Posted by: Kath Usitalo | June 10, 2011

Where Would We Be Without NGOD?

You can fill a sack with your choice of marbles at the museum shop at Greenfield Village, Dearborn


Am I losing my marbles or is there anyone else who doesn’t believe we need a national program to tell us to Get Outdoors?

Back in the day folks spent free time in the great outdoors for the fun of it.

The neighborhood kids would play quaint games like Mother May I and Red Rover. Those were the days before marbles were used to fill decorative vases, when boys had sacks of steelies, cat’s eyes, and aggies (and knew what to do with them). The girls had jump ropes and hula hoops. Everyone rode bicycles and played softball.

In summer there were daylong excursions to parks, the car loaded with picnic fixin’s, swimsuits, and lawn chairs. Some people went camping and fishing.

Believe it or not, human beings initiated these activities, whether it was a couple of families planning a get-together over hot dogs at the grill or mothers pushing the kids out of the house with orders not to return until the streetlights came on.

I’m happy to say that on our little cul-de-sac street our kids played outside with the neighborhood pals for many hours each day, and that’s true for the new crop of young’uns on the block. Their young parents congregate and have informal gatherings on many warm weather afternoons.

Apparently that’s not the norm, and some folks think it takes a government program to motivate Americans to breathe some fresh air. The fourth annual National Get Outdoors Day, June 11, is supposed to inspire an appreciation for, well, getting outdoors.

National Get Outdoors Day (NGOD)
is not to be confused with First Lady Obama’s “Let’s Move Outside” campaign. That’s a different government program with its own website that offers tips like, “Have fun outside and get exercise.”

NGOD partners are the American Recreation Coalition, which is “dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone’s right to health and happiness through recreation,” and the U.S. Forest Service.

Smokey at Greenfield Village: Promoting the Great Outdoors

A whopping 112 sites across the land are officially participating in this effort; 5 of them are in Michigan, including Dearborn, where Smokey Bear will make an appearance at Greenfield Village.

NGOD even has an Official GO Day Troubadour, Joe Reilly. At the website you can hear his song, the cleverly titled “Let’s Go Outside,” which includes the line, “whether you’re in Detroit or Paris, France just go outside.” (Is Paris now a part of the U.S. and NGOD territory)?

An official troubadour is nice, but most importantly, there are the “Top 10 Reasons for National Get Outdoors Day.” Insights from NGOD include:

-Fewer folks are spending time outdoors, especially urban dwellers and minorities.
If you were a kid who lived in a neighborhood where the streetlights just don’t come on, would you step outside? You’d never be let back in the house!

-Volunteers are healthier and, “There are abundant opportunities to get healthy by volunteering on public lands.”
Sounds like my idea of a good time. Hey kids, let’s go clear some brush!

-“America’s youth tell us that we are not reaching them with invitations to be active outdoors because we are not using the communications channels they utilize most” (i.e. text messaging and YouTube).
So it’s government’s fault for not issuing invitations to go outdoors. Invitations?!? Kids want NGOD to Tweet them about going outside?!?

-“Americans are overwhelmed with information over the Internet. Information on what to do and where to do it is available—but we need to help Americans find it!”
Soooo, the tech-savvy masses who spend too much time in front of screens and on electronic communications devices are so bamboozled by the volume of info that they need NGOD to sort it out for them?

You can read all 10 at the NGOD site. And weep.

Just be sure to do it outdoors.


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