My most vivid memories as a child are of the vacations my family would take in the summers. Watching Old Faithful explode at Yellowstone National Park, searching for banana slugs and trees that I could walk through in Yosemite, and getting followed by a curious black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains are a few that stand out. Sorry Mickey and Minnie, my family didn’t do Disney. Instead, we opted for experiences that got us outside and into nature. We went canoeing down the crystal clear Guadalupe River, hiking deep canyons in the Chihuahuan desert and wade fished for speckled trout in the Laguna Madre. We by no means had a lot of money to help facilitate our adventures, but my parents were really good at stretching the dollar. And guess what, a campsite is much cheaper than a hotel room!
Growing up, my mother was a high school science teacher, so I frequently got to tag along on weekend field trips. She taught all subjects from Biology and Chemistry to Astronomy and Marine Biology. I got to experience the wonder of NASA and seine for marine specimens off Padre Island. One trip that stands out more than others was a beach clean-up on Matagorda Island. I credit this trip with fueling my interest in the global trash dilemma and the importance of recycling. The fragility of nature and working to protecting it became much more of a concern to me. Later in life I would force myself to go to my local landfill to dispose of my own trash to remind myself what we were doing to our environment.
I attended the most amazing summer camp for 7 summers during my youth. Rocky River Ranch in Wimberley, Texas holds a very special place in my heart. The values I learned there could not have been learned watching TV or playing video games. I spent those summers horseback riding, fishing, doing arts and crafts, and learning archery. And the coveted prize for cleaning your cabin the best was a swimming trip to the famous “Blue Hole”! I cannot wait for my daughters to attend this summer camp and see how it impacts their lives.
Thankfully my husband and I share the desire to raise our kids with a deep appreciation of and respect for nature, and the importance of being good stewards of the earth. I’ll admit, it was probably easier for our parents to ensure we got outside. For us as parents now, its seems like an impossible task to get them off electronics and out into nature. But that is our job, and in our opinion, one of the most important things we can do as parents. CazaKidz is our attempt at making our desire a reality, please join us on our journey!
As my husband would say, Onward and Upward!
CazaKidz Founder & CEO