L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools Promote Outdoor Activities

Freeport, Maine-based L.L.Bean announced plans to launch over 40 new course offerings through its popular Outdoor Discovery Schools.

Ranging from multi-day expeditions to free clinics in the store, all programs are designed to help families discover new outdoor activities and learn fresh skills in outdoor recreation.

With activities such as geocaching, day hikes, and stargazing, to overnight kayaking excursions and programs for corporate and private groups, the Outdoor Discovery Schools courses have been enhanced to celebrate the company’s 100-year legacy with the outdoors.

According to a recent survey from L.L.Bean and the National Park Foundation, 60 percent of parents say their children spend less than an hour a day outdoors.

As we leap into spring, L.L.Bean reminds families that longer days and warmer weather provides great opportunities for families to get outside and discover something new.

“Getting your children outside does not have to mean going for a long hike or needing expensive equipment, it can often be as simple as pitching a tent in your own backyard,” said Rob Hutchison, Outdoor Discovery School Instructor at L.L.Bean.

“By engaging your kids in the outdoors and making activities both educational and fun, they are more apt to develop a love of the outdoors and a desire to stay active.”

L.L.Bean offers the following tips for several popular springtime activities that will help your family have more fun the next time you venture outdoors together:

The Sunny Day Rule: Now that the weather allows, encourage the “sunny day rule.” When the sun is shining, unplug. This will get kids (and parents) away from the television, computer, and video games and into the backyard.

Clouding and Stargazing: These activities can be done from your own backyard with no equipment required. Pique your children’s interest in weather, the atmosphere, and space by creating a game identifying the various types of clouds and going out into the night to gaze at the stars and constellations overhead.

Birding: Turn your backyard into a bird-friendly habitat. Birding is a family-friendly activity for those living in the city, suburbs, or country. Back yards are a great place to create a safe place for birds to feed and nest. In addition to getting your family outdoors and identifying the various birding species, the maintenance aspect of this activity, including cleaning out feeders and nesting boxes, provides a good lesson in responsibility for children.

Biking: Fun, not fitness, should set the pace for family cycling. Teach good road habits and hand signals in an empty parking lot. Play follow-the-leader on the painted lines to practice accurate steering, control, and balance. And, always remember to wear a helmet.

Family Camping: It’s important to involve children early in your plans for family camping, allowing them the opportunity to engage in exploring different possible destinations and the trip prep process. Practice setting up a campsite in your backyard and teach the importance of “Leave No Trace” principles.

Discover the National Parks: The U.S. National Park Service National Park Week is April 21-29. During this week, more than 350 national parks offer free admission.

Let's Go to RVing to Joshua Tree National Park, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

L.L.Bean offers a great opportunity for children and families to participate in a wide range of outdoor recreation with its Outdoor Discovery Schools. Expert guides provide instruction at all levels, providing an easy and affordable way to learn more about a favorite activity or try something new for the first time.

Opportunities to learn new outdoor skills are also available—for free—at L.L.Bean retail store locations every week through in-store clinics.

L.L.Bean is on a year-long mission to re-ignite America’s love of the outdoors during its 100th Anniversary year in 2012. To help encourage families to explore the outdoors together this spring, L.L.Bean is giving away more than $100,000 in outdoor gear and Outdoor Discovery Schools experiences through the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway. As part of the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, for every day in 2012, a deserving group or individual will be selected to receive L.L.Bean gear or an Outdoor Discovery Schools experience (valued up to $500).

In addition to the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, L.L.Bean is donating $1 million to the National Park Foundation through its Million Moment Mission—a year-long campaign designed to encourage individuals to share their outdoor “moments” with L.L.Bean.

Details

L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe.

The 200,000 square foot L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year.

Website: llbean.com

Worth Pondering…

It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.
—Claude Bernard

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