Urban Blazers: Introducing City Kids to Nature

About 2 1/2 years ago I went hiking for the first time in my life. My girlfriend—an avid hiker—got me climbing little cliffs and trekking ten miles through the Wissahickon. I'll admit to wearing long pants and sleeves. There are myths you hear about the outdoors. Bugs. Poisonous plants. More bugs. It's enough to make any city dweller run back to their slab of concrete.

But, despite my worries, I wanted to hike—and I love it. Everyone should get the chance to go for a walk with nothing but dirt and grass beneath their feet, while trees surround them at every angle. With the Wissahickon and Fairmount Park as part of our city, there's really no excuse not get to know nature a little better.

That's just one reason I was so happy to come across this Inquirer article on Urban Blazers— a non-profit that takes children hiking, whitewater rafting and even skiing. Here's what the article had to say about the organization's accomplishments:

The nonprofit has made it possible for nearly 3,000 Philadelphia young people to experience nature over the last five years.

"The typical youth does not have access to many things that people in the suburbs have and take for granted," Reuter said. Reuter, who works for a private equity firm in Philadelphia, founded Urban Blazers in 2005 after realizing that much of his own character development and life skills could be traced to experiences in the outdoors.

The story goes on to talk about how excited the kids were to see chipmunks and baby toads. Urban Blazers is showing children that nature is something to embrace. To learn more about Urban Blazers, check out their website or look them up on facebook.