National Teddy Bear Day is September 9 and a great way to celebrate is to host a Teddy Bear hike! Check out some of these tips from our members on how to host a successful hike.

Host a Teddy Bear Hike

Molly Colglazier, branch ambassador for the Fort Wayne branch, has hosted two past Teddy Bear hikes. “Before the hike, I mark a path with bright ribbons to lead us to the ‘bear den.’ We read Going on a Bear Hunt, and during that time I have a helper (either a parent or an older kid volunteer) hide the bears in the woods at the end of the path I previously marked. All the bears are in the same spot. After our story, we hike to find our bears. The kids like to keep a lookout for the ribbons. After all the kids find their bears, we hike with our bears for a little bit.”

Nicholl Summers, of the Portland area, suggests knowing your maximum capacity of attendees in advance. “It was such a fun event that everyone wanted to attend and it grew and grew and grew. The first one [at the Newton, Kansas branch] I had about 30 families show up in a very small, brand new branch of fewer than 200 people. So the second time I hosted one in a much bigger branch (Charleston/Lowcountry) of almost 3,000 people at the time. I reached out to some parks and one state park/historical site, in particular, was very accommodating and helpful. They gave us maximum parking capacity, gave us a free permit for a large gathering, and helped direct traffic on the day of the event. We had approximately 250 people [RSVP] and show up. The families that attended had a lot of fun, the historical site was excited about the publicity and revenue from parking fees, and it was a win-win for everyone. If I hadn’t gone into it with the expectation of so many people being interested, it likely wouldn’t have gone so smoothly. I was glad we were able to work with the park so we were able to accommodate everyone and not have to turn anyone away.”

Another way for a fun-filled Teddy Bear hike is to incorporate a story. “I did [a Teddy Bear hike] with the Dayton, Ohio group and we had a parent read Going on a Bear Hunt after we had a picnic with our bears. We then went on a hike and the kids all brought their bears with them on it,” said Jen Taylor, currently of the Conway-Myrtle Beach, SC of the branch.

Member Laura Haugen, of the Capital Region, has also hosted a Teddy Bear hike. Despite dealing with some cold weather, Haugen’s hike was still fun for those who attended. “We read a story while a co-host hid the teddy bears in a maze that is at a local park. It was fun for [the kids] to find them hidden in the maze!”

History of the Teddy Bear

While the teddy bear may be a classic children’s toy, did you know how the teddy bear got its start?

The Teddy Bear was created in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1902, Roosevelt was on a bear hunting trip with the governor of Mississippi. While all of the other hunters in the group had located a bear, Roosevelt had not. When members of the hunting party arranged for a bear for Roosevelt to shoot, he refused. Despite being a big game hunter, Roosevelt viewed this incident as unsportsmanlike. When word spread of the hunting trip, including in a political cartoon, a candy store owner and his wife, who also made stuffed animals, decided to create a stuffed bear and dedicate it to the president. With Roosevelt’s permission to use his name, a toy found in most households today was born.

Roosevelt’s Legacy

Not only has Theodore Roosevelt left his impact with the creation of the Teddy Bear, but he can also be credited with helping to create our National Park system.

Roosevelt used his authority as president to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service. This service established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game reserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments.

Roosevelt was not alone in his conservation efforts. In perhaps one of the most famous camping trips in history, President Roosevelt spent three nights camping with John Muir. During the 1903 camping trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Muir persuaded Roosevelt to return the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to federal protection as part of Yosemite National Park.

In addition to his work in conservation, Roosevelt also helped increase the government regulations and safety standards of food and medicine with the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act. He also led the way to ensure the Panama Canal was built, which created a shortcut between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Whether you host a family Teddy Bear hike or a large event, remember the history of the Teddy Bear and enjoy nature the way Theodore Roosevelt intended us to.

Ready to host a Teddy Bear Hike for your branch? Submit your hike today or learn more about joining the Hike it Baby community!


Image by Kyla Phillips.


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