Narragansett Chapter Family Outing Activities
Debbie Mitchell, Subchair
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The Family Outing Committee or FOC was active a number of years ago, but over the last 4 or 5 years has become inactive. A new group of leaders has stepped forward to rejuvenate the committee. If you are interested in participating in one of our activities, please click on the trip listing below. If you are interested in becoming a leader or becoming involved in the committee's work please contact Debbie Mitchell.
The primary goals of the committee are to promote the protection, enjoyment and wise use of the mountains, rivers, and trails of the Northeast. We do so by providing children and their families with the knowledge, skills, opportunities and confidence to enjoy and protect the outdoors.
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Earth Day Planting Project
Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy Inc.
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Three Mile Island Camp
Watch Camping on Three Mile Island on PBS. See more from Windows to the Wild.
Visit Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, an AMC site surprisingly untouched by modernization over the past 100 years. It's campers enjoy swimming, canoeing, sailing, walking and the rustic nature of the island. It is primarily a family orientated vacation site.
2013 Family Adventures
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Rhode Island Great Outdoors Pursuit
||If you missed this family program last year, don't miss the Great Outdoors Pursuit in 2013. The Department of Environmental Management and the Parks Department will be holding the Rhode Island Great Outdoor Pursuit contest. The purpose of the contest is to encourage Rhode Island families to enjoy the recreational resources and outdoor activities our state parks have to offer, and to get moving toward a healthier lifestyle. This is a twelve-week contest that will have you decoding clues, discovering state parks throughout the state and participating in fun activities and challenges - all for a chance to win prizes. All you need is a minimum two-member team (one adult 18 years or older and one child under 18) and the desire to have a great time, all while discovering the beauty and activities in Rhode Island's state parks and natural areas.
For a brief introduction the the event, look at the DEM State website. For a list of the dates see this schedule.
Family Outings Participation Requirements
Trips and activities are open to children under 18 and their parents or legal guardians. A child may attend an FOC trip/activity with another adult if written permission is granted by the child's parent or legal guardian. That adult will be considered the "responsible adult" for the specific trip/activity. The parent or legal guardian must sign a volunteer release agreement for him/herself as well as each child that participates. The parent, legal guardian or responsible adult must remain with the child for the duration of the activity and keep his/her child under their care and control at all times. No child will be allowed to attend any FOC event without a parent, legal guardian or a "responsible adult". Some AMC trips require particular skills, physical abilities or maturity. The trip leader has the right to set minimum standards and may limit participation to children and their families that meet those minimum standards.
What to bring on a Family Outing Committee (FOC) activity
What you bring on each activity will depend upon the specific activity, the locale and the weather. Always check with the trip leader before you leave your home. Below are some basic suggestions that maybe helpful.
- Day pack - a light day backpack is suggested for each adult attending a FOC activity. It allows you to easily store extra clothing, drinks, snacks, etc. for most activities.
- Clothing appropriate for the activity. This may include an extra layer, gloves or a hat. Synthetics will wick water away from your skin and are better than cotton which absorbs water/sweat. Synthetic fleece and wool will keep you warm even if you become wet. Synthetic pants are best for hiking and those designed for hiking are the most comfortable. Rain gear, windbreakers, jackets, hats and mittens/gloves will also be appropriate certain times of the year. If the event involves any physical activity cotton should be avoided.
- Footwear should also be appropriate for the activity. If hiking over rough terrain, hiking boots will provide much better support than sneakers. Sandals or flip-flops should not be used for even short hikes. Also consider heavy or wool socks to provide needed comfort in often heavier hiking boots.
- Drinks/snacks - it is critical that children and adults remain properly hydrated during all outdoor activities. Each participant should have at least a liter/quart of water for each 3-4 hours of activity. Gatorade or any other energy drink that contains electrolytes is advisable. Avoid soda. Fruit juices are also a good choice. Snacks are also highly suggested, especially for children who may need encouragement or energy boasts. Hard candy will commonly provide a quick boast if they become tired during a long trip.
- Other items - insect repellant, sunscreen, personal medications, sunglasses, personal first aid items and cameras are all helpful when outside for any period of time.
Tips to help you plan your outdoor family adventure.
We've all been there, planning a family outdoor outing and wondering how to insure everyone has a great time. Where will we go? What do we need? What if it rains? What if someone is not happy? RELAX, don't stress. This is supposed to be fun, remember? Here are some brief tips to help you plan an outdoor adventure that everyone can enjoy. First, you need to get your head in the 'hiking with kids' zone. It takes a little more planning to have a successful trip when little ones are along.
- Start small: Choose activities that you know are well within your participants' range. Think small effort with a large sense of accomplishment.
- Let the teaching moments happen naturally: When a smart alec asks if you know where you are, use that as an opportunity to teach them about blazes or map and compass.
- Reset your expectations: Forget about the summit and focus on the total experience.
- Plan ahead: anticipate potential discomforts. Carry rain gear if the forecast is iffy. Bring a thermos if it is cold. Look out for blisters. Poor initial experiences can be lasting.
- Chocolate is your friend: Hershey's kisses are ideal for coaxing an extra 1/4 mile from kids. Share them early and often.
- Stick with the familiar: Go places you know and reduce your stress. If you feel it everyone else will be too. Not having to think about the area leaves you free to focus on your family.
- Invite friends: Kids feed off each other and keep each other interested. Allow your kids to bring their friends or invite another family.
- Gear is good: Kids take pride in having their own stuff. Get everyone a pack (lightly loaded) and a hiking pole. Headlamps can be a big hit too.
- Share control: Show kids the map and let them choose the route, let them hold the map (keep a spare) or even lead the way.
- Challenge but don’t over reach: pick destinations that are just a bit out of your family's comfort zone. By giving them small opportunities to achieve they will feel good and return for more.
By focusing on the experience as much as the destination you can build great memories. Manage the details but let the adventure define itself. Your family will have the opportunity to connect while everyone experiences what is most meaningful to them.
See you on the trail!
AMC Outdoors blog, May 13, 2010
||"My mother and I climb mountains." Debbie Mitchell's oldest child, Jen, wrote that sentence on a school assignment when she was eight years old. Jen, now 29, rediscovered the sheet of paper not long ago when she going through a box of things from her childhood. Read the story in the AMC "Great Kids, Great Outdoors" blog, written by Kristen Laine with Debbie Mitchell (our Chapter Vice Chair and Family Outing Committee subchair).
Things you can do outside and places you can go in RI
||No doubt most of you have heard of AMC's No Child Left Inside Initiative in which the club is trying to promote the importance of outdoor activity for young people. The Narragansett Chapter is actively looking for families to join our Family Outing Committee and I thought I'd offer some suggestions for activities you and your family can enjoy - outside. Read the full article by Mark Dennon "No Rhode Island Child Left Inside- A Local Perspective"
One down, forty-seven left.
||On August 22, 2012, my daughters (8 and 10) summitted their first “4,000’er” by hiking to the top of NH’s Mt. Jackson. Reaching the summit marked the achievement of an open ended goal my older daughter set a year ago after we discussed some of the hikes I had recently completed. Upon looking at the topographical map in the lobby of the AMC’s Highland Center, she said, “my first 4,000’er is going to be Mt. Jackson”. Two hours later, when I pointed out Mt. Jackson from the summit of Mt. Willard, nearly 2,000’ feet below Jackson’s summit, she visibly paled and re-considered her decision. We talked about it and agreed that it didn’t have to be done any time soon and that it was an excellent goal to have. By Matt Putnam
Kids Hike The Great Outdoors
By RACHEL CHIARTAS/ecoRI News contributor - Jeanine Silversmith has always loved a good hike....That night, she created a domain for the group that would come to be known as Rhode Island Families in Nature. Read the entire article about starting the Families in Nature hikes.
Other family resources
AMC programs offered for families and their teenagers. www.outdoors.org/education/family-programs
Family Outings Leadership Requirements
- The overall AMC Leadership Requirements and Guidelines will apply to all our leaders.
- Age - over 21 years old,
- Training - must also meet the leadership requirements of the activity he/she is Leading, i.e.; a local hike - the leader must have met the requirements of the Local Hikes Committee, if paddling, then the Paddling Committee, etc.
- First aid - must have a valid Community First Aid certificate or have successfully completed a Wilderness First Aid course within the last 2 years.
- Apprenticeship - must have successfully co-lead two other FOC trips/activities with an approved leader and,
- Approval - must be approved by the Family Outing Committee.
The primary goal for any trip or activity is for participants to have fun and be safe. For this reason, the FOC has established the following minimum standards for all trips:
- Fact sheet - will be prepared for all trips and activities that will include the logistics of the trip/activity, i.e.; time/place/date/directions/itinerary. The fact sheet should also include information about the age appropriateness of the activity and should also include information about what to bring, i.e.; clothing, food, beverage, gear or equipment. Finally, the Fact Sheet should also provide contact information for the trip leaders.
- Two deep leadership - all trips will be lead by at least two AMC leaders and at no time should a leader be left alone with a child. The trip leader must meet all leadership requirements; however the co-leader must be approved by the leader and does not need to have completed all the leadership requirements.
- Trip approval - the FOC must approve all trips.
- First aid - an adequate first aid kit, appropriate for the activity must be easily assessable at all times during the trip/activity.
- Cell phone - at least one of the leaders or a participant must have a working cell phone on the trip or activity.
- Liability waiver - AMC policy dictates that all adult participants must sign a volunteer release agreement. This form must also be signed by a parent or legal guardian for all children attending an FOC trip or activity. If a parent or legal guardian is not joining his/her child, then the liability waiver must be obtained before the trip/activity.
Suggestions for leading a successful trip
- Age appropriateness - when planning a trip consider the appropriate age of participants. A trip that is planned for 3 - 6 year olds may not be appropriate or of interest to teenagers. For this reason the Fact Sheet should mention the targeted age for the activity.
- Trip limits - keep travel time/distance in mind since young children (and their parents) do not generally like long car rides. Also consider the length of the activity, i.e.; 3 - 6 year olds will not be able to hike 5 or 6 miles over rugged terrain.
- Rest rooms - consider trips/activities that have easy access to rest rooms or make sure parents can plan accordingly.
- Early departures - don't start trips early in the morning since most children are not up and about or in best spirits at 6am nor are their parents typically.
- Rewards - whenever possible trips/actives should end with a reward for the children, i.e.; ice cream, a patch or small item recognizing their accomplishment.
- Car access - be sure to plan trips/activities that allow relatively easy access to a participant's car, so parents who must leave the trip or activity early (sometimes children just don't want to participate or may not feel well) won't have to spend 4 hours getting back to their vehicle.
- Clothing - suggest appropriate clothing for the activity. Since a trip or activity may also be new to a parent, helpful suggestions will be appreciated. Also consider things like bug spray or sunscreen.
- Food/beverage - always make sure participates bring water and children are adequately hydrated. Snacks/treats will also sustain a child's energy and disposition.
"Susie if you want to see your doll again, leave $100 in this envelope by the tree out front. Do not call the police you CANNOT trace us, you CANNOT find us. Sincerely, Calvin" -- Calven & Hobbes
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