Coillte outdoor skills scheme - Outdoors focus

MOST people of a certain age will remember with fondness a childhood of climbing trees, swimming in lakes and rivers, trekking through the woods or “camping” for the night in their own gardens.

Even urban dwellers had the joy of kicking a football or wielding a hurley in their neighbourhoods.

Sadly, street kids have given way to screen kids and the result is that around half the children of Ireland spend less than 30 minutes a day on outdoor activities, preferring to spend their timed glued to their video games.

A study by the forestry service Coillte shows that two in three Irish children have never pitched a tent. It is little wonder that child obesity is a growing problem here.

Achieving a balance between technical education and physical development is a constant challenge for parents and educators.

Coillte yesterday launched a national programme to help children learn outdoor skills. While we cannot turn back the clock to the childhood of yesteryear, this initiative will help thousands of children to embrace the great outdoors.


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