to process and streamline our program, and to
personally thank all of you for your hard work. Ed, your vision and
energy are amazing. Robin, you kept us all together and moved the
vision forward. Venita, you are a calming presence in the ‘wilds’ of the
creek, Dennis, thanks for being here and giving a hand. Reba, the art
class was amazing and everybody was very much into it. I hope we
have an opportunity to photograph the images they produced. I’m
sure we’ll see the work the next time we gather and will take photos
then. Melanie, you are an inspiration—in the midst of all you have
going on, still going on...
I remember the laughter of girls like the giggling sound of the creek,
the way the canoes kissed the shore with a sigh at the end of the ride.
I remember sycamore leaves flying—their little green and yellow boats
floating on rivers of air to land on Elkhorn Creek and rush past the
riffles. Beautiful companions. I remember beautiful companions. (And
a great lunch with really good cookies and apples!)’
‘…….Thank you to all of you for doing this & putting this all together.
It was a wonderful day (aches, pains, wetness, anxiety, fears and all
I realized later that my journey on the creek with my daughter that
day was a very apt metaphor for my journey though “preteenness”
with her as well – complete with anxiety, frustration, fears, laughter,
screams, hugs and those blissful, peaceful moments when we were
actually paddling together, in the same direction, at the same time –
aware that sometimes neither of us really knows what the heck we’re
doing or exactly how to navigate these murky waters and we just have
to take a breath and trust one another a little bit more. Makes me
chuckle a bit to remember…..a good reminder’
‘My daughter and granddaughter, Rachel and Michal were excited to
share with David and me about their day on the creek. Michal had
never been canoeing and she said she was worried at first but then
had a great time. Rachel talked about how much she enjoyed hearing
you Ed, tell about how you started your canoe business, so shared the
story with us. They showed us the colors on the paper and about their
journal. They are both very grateful for this opportunity as I am also
so grateful. Thank you both for all your time and work you have put in
and continue to do.’
‘I remember thinking that I was blessed being a part of an amazing
group of adults and young girls on such a gorgeous day! Ed, thank you
so much for facilitating the trip and keeping us safe. You and James
worked so hard to carry all those canoes and to pull us off those rocks
that kept getting in our way.
As stressed as some of the moms
became, in the end there are good memories. I certainly enjoyed
working with our team and having an opportunity to observe each of
our strengths. I think this is going to work!!!’
‘Thanks to all of you for making this happen... although we are all very
busy, it is so important for me to remember why I came home, and to
spend the day with Brenna was wonderful and exactly what I needed
in the midst of my chaos. When I got home, BJ said, "You made
wonderful memories today, she'll remember today for the rest of her
life"...and so will I.’
During the course of our program, we had the opportunity for a
journalist to come to one of the sessions and observe and learn about
our efforts. The journalist, Maggie Greene, wrote an article that was
published in Frankfort’s State Journal newspaper in May 2012. This
was one of our steps in our efforts for outreach. Additional efforts for
outreach are currently in progress. We have a small amount of funds
remaining from the grant, and will use those to further develop our
program so that we can continue the program and touch the lives of
more women and girls. We are so grateful to KFW for giving us this
grant and the opportunity to develop this program and take a step
toward social change through the arts and nature.
One in USA, One in Japan
By Ed Councill, Contributing Environmental Columnist
This week’s “highlight” Elkhorn canoe trip featured 25 paddlers, half from
Tahara-Cho and half from Sister City Georgetown’s host family kids. For 18 years
Seisho and Scott County High Schools have celebrated a unique relationship
with each other and their respective hometown streams: both the Shiokawa and
the Elkhorn are impacted by huge Toyota plants. With this and more in common,
the International Sister Rivers Program was initiated to encourage students here
and there to compare how environmental stresses are managed to maintain a
healthy watershed and stream in each country.
Led by Georgetown’s Sister Cities Liaison Kelly McEuen, Scott County
Foundation International Program Director Nathan Patton, and the author from
CANOE KENTUCKY, the flotilla navigated the Elkhorn for a two-hour tour. Japanese students asked questions about the watershed and its eco-system/habitat,
what management practices were used to maintain its uses, how many people
visited its shores and shoals and for what purposes, what roles did the stream
play historically as contrasted with the present, as well as others not related to
the Creek at all.
I answered all the questions and asked some of my own, including what
were some favorite subjects studied, do you intend to go to college, and what
was the most fun activity experienced in the US? Math and English were most
frequently men-tioned; and most planned on college, though many did not identify
a major. Among those that did have a career plan, teaching was a favorite.
All were high school students between 15 and 17 years old; and most
were fe-male, which has been the trend over the years. The only swimmers were
three American young women who were frolicking on a slippery slope at the takeout.
These kids, several parents, Seisho school administrators and teachers
had truly bonded due to their recent return from a six-week stay with Japanese
host families. I recounted the first of these exchanges in 1990 when, as the final
activity prior to a return flight from Bluegrass Field to Japan, the canoe trip ended
with a huddled pile of sobbing adults and students. I wondered what could I have
done to create such a sad situation. Was I relieved to learn that I was not the
culprit at all!
Several said that the canoe trip was a highlight of their US visit. It was
even suggested the people in Tahara-Cho would welcome such a business.
Because my old friend Toshi Suzuki was recently named as the city’s
International Affairs Officer, I will pursue this opportunity. After all, I too have
become a fan of Japan, its people, its culture, and its geography (which is good
for paddling canoes, kayaks and rafts).
Many of the host families have sent multiple children through this
outstand-ing exchange program. Several had paddled in the past two years; and
their parents had likewise participated in the various activities. So it was great to
be reintroduced to them as well as the Japanese teachers and administrators that
made prior visits.
Who’d a thunk that Scott County Kentucky would engage in such culturally
broadening endeavors? Not only the Sister Cities and Rivers program, but also
the largest Japanese Friendship Garden east of the Mississippi River have been
created in Georgetown. WOW! How’s that for small town America? Step it up
About the author -- Ed is past president of the Paddlesports Industry Association
and the founding owner of CANOE KENTUCKY, a small family-owned
paddlesports adventure outfitter headquartered in Franklin County on Elkhorn
Creek in Peaks Mill. Wife Bess, daughter Allison and son-in-law Nathan
Depenbrock are also co-owners. Allison and Nathan manage the business dayto-day and its outposts. In addition Nathan provides instruction and eco-heritage
trips in Kentucky with a focus on the Kentucky River; while Allison pays the bills
and helps guests with reservations and trip plans Call 888-CANOEKY, or locally
227-4492 for a reservation or more information.
Not ALL lobbyists are bad: How to successfully lobby your elected officials
verb (used with object) to urge or procure the passage of (a bill), by lobbying.
In 2012, KidsGROWKentucky, a sister organization, successfully lobbied the Kentucky
General Assembly to pass the Kentucky Outdoor Bill of Rights. Currently
KidsGROWKentucky is lobbying the governor of Kentucky to sign an executive order
establishing a Kentucky Youth Advisory Council (KYAC). KYAC will serve in an advisory
capacity to the Governor, General Assembly, and youth-related state agencies.
So what does this mean? Even though KidsGROWus believes in a bottom-up approach
to approached kids and Millennials, sometimes you have to go to the top to really get
things moving. With 501(c) 3 status, you can lobby your state’s general assembly and
the U.S. Congress if you want.
This chapter is about how KidsGROWKentucky has approached lobbying their state
government. They are helping their elected representatives decide to really support kids,
not just tell them to take a test to make older people look good. Do you have to lobby?
No; but if you want to, here is one way to do it.
Not ALL Lobbyists are Bad Table of Contents
A Nature and Youth Council for Kentucky
Governor’s Executive Order RE: State Agency Cooperation to Implement the
Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (HCR 29) and Related Projects
An Outdoor Bill of Rights for Kentucky’s Children?
Letter to Judge Executive Ted Collins
Testimony on Transforming Education in Kentucky
Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (HCR 29)
Outdoor Effort Gets State Backing, by Katheran Wasson of The State-Journal
A Nature and Youth Council for Kentucky
By Ed Councill, KGK Chair/CEO
KidsGROWkentucky, an NPO that focuses on getting kids outdoors, is seeking
funds to create a Nature and Youth Council to give voice to the young people of the
Commonwealth. KGK will apply for a $20,000 grant from the National Environmental
Education Foundation for helping cover the startup costs to implement HCR 29, a
recently signed law that establishes a state public policy goal that promotes “enhanced
opportunities for outdoor activity for Kentucky children”.
It specifically states that “Public institutions in the Commonwealth serving
children and young adults are encouraged to offer, promote, and encourage free play
opportunities, outdoor experiences, and field trips to natural areas and venues that
provide right-brain learning which stimulates creativity and innovation.” The question is
how does this law with its inspiring and challenging language get implemented and
produce real actionable results?
The answer is simple: just ask the children what they want, where, when, and
how they see an effective way to assure that their input is taken seriously. So having
done just that, a group of students we hosted in several KGK events, including in
classroom brain exercises, workshops, special events that pro-vided a sampling of our
student-driven program (an experiential, expedition-based learning and free play with
solitude and reflection), and the day-long outing itself, met and listed a number of issues
they wanted to address. Thus, Student Voices was born in Frankfort; and the following
summarizes what they had to say about their overall educational experience (they
spend more time in school than other venues).
Their “issues” fell into three categories: physical, emotional, and learning school
environments and content. The “hottest” issues physically were dress code, nonrelevant and authoritarian rules, inter-nal spaces not conducive for different learning
styles, and lack of outdoor opportunities to mix studies with real world problems and
Emotional/atmosphere problems were parental stress for good grades, teacher
and administration stress for compliant behavior over content, stressful amount of
testing especially the ACTs, a lack of trea-ting students as real people who want to
learn, and routine with rules is no fun.
Content problems fostered an imbalance between core subjects and the arts;
required subjects did not prepare students for chosen careers; teaching methods,
particularly lecture and reading, did not lead to growth and understanding; and more
attention needs to be given to different learning preferences.
The neuroscience of learning emphatically reinforces these complaints. Statistics
also show that actual student dropout rates are too high, that engagement dropouts
(those students that just do enough to get by -- known as “doing school” and “gaming
the system”) are even higher and rising significantly. No wonder our international
reputation for creativity, innovation, problem solving, critical thinking, as well as STEM
scores are falling behind many developed and developing nations; also negative health
Unfortunately, the answers to these issues are not as simple. In total, a new
approach to learning is required: new physical architecture that houses a culture of
learning; a new emotional structure that is the mainstay of such a culture for an
increasingly diverse and multicultural population; a more flexible approach to content
that addresses the choices of a new age not dependent on agriculture, not continuing
the old models of industrial revolution preparation for job seekers; and not a
dependence on a left-brain dominated teaching regime that ignores a balanced rightbrain future that sees innovation and problem solving as the 21st century currency and
number one attribute of a successful and competitive work force. And that doesn’t count
Nature’s positive mental and physical health impacts.
The first step towards accomplishing this law’s implementation is to create a
Nature and Youth Council for Kentucky through an Executive Order signed by Governor
Beshear in the coming weeks. All local, state, and federal public institutions will thus be
expected to get kids outdoors.
We must make this happen this year. Contact KGK at
[email protected], or call 502-395-1513 to offer help or funds that will
support this critical next step. If it is to be; it is up to us!
Governor’s Executive Order RE State Agency Cooperation
To Implement The Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of
Rights (HCR
(HCR 29)
29) & Related Projects
WHEREAS, HCR 29 was duly passed by the Kentucky General Assembly and signed by me on
May 3, 2012, which declares as a public policy goal enhanced opportunities for outdoor activity
for Kentucky’s children;
WHEREAS, during said signing ceremony I mentioned the many benefits of Nature that
enhance the physical, emotional, and intellectual health of young people, specifically obesity
and fitness, better engagement in an educational system that addresses their life goals, less
stress-related illnesses and anti-social behavior, an appreciation for collaboration, cooperation,
diversity, and a sense of place that encourages them to contribute to Kentucky’s future and
growth as critical;
WHEREAS, this economy illustrates that a collaborative approach at programs and projects is
not only an effective way to solve the Commonwealth’s problems, but also may be the most
sustainable one given the need to consider the many facets of today’s complex issues;
WHEREAS, under the Great Outdoors Initiative, I have authorized two Kentucky projects which
will add significantly to the outdoor recreation infrastructure for attracting kids and families to
spend time in Nature: The Trans-Kentucky Hike and Bike Trail from the Bluegrass the Eastern
Kentucky mountains, and the Kentucky River Water Trail connecting Beattyville and Carrollton;
WHEREAS, Kentucky through its Department of Education has adopted KELP (Kentucky
Environmental Literacy Plan), which also encourages students in Kentucky school systems to
engage in Nature field trips for experiential environmental education and free play in the vast
wilderness with which the Bluegrass State remains blessed; and
WHEREAS, such undertakings are complicated, would substantively benefit from multiple public
agency and private entities participation, and would achieve a level of excellence by so doing
that favorably impacts on the Commonwealth’s most cherished resource -- our children;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by me as Governor that it is officially declared that the
all of the above opportunities and challenges will be better served through cooperation among
state entities in collaboration with private sector resources to implement the above cited
Concurrent Resolution (HCR 29); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a Children in Nature Council is established that will oversee
this process, will reflect adequate representation of local, state and federal agency, private
sector, and young people, and will report on progress quarterly at my request. A final report is
due in September, 2013 with follow up reports as necessary thereafter.
By Ed Councill, kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. and a Contributing Columnist (01/21/11)
Our country’s foundation is a Constitution with a number of amendments called
the Bill of Rights. These changes were made in pursuit of “a more perfect Union” as
stated as the goal in its preamble. Thus, our rights as citizens have expanded over our
235 years as a nation.
During this time Emancipation, Suffrage, Voting and Civil Rights, “A Patient’s Bill
of Rights” passed assuring access to health care, and several more were discussed that
addressed other problems like travelers on commercial aircraft, protecting them from
unwarranted delays and other requirements for passenger comfort and safety. However,
such actions targeted adult rights mostly.
This month an Outdoor Bill of Rights resolution for Kentucky kids was endorsed
by the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist Commission. Yes, it follows the idea of the
others; in this case, it seeks better lives for children by enhanced access to nature,
better-planned places to live, relevant education, and safe communities. It will be sent to
local and state policy makers for endorsement to guide their decisions.
Just like the other such resolutions, the question is why do we need this policy
and what specific problems does it resolve? The purpose of this article is to answer this
very question. We indeed would NOT need it if it weren’t for the following:
1) Our children are becoming increasingly overweight and obese;
2) Many are overly scheduled with parent-driven extra-curricular
3) Their leisure time is increasingly spent in a virtual world of video
games, cell phone texting, and internet surfing;
4) They are disconnected from nature; so that as an abstraction, many
think food comes from a store wrapped in plastic, not from farmers;
5) Many kids are frustrated to the point of being disruptive, participate in
bullying, and pursue other anti-social behaviors;
6) Increasing numbers are diagnosed as have learning disorders that are
treated with Ritalin at a rate of five times the total of the world’s kids
7) US kids are only average among the developed nation’s PISA scores
in math, science and reading;
8) Our life-styles are limited by fears of ‘stranger danger’ that turn our
homes and neighborhoods into prisons, virtually inaccessible except
by car; thus access to safe, non-structured recreational opportunities
is severely limited;
9) Nature and wilderness are becoming distanced by sprawl and poorly
planned growth and development; and
10) Our communities are increasingly less kid-friendly, which is an
economic development issue because entrepreneurs and innovators
for the post-industrial era are more often attracted to communities that
Last year I reflected on our family business’ performance in profitability and its
record of giving back to our community. I was extremely proud of both. Our record year
was combined with support to four major causes: cancer awareness, women’s kayaking,
a program for returning and wounded veterans under the mantle Team River Runner,
and a continuing investment in young people (Kings’ Center, school programs, school
and youth groups, and other kids with physical and/or emotional challenges).
For 16 years, CANOE KENTUCKY has hosted area schools; one in particular
annually brings their entire 7th grade for a day on Elkhorn Creek. We subsidize the cost
by 50%, which totaled over $36,000 during this period. My thoughts led me to wonder
what happens when these kids get back to school? How does this investment get
traction and lead to improving their performance in class? I investigated the questions
about our schools falling behind those in other countries; and I found that major changes
were necessary for us to see any real ‘return on our investment’ (making a real
The result led to a Team that would pursue this question under the concepts of
No Child Left Inside, Last Child in the Woods, Where Do the Children Play? and our own
local educator/author DR Dennis Rader’s Learning Redefined as the centerpieces of its
efforts to establish a pilot program. It established a non-profit to provide tax exemption
incentives to donors and a mechanism for grants, should they be available.
Our series of Community Conversations has been effective in exploring ways to
improve our K-12 system, and to involve all interested parties in the process, particularly
our children. And we plan more in the near future. We welcome the public, especially
the students of our school system.
Convinced that it is time for such a public policy? I am. Case in point: Forbes
magazine cited Frankfort recently as the top micro metropolitan area to raise a family in
the Southeast; 20th in the Nation. On one hand, this is good news; on the other, it means
that we have work to do to keep up and compete with the other 19, or settle for their left
over slices of the economic pie. I say let’s do everything we can to create a culture that
assures Frankfort is a kid-friendly place to live, work, visit and play in the 21st century.
One way to move forward is to pass this Kentucky Outdoor Children’s Bill of
Rights as public policy that encourages this culture of learning we so desperately need to
move our community forward. Contact your state legislators and tell them to support this
resolution. To get a copy, call 395-1513 or email [email protected] and
add your name and support, even your participation in this challenging but rewarding
February 3, 2011
Ted Collins, Judge Executive
Franklin County Fiscal Court
321 West Main Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
RE: Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights Resolution
Dear Judge Collins and Magistrates,
This is written to request your support of the resolution referenced above,
with related documents for your consideration. Also attached is a letter
acknowledging our Senator Carroll’s leadership in pursuing a concurring
resolution from this session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Our Frankfort No
Child Left Inside Team (NCLITeam) and its NPO kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. is
seeking support from those who share concerns about our young people and
their future.
So far, presentations and support requests have been made to the local
Tourism Commission who unanimously endorsed it, state agencies (Education,
Environmental and Commerce cabinets), Kentucky Sierra Club, Optimists,
parents, school board and officials from our two public, two faith-based, a private,
and home schoolers to sign up by similar action or by signing a petition to that
effect. They are all positively responding as of this writing. Rotarians, School
Boards and others are scheduled in the near future.
Attached are these related documents, which are available for your review
in con-sidering the requested action. I am available to any of you to discuss this
matter prior to or at your next meeting. Please do no hesitate to accept my
assistance, if needed.
Your truly concerned citizen,
Ed Councill, Chair
PS: I was unable to find email addresses for Squires Moore and Wells. So please
A Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of
Rights (HCR 29) 02/09/12
Our kids are too fat due to limited physical exercise and poor diet, too far behind
the world in critical thinking and real learning, too constrained by neighborhoods devoid
of a natural environment in cities that limit access to Nature, and too affected by constant
competition from structured sports that characterize relationships as “I win, you lose”,
rather than to recognize that all life has aspects that interact, that are interdependent,
and make the world a more healthy and sustainable place.
Our most important asset is the children we brought into this world to replace us
and maintain the species. Today’s kids are threatened by more and often dysfunctional
distractions than any previous generation. If it is better to “kill two birds with one stone”,
then it is a rare and significant opportunity to address many of the most threatening
issues facing our youth with but a single idea. That idea is simply to get kids outdoors
and let Mother Nature give them a dose of ‘real world’ medicine.
So, a healthy child is more likely to seek activity and exercise, enhance learning
through interests, develop curiosity about nature and its habitats, and participate in group
learning and collaborative activities that reinforces socially positive relationships. Also a
lessening of bullying, better academic performance and curiosity are positive outcomes.
HCR 29 is an important piece that helps us improve the outcomes above towards
a brighter future for our children. It signals that they are a top priority, that our actions
need to recognize potential positive impact on them, and it reminds all who are a part of
children infrastructure that together we can make a difference in the lives of our future
Today, you will hear why HCR29 was supported by the Franklin County Health
Department, how it promotes the mission of our Tourism Commission, and the
neuroscience that identifies nature as an activator of new neuron growth. At the request
of District 57 Rep. Derrick Graham, I have limited our visit with you in order to show
respect for the crowded agenda on your plate. However, I enclose a small information
packet containing my email to him describing all those organizations, public and private,
local, state and national, which have expressed their support for HCR29.
I am pleased to introduce Paula Alexander, Director of the Franklin County
Health Department. She is followed by Tourism’s Marketing Director Robin Antenucci
and Dr. Dennis Rader, author of Learning Redefined and neuroscience consultant. As a
final summary Dr. David Wicks, nationally recognized for his kids’ programs, will speak.
Submitted by Ed Councill of Frankfort to the TEK TALK Lexington Forum on
My message is based on what Einstein pointed out: “How can we continue to
apply the same solutions to problems and always expect different results?” We
can and must do better, much better!
A lot has changed since the last education reform in 1990 in Kentucky. A few
examples are: our kids are nearly twice as overweight, more than half live in
cities, our educational scores have fallen to a world ranking of 18th, our
environmental issues are out of control, we have designed a teaching model that
is not reaching kids with other sensory learning modalities and is so structured
that free play or even “phys ed” no longer exists, and the rise in bullying is a
direct response to dysfunctional competition in the classroom and in sports
minimizing the value of teamwork and collaboration in favor of “I win – you lose”.
The future of Kentucky, and likely the US as a whole, rests on the answers to
such issues. Americans have delegated the responsibility for the health of our
children to our schools, which have only recently adopted a more nutritional lunch
and availability of snacks program. Emotional health problems experienced by
the increasing numbers left behind due to the above teaching methods are not
addressed at all. Urban living imposes stress in kids unforeseen in the past 20
years; and accountability pressures establish motivations in teachers to ‘teach to
the test’ and rote knowledge, rather than critical thinking and intel-lectual
After reading over the outline of what the TEK program proposes, it struck me
that a key ingredient was left out of the mix that is fatal to its success. In short, it
is to resurrect and expand the use of field trips, but with a twist. Simply provide a
less structured natural or wilderness venue for children to pursue free play and
collaborative exploration of nature. To my personal chagrin, this concept did not
originate with me; but rather it is champio-ned by Richard Louv’s Last Child in the
Disorder, and Elizabeth
Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder
Goodenough’s work at the University of Michigan and book A Place for Play
among others. This is the central theme of the proposed amend-ment to the No
Child Left Behind update entitled No Child left Inside. So even learned
professionals are behind this new component to our educational tool kit.
This approach simply gets kids outside, active, freely exploring the wonders of
nature and its residents, with unstructured but safety and resource supervision.
NCLI will again be considered as an amendment to the updating of No Child Left
Behind very soon. This bill could fund up to $300 million to get more kids outside
in the natural environment and develop state Environmental Literacy Plans.
Several NCLI programs have been adopted by state and local officials across the
US. A few of the most notable are in Michigan, Connecticut, Massachusetts,
Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado and Illinois. Many of these have support of the
respective governor, the legisla-ture, state agencies like parks, health and Fish &
Wildlife. In Michigan the General Assembly has even adopted The Michigan
Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights and a gubernatorial proclamation of appreciation
for a Detroit NCLI program that is a national success story.
A proposed pilot is just beginning in Frankfort involving public and private
schools, local parks and recreation, Tourism, Salato Wildlife Center, Health
Department, etc. (copies of this are available from [email protected]).
Volunteer-based with school agency officials and private and public providers,
the program will test the efficacy of the idea and find ways to improve it before
growing it county-wide in subsequent years.
In summary, we advocate adding more sensory teaching using this model as a
way to address the five-part perfect storm that differentiates today’s children from
those in the not so distant past: obesity, a disconnect with nature, using handson exploration to enhance the utility of math and science, doing so without
curtailing curiosity and imagination, and encouraging collaboration and
environmental awareness.
My name is Ed Councill; and I thank you for this opportunity to offer a difference
in our educational improvements that make our kids better prepared for life in a
new world and time.
Kentucky Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights (HCR 29)
public policy goal of the Commonwealth, enhanced
opportunities for outdoor activity for Kentucky's
Governor Steve Beshear
12 RS HCR 29/EN
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION promoting, as a public policy goal of the
Commonwealth, enhanced opportunities for outdoor activity for Kentucky's
WHEREAS, Kentucky is blessed with an abundance of natural resources
for recreation, enjoyment, and the physical, emotional, and education health of
its citizens; and
WHEREAS, Kentucky's children are becoming less connected with the
natural world around them; and
WHEREAS, numerous studies show that there are considerable healthrelated, physical, emotional, and educational benefits to playing, exploring, and
experiencing Kentucky's outdoor environment; and
WHEREAS, a National No Child Left Inside movement encourages children
to reconnect with nature and its outdoor wonders; and
WHEREAS, a non-profit organization named kidsGROWkentucky, Inc. is
professionals, parents, and outdoor recreation and soft adventure outfitters, and
is committed to getting Kentucky's kids outdoors; and
WHEREAS, outdoor experience is critical to the physical, emotional, and
intellectual development of Kentucky's next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs,
and citizens;
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the
nate concurring therein:
Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Se
Section 1.
Increasing outdoor participation of Kentucky's children and
young adults is a public policy goal of the Commonwealth. Public institutions in
the Commonwealth serving children and young adults are encouraged to offer,
promote, and encourage free play opportunities, outdoor experiences, and field
Page 2 of 3
HCR002920.100 - 947 - 7819
12 RS HCR 29/EN
trips to natural areas and venues that provide right-brain learning which
stimulates creativity and innovation.
Section 2.
It is hereby declared the sentiment of the General Assembly
that children in Kentucky, as a part of their childhood development, are
encouraged to:
Fish, swim, paddle, ski, wade, splash, or otherwise enjoy a Kentucky
stream, creek, river, or lake;
Hike, hunt, bird watch, view elk and other wildlife, and explore
Kentucky's natural wilderness areas, parks, trails, woods, natural habitats, farms,
and agritourism establishments;
Bike in safe areas and routes to schools, recreation and park areas,
neighborhood stores, and shops;
Enjoy kid-friendly parks;
Attend school activities, extracurricular events, and free play
opportunities that inspire and hopefully instill a culture of learning that develop
balanced right-brain and left-brain learning and that promote the concepts of No
Child Left Inside; and
Page 3 of 3
HCR002920.100 - 947 - 7819
M AY฀ 3,฀ 2012
FHS blasts Burgin
F R A N K F O R T,฀ K E N T U C K Y ฀
฀ ฀ ■ ฀ ฀ ฀ 5 0 c ฀ ฀ ฀ ■ ฀ ฀ ฀ S TAT E -J O U R N A L .CO M ฀
[email protected]
his฀Saturday,฀downtown฀ Frankfort฀ is฀
party฀ of฀ the฀ year฀
and฀will฀welcome฀many฀visitors฀ and฀ Kentuckians฀ who฀
will฀ start฀ their฀ day฀ at฀ the฀
Governor’s฀ Derby฀ Celebration.
It’s฀ an฀ enjoyable฀ way฀
for฀ families฀ young฀ and฀ old฀
to฀ spend฀ Derby฀ morning,฀
strolling฀ downtown฀ to฀ see฀
fresh,฀ locally฀ grown฀ produce฀at฀the฀Farmers฀Market฀
steak฀ sandwiches฀ from฀ the฀
There’s฀ also฀ a฀ medieval฀ re-enactment฀ on฀ the฀
3 days
cut from
Ky. courts
[email protected]
3,300 employees
will be furloughed
[email protected]
reductions฀ could฀ be฀ announced฀ for฀ the฀
the฀ modern฀ court฀ system฀ began฀ in฀ 1976฀
to฀ First฀ United฀ Methodist฀
Mom who lost legs in tornado gets prosthetic
LOUISVILLE,฀ Ky.฀ (AP)฀ –฀
Stephanie฀Decker,฀the฀Frankfort฀ native฀ and฀ mom฀ of฀ two฀
“It’s฀ a฀ good฀ anniversary,”฀
side,฀ she฀ practiced฀ standing,฀
walking฀and฀turning฀while฀using฀ parallel฀ bars฀ for฀ support.฀
Former฀ Agriculture฀ Commissioner฀Richie฀Farmer฀was฀the฀only฀
State฀ Auditor฀ Adam฀ Edelen฀ released฀a฀blistering฀audit฀of฀the฀Department฀ of฀ Agriculture฀ during฀
Farmer’s฀ tenure฀ on฀ Monday฀ and฀
found฀ the฀ former฀ commissioner,฀
and฀stand฀worth฀$1,360฀and฀various฀ gifts,฀ including฀ scoped฀ Remington฀rifl฀es฀each฀worth฀$449.฀
fi฀le฀fi฀nancial฀disclosure฀forms฀annually฀ detailing฀ yearly฀ income฀
sources฀ that฀ exceed฀ $1,000฀ and฀
for฀ the฀ commission,฀ declined฀ to฀
speak฀ specifically฀ about฀ matters฀
Outdoor effort gets state backing
Frankfort’s Ed Councill has encouraged public policy for 2 years
[email protected]
A฀ local฀ effort฀ to฀ get฀ kids฀
House฀ Concurrent฀ Resolution฀ 29,฀ passed฀ during฀ the฀
2012฀ regular฀ session,฀ makes฀
[email protected]
WEEKLY POLL: Traffic safety
Would you support a traffic-safety crackdown in local neighborhoods? Yes, 73% No, 26% Total votes: 157
Vote on or mark Yes q No q and return
Commonwealth”฀ to฀ encourage฀Kentucky฀kids฀to฀go฀fi฀shing,฀visit฀parks฀or฀farms,฀and฀
Gov.฀Steve฀Beshear฀ceremonially฀ signed฀ the฀ resolution฀
said฀ free฀ play฀ opportunities,฀
our฀ dense฀ forests฀ to฀ rocky฀
“We฀ also฀ have฀ an฀ abunSee฀OUTDOORS,฀A7
Mostly cloudy,
low around 62
324 West Main, Frankfort
Miss P’s Kids
Cornerstone Gallery
F R A N K F O R T, K E N T U C K Y
M AY 3 , 2 012
FURLOUGHS | Closing courthouses will create case backlog
his ofice.
Elected oficials aren’t required to participate, but
Minton said he would give
back three days pay to cut his
salary accordingly. He said
other officials could follow
On top of furloughs, the Judicial Branch will implement
a hiring freeze, reduce and
cap the number of participants in local Drug Courts,
reduce 100-hour part-time
employees to 80 hours and
cut their benefits starting
June 30, 2013, cut operating
costs by $1.6 million and end
the Kentucky High School
Mock Trial Tournament.
Oficials will also charge
schools $10 for criminal record reports, which had been
free, and up the cost of them
from $15 to $20 for all other
Lawmakers, who also re-
duced funding for most state
agencies by 8.4 percent while
crafting the upcoming biennium budget, cut $16.2 million from the Judicial Branch
budget and transferred $9
million from the courts to
the General Fund, according to a press release from
Minton’s ofice.
Circuit Clerk Sally Jump
said furloughs did not come
as a surprise given layoffs at
the Administrative Office
of the Courts – the Judicial
Branch has eliminated 282
jobs statewide since 2008
– and six furlough days for
Executive Branch workers in
recent years.
“It’s a shame that it’s had
to come to this, but I certainly understand that the Court
of Justice is under some budgetary dificulties,” she said
by phone Wednesday, noting
previous layoffs at AOC prevented furloughs for court
workers at the time.
“… Nobody wants to be
furloughed. We all wish we
weren’t in this boat, but it’s
not unexpected at all.”
Franklin Circuit Judge
Phillip Shepherd said furloughs or layoffs won’t solve
funding woes faced by state
Closing courthouses will
only create a growing backlog of cases, signiicant inconveniences and, in some
cases, real hardships, he
“I’m not saying it can’t be
done in the short term as a
Band-Aid to a budget crisis,
but what has happened in
state government over the
last few years is that the crisis has become permanent,”
Shepherd said by phone
“And there’s simply not
enough revenue to meet the
obligations of the court system.”
County Attorney Rick
Sparks said on most Tuesdays, the district court docket can have up to 150 cases.
With the temporary courthouse scheduled to be closed
Sept. 4, a Tuesday, those cases will added to already full
“If you don’t have court on
those days, then those cases
get spread out between other
dockets, and you add 20 here
and you add 20 there, and it
starts to add up,” he said.
Courts may have to look
at cutting or moving programs that aren’t vital to
constitutional responsibilities, such as managing the
driver’s license program and
performing criminal record
checks, Shepherd said. Under state law, county clerks
handle the state’s driver’s licensing system.
The Drug Court program
must also be re-examined,
Shepherd said. Staff turnover at the local Drug Court
is high, with some staying no
longer than a year, he said.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry Cleveland agreed.
Weekly meetings tie up
hours at a time, and some
participants ind themselves
back in front of a judge after
completing the program, he
Locally, the program has
seen a revolving door of coordinators, he said.
“Ever y three or four
months, it seems like, you’re
starting over with a new
coordinator, and they get
burned out pretty fast because of all the time involved in Drug Court and
the frustrating nature of
Drug Court,” he said.
“… I would not be surprised to see some Drug
Courts close.”
Minton said Drug Courts
are effective in fighting
against prescription drug
abuse, and he noted how the
mock trial program taught
students the basics of the
criminal justice system.
“It’s not an essential service for courts,” Minton
said. “It’s a great educational piece, and we’re having to
eliminate it.”
Still, oficials will consider all cost-cutting measures
when closing future funding
That could include additional layoffs, but Minton
said he hopes further staffing cuts won’t be necessary
as the state recovers economically.
“If things don’t change,
then further furloughs are
going to be necessary again,”
Minton said before adding
he hoped “to avoid the situation of mass layoffs for our
OUTDOORS | With name change, legislators unanimously in favor
Dennis Rader
and Ed Councill watch
Gov. Steve
Beshear sign
the resolution that
activity for
during the
ceremony at
the Capitol
dance of neighborhood areas
for folks to be in and play in.
So whether it’s one acre or a
thousand acres, these areas
are a good wilderness waiting to be explored.”
Ed Councill, founder of
Frankfort’s Canoe Kentucky,
spearheaded a two-year effort to get the resolution
through the General Assembly.
Councill said it’s needed
because kids are increasingly disconnected from nature. Many spend their leisure time in front of a TV, cell
phone or computer screen –
leading to health and behavior problems.
Concerns about safety
mean kids don’t have access
to safe, non-structured opportunities to play outside,
he said.
Through kidsGROWkentucky, a nonproit organization he and other supporters formed last year, Councill
has taken 600 kids from area
school systems on the water
free of charge.
The resolution doesn’t carry the force of law, but Councill says the document gives
legitimacy to his group’s efforts. It could pave the way
for partnerships or grants in
the future.
“I just want to show that
there is concern for getting
kids outdoors, and there
needs to be public policy to
state that,” he said.
“It will show that what
we’ve been testing on a pilot basis as a way to improve
learning experiences has
Rep. Derrick Graham, a
Frankfort Democrat, sponsored the resolution. Councill says they started working
on it in August after a chance
meeting at a gas station.
“This is a concurrent resolution that promotes Kentucky’s natural resources,
and at the same time the idea
that our children should take
advantage of those resources
that are available throughout the commonwealth of
Kentucky,” Graham said
Last year, Councill tried
unsuccessfully to pass the
[email protected]
resolution in the Senate with
Julian Carroll as sponsor.
This time around, he worked
with the support of representatives from the American Heart Association, tourism and public health.
Joining Councill at the
signing ceremony Thursday were Frankfort author
and fellow kidsGROWkentucky founder Dennis Rader,
Franklin County Health Department Director Paula Alexander, and Art Williams,
an environmental lobbyist
with the Kentucky Conservation Committee.
Alexander said she supports the resolution because
getting kids outdoors could
benefit their health, from
getting more exercise to socializing with their peers.
There’s not one answer to
why kids are spending less
time outside, she said, but
things like computers, video games, air conditioning
and limited recess at some
schools contribute.
No Child Left Inside – a
national movement to get
kids outdoors to learn about
the environment – made its
way to Frankfort in 2010.
Councill began meeting
with educators from public
and private schools, home
schools and Kentucky State
n Fish, swim, paddle, ski,
wade, splash or otherwise
enjoy a Kentucky stream,
creek, river or lake
n Hike, hunt, bird watch,
view elk and other wildlife,
and explore Kentucky’s
natural wilderness areas,
parks, trails, woods, natural
habitats, farms and agritourism establishments
n Bike in safe areas and
routes to schools, recreation
and park areas, neighbor-
hood stores and shops
n Enjoy kid-friendly parks
n Attend school activities,
extracurricular events, and
free play opportunities that
inspire and hopefully instill
a culture of learning that
develop balanced right-brain
and left-brain learning and
promote the concepts of No
Child Left Inside
n Assist, advise and promote
access to outdoor areas and
University, environmental
professionals, community
development and children’s
health providers to kick off
the effort.
He says he was inspired
by Rader’s book “Learning
Redeined” about the need
for right-brained learning in
The group agreed to a pilot program, getting chil-
dren outside for field trips
and camping adventures to
enhance their environmental awareness, and promote
bonding, teamwork and collaboration among students.
The National Audubon
Society, National WIldlife
Federation and the Sierra
Club have all enorsed the No
Child Left Inside movement.
More than a dozen states
– including neighbors Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio
– have adopted a Children’s
Outdoor Bill of Rights to encourage kids to play outside.
Kentucky’s resolution was
originally titled as an “outdoor bill of rights,” but Councill said legislators removed
that wording because they
were concerned about the legal implications.
Fourteen representatives
voted against the resolution
when it irst arrived on the
loor. After the name change,
both chambers passed it
Councill isn’t fazed about
the name change. The support of state lawmakers is
what’s important, he said.
The effort to get kids outdoors also has the backing of
the state education oficials.
The state Board of Education in December voted to
support the Kentucky Environmental Literacy Plan, a
joint effort between the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Environmental Education Council.
The optional plan gives
schools ideas for tying environmental literacy to science
and other subject areas, and
professional development for
Friday, June 29
Franklin County
High School
Luminaria Order Form - Minimum contribution of $10.00 per bag.
MOM | To be walking ‘felt great’
She told The CourierJournal that it “felt great” to
be walking.
Decker, who arrived in a
wheelchair, acknowledged
some discomfort getting
used to the it of the prosthetic, saying: “I’ve been
sitting in this chair for two
months.” She is expecting to
receive a prosthetic for her
left leg.
A tornado that hit March
2 demolished her family’s
former home in Henryville,
Ind., about 20 miles north of
Louisville. She had wrapped
her two children in a blanket
in the basement and blocked
debris from striking them.
Her right leg was amputated
below the knee and her left
leg above the knee. She had
a skin graft last week on her
left leg.
Decker will spend the
coming days practicing
standing and walking on the
leg while using the wheelchair at other times.
Decker could be itted for
the other prosthetic in the
coming weeks, said Matthew Hayden, an artificial
limb specialist working with
her. He was impressed with
her resilient attitude.
“Nothing’s stopping her
now,” he said.
Decker is beneitting from
advances in high-technology
prosthetics developed in recent years through militarybacked research in response
to the signiicant numbers of
amputees from the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Decker said she’s grateful for the
“It’s hard work,” she said
of the therapy, but added:
“It’s my freedom. I’m getting
some of my life back.”
The Deckers now live in
Sellersburg, returning to a
home they had vacated and
rented out after moving to
nearby Henryville.
T.S. Eliot on Why It Is OK To Steal This Information: Resources
In his book of essays The Sacred Wood, T.S. Eliot commented that “Immature poets
imitate, mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it
into something better, or at least something different.” KidsGROWus wants you, the
outfitter or other group reading this eBook, to take our model that we have presented
and “make it into something better, or at least something different.” That is really okay
with us. We really believe in keeping things free and easy to use.
To help you take this information and make it yours, we are providing you with a list of
resources that we found helpful. Will this help you? Maybe, maybe not; it is entirely up to
you what you do with it.
Brady, M. The Road to Hell: Contrarian Comments on Education Reform. E-book
retrieved from
Gladwell, M. (2007). Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Back Bay Books.
Gladwell, M.. (2011). Outliers: The Story of Success. Back Bay Books
Goodenough, E. (2007). Where Do the Children Play?: A Study Guide to the Film.
Wayne State University Press.
Heath, C. and Heath D. (2007). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others
Die. Random House.
Lehrer, J. (2010). How We Decide. Mariner Books.
Louv. R. (2008) Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit
Disorder. Algonquin Books.
Louv, R. (2011). The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit
Disorder. Algonquin Books.
Mlodinow. L. (2012). Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.
Pink, D. H. (2006). A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
Riverhead Trade.
Pink, D. H. (2011) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead
Pope, D.C. (2003). Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out,
Materialistic, and Miseducated Students. Yale University Press.
Postman, N. (1994). The Disappearance of Childhood. Vintage/Random House.
Rader, D. (2010). Learning Redefined: Changing the Images that Guide the Process.
Building Democracy Press.
Ravitch, D. (2010). The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How
Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Basic Books.
Robinson, K. (2009). The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.
Penguin Books.
Seung. S. (2012). Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade.
Cooper, A. (2008). “Children and the Outdoors: State Policy Solutions Guide. National
Wildlife Foundation”. Retrieved from:
Jacobson, C. (2012). “Gray Hairs.” Retrieved from:
Petitjean, H. and Thaxton, J. (1984). “Expedition-Based Education.” Article presented by
the National Association of Canoe Liveries and Outfitters. Self-Published.
Abeles, V. (Producer and Co-Director), & Congdon, J. (Co-Director). (2010). Race to
Nowhere. U.S.A.: Reel Link Films.
Guggenheim, D. (Director). (2010). Waiting for “Superman”. U.S.A.: Paramount Vintage.
White, J. (Executive Producer) & Cook, C. (Producer-Director-Writer). (2001). U.S.A.:
Metrocom International.
Online Videos
Ken Robinson says that schools kill creativity
Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms
Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
Know Your Own Bone
We wanted to share with you one of the
influential writings that inspired us on this
journey. Jim Thaxton and Herb Petitjean
wrote Expedition-Based Education about 25
years ago for the National Science