Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
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Photo Credit: Alicia Wellman

Getting Kids Back to Nature

Nature-Deficit Disorder. Children and teens spend less and less time outdoors, despite its many benefits. It’s a fast-growing national problem our Foundation is working to solve in Florida.

Supporting youth is one of our most heartfelt initiatives. Florida’s young people deserve easy access to Nature and the delight of embarking on outdoor adventures, alone or with family and friends, regardless of family income or situation.

That world is slipping away. The average child’s physical world is only half as large as it was 15 years ago. In a typical week, only six percent of 9 to 13-year-olds play outside on their own, and the average youth spends 53 hours per week indoors using electronic media. Yet 90 percent of children and teens say if a friend got interested in fishing, camping or other outdoor activities, they would too.

We’re working to reverse this trend. We are Florida’s largest private funder of youth outdoor education and work closely with the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, a consortium of 300+ private and public partners providing formative outdoor experiences annually to more than 200,000 Florida children and teens. Our Foundation and donors provide the summer camp scholarships, school field trip funds, outdoor gear and educational materials needed to raise a new generation that learns from and loves the outdoors.

 “FWFF is the largest private funder of outdoor youth education and recreation in Florida, helping provide 200,000 children and teens annually with formative outdoor experiences.”

A gift of $200 allows a child to attend a week-long summer camp. $500 pays for the buses and substitute teacher needed for an entire class of students and their teacher to spend a day outdoors at a conservation center.

We are also mid-way through a $4.8 million renovation and expansion of the historic Everglades Youth Conservation Camp in Palm Beach County. More than 25,000 children and teens have attended EYCC since the early 1960’s. The $2 million left to raise will help us and FWC build 10 new wheelchair-accessible cabins to more than double the camp’s overnight capacity to 240 beds.

We’re also planning for long-term: funded by outright and planned gifts, the Children and Nature Endowment will provide permanent funding for Florida’s nation-leading youth outdoor programs and help them remain vital and strong for generations to come.

To learn more about these projects and make a contribution, click here.

Want more information on FWC camps? In addition to the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp, FFWF supports these other FWC flagship camps:

Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center (Lamont)
Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center (Tallahassee)
Ocala Conservation Center (Silver Springs)
Suncoast Youth Conservation Center (Apollo Beach)
Tenoroc Youth Conservation Center (Lakeland)

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