Our kids grow up, and it happens fast. Faster, in fact, than we as parents can anticipate, and certainly faster than we want. However, it does happen, and even though Hike it Baby welcomes people of all ages and abilities, there comes a time when our families begin to age out of Hike it Baby.
Are You Aging Out of Hike it Baby?
If any of the following apply to you, you may have started to realize that your family is aging out of Hike it Baby:
- Your kid has other interests besides going on a walk or hike: swimming lessons, soccer practice, or parkour.
- Your kid is interested in more complex games and activities than the younger kids.
- Your kid has opinions about what they want to be doing and announce their feelings loudly and proudly. (Ok, this may happen VERY early on with some kids, but bear with me here.)
- It no longer takes an hour to get ready and get out the door from the time you start.
It can be a tough pill to swallow, especially if Hike it Baby events make up a significant portion of your own social life. Moreover, it’s even harder to let go of the fact that our babies are no longer, well, babies.
Everyone warned us it would happen. In the midst of the long nights getting up every hour or two, and the even longer days dealing with small humans learning how to do everything, it doesn’t seem possible. The days and nights stretch on, but before you know it your child is off to school and choosing their own clothes.
How to Stay Involved
You may be wondering if this is you, particularly if you nodded to more than one item on the list above. First and foremost, the good news is that you don’t have to leave Hike it Baby behind. Although our activities are primarily aimed at birth to age 5, people of all ages are welcome to join us.
In fact, here are a few ways that you can continue to be active with us:
- Continue to host events that fit your child and their interests. Park and plays are great events!
- Help your branch team promote Hike it Baby within the community and keep engagement alive in the Facebook group.
- Participate in the bi-annual Hike it Baby 30 challenge events, which encourage families to get outside more for 30 days – 30 miles or 30 minutes 3 times a week.
- And, you can also look into volunteering with the national team or even donating to the organization to keep our mission alive. Click here to learn more about how you can stay involved.
Hike it Baby’s Lasting Impact
If your schedule or interests don’t allow for this, however, don’t worry. Hike it Baby’s goal is to get families outside with their young children and foster a love and stewardship for the outdoors from an early age. If we have helped you do this, then we have been successful. In fact, here are a few signs that our mission is working:
- Kids put higher (or at least equal) priority on time outdoors versus indoors.
- You’ve joined in activities in good weather and bad (within reason).
- Everyone has reconnected with dirt, trees, and things that grow.
- You take the time to investigate leaves, streams, and anything interesting you find in nature.
- Everyone in the family practices the Leave No Trace philosophy and tries to leave an area cleaner than they found it.
- Your family enjoys time together outdoors.
- As a parent or caregiver, you’ve found the value of community and outdoors for yourself as well as your family.
- You have friends or your children have friends that you’ve made through Hike it Baby.
We hope that you continue to practice everything you’ve learned with us. Watching our kids grow up isn’t easy, but Hike it Baby is a gift that will keep giving even as your family ages out of our organization.
From a monetary donation to shopping through donation-based apps, check out all of the ways you can help further Hike it Baby’s mission of connecting families with babies and young children to the outdoors and each other.
About Hike it Baby
Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at HikeitBaby.com, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Human.