It’s finally starting to feel like Spring! The birds are chirping. The sun is shining. Winter coats have been put away and stored for the season because all that’s needed right now is maybe a light jacket. These are the days where it’s hard to sit inside a classroom or an office. The change in weather makes you feel like you just HAVE to be outside. You have to take advantage of every warm, sunny, glorious minute.
As a culture, we have moved away from valuing time outside. Smart phones and streaming services have captured our attention, so that even when we are outside, we are often looking at a screen. Technology has done great things for our world, but it’s important to still find the space and the time to go outside. To immerse yourself in the world and in creation.
Often, when you talk to kids or adults, the natural world is a place where they connect best with God. When the screens are turned off and the distractions put away, we find God’s character on display in the world around us. We see God’s love in the intricate design of creation – the way every thing has a part to play. We see God’s affection for us in the beauty of a flower or a sunset. We see the way God clothes the flowers and takes care of the birds and we are reminded of Jesus telling us, “Will God not also take care of you?”
Studies also show that going outside improves our physical and mental wellness as well. Spending time outdoors promotes exercise, increases Vitamin D, and lessens anxiety. The more you study the benefits of going outside, the more you can see that God designed the world around us with intention, knowing that we needed these things. God gave us other good gifts too, like the gift of rest and sabbath, the gift of community, and the gift of pleasure and beauty. The whole world was created with you in mind, and God wants you to enjoy it!
So whether you are standing at the base of a mountain, paddling a river, hiking a trail, riding your bike through the city, splashing through Bear Creek, marveling at the inside of Horsethief Cave, or staring up at the starry night sky, we invite you to go outside! Take advantage of the world God has given us. And of course, come join us at summer camp. No one is trapped at a desk, wistfully gazing out the window, when they are at camp. Come rain, sunshine, or clouds, we are outside, immersed in God’s creation, soaking up the sun, making friends, and loving everything that the world has to offer us right here in Eastern Iowa!