10 Reasons Every Teen Should be Hitting the National Parks
Today, being a teenager is tough. Standardized testing, piles of homework, intense sports, 8 hours of work a day, endless college applications, and highlight reels constantly posted on social media, being a high school student is no joke. Finding an escape to the madness can be difficult, but national parks offer the perfect getaway for teens.
Appreciate Nature- A weekend trip to a National Park can allow a student to see the beauty and wonder of the world. Being in a fluorescent lit classroom for 40 hours a week can be exhausting. National Parks offer the perfect adventurous space for students to explore and connect with nature.
Disconnect from Online- With social media, online course work, and Netflix, long hours of screen time are very normal for teens. A getaway in nature is the perfect opportunity to disconnect from all your devices. While many parks have limited cell service, a national park visit is a perfect time to turn off notifications and focus on your surroundings.
Find a New Hobby- National parks offer a range of outdoor activities that may spark a new interest in a high school student. This time of life is the perfect opportunity to start hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, camping, or trying something completely new.
Relieve Stress- Whether hiking up to an incredible view point, or tearing up the dirt mountain biking, the endorphin release that outdoor hobbies offer is an incredible way to relieve stress. National Parks are an ideal spot for teens to take a step away from their insane schedules and just enjoy the moment without any external pressure.
Begin Healthy Habits- Teens can learn from a young age that the outdoors is an effective outlet to deal with stress and anxiety and bring this knowledge with them into adulthood. Every teen copes with their emotions in a different way, and a visit to National Park may be a good remedy to an overloaded schedule.
Plan An Affordable Trip- High school service jobs aren’t known for their high paying wages, so a road trip may be the only affordable way to go on an inexpensive getaway. Park entrances aren’t too expensive, especially if you have a pass, so students can plan an adventurous trip without breaking the bank.
Volunteer and Get Real Life Work Experience: National Park Services offer a realm of volunteer opportunities that include photography, writing, trail maintenance and more. These experiences could help a high school student figure out what they might want to pursue as a career while giving them real life experience. NPS offers volunteers free entrance sometimes for certain volunteer projects. This opportunity is the perfect way to mesh your interests while getting the reward of incredible access to beautiful locations!
Connect With People From All Backgrounds: National parks have a beautiful way of attracting groups of people from all over the US and even globally. Teens can meet some incredible people through a national park visit and see how many people from all over the world join together to experience nature.
Explore the US- Creating a National Park bucket list is a perfect activity for high school students. With lots of vacation days including spring break and other holidays, students can take advantage of their free time and plan some epic trips to see some of the United States’ most beautiful areas.
Start Your Career as an Environmentalist: The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Getting teens involved in the outdoors builds a stable foundation for future environmentalists. When teens see all that the outdoors offer and begin to explore the enchanting lands of National Park, they will want to protect it.
If you are a teen wanting to get involved, desiring to learn more about the outdoors, and becoming an ambassador for these lands, there are many amazing organizations to help join the fight! Sierra Club created a comprehensive list of environmental scholarships that will not only motivate a teenager to think of innovative ways to practice conservation but additionally reward those who have implemented actions into their daily lives to protect the planet. These scholarships range in category from essay writing, to gardening, to supporting minorities and are an amazing incentive to start fighting for the environment from a young age.
If you are a teen already hitting up the national parks, exploring nature, and enjoying the benefits, invite a friend! Inclusion is so important for both teens and the outdoor community. If you are into rock climbing, start a club at your high school. If you love backpacking, create a group to get more people involved. If you love the environment, organize a rally with your peers to stand up for the cause.
So what are you waiting for? Turn your life into a coming-of-age film, prep a playlist, fill up your gas tank, and hit up your nearest National Park for an incredible weekend filled with nature and good company.