Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition








The SEFTC encourages member clubs to create programs in their local area in conjunction with schools and local youth-oriented organizations which will encourage kids to explore nature through hiking and biking, thus attacking the issues of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes which are rapidly increasing in the USA.

Journalist Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods was one of the first to identify and articulate well what so many parents, teachers, conservation leaders and others had been feeling—that our children were spending an too much time engaged in the wrong activities. Television, computers, video games, iPods, cell phones and other electronic digital devices have captured our children’s attention. Add to this the many after school programs for children’s enrichment and the loss of much school sports funding and the traditional “recess”, there is little time or opportunity left for “free time” or unstructured play in nature for our kids. Many kids today are missing out on the wonderful world of nature. “We must allow children to experience and love the earth, before we start talking to them about how the earth needs to be saved.” A child’s first discovery of an ant or grasshopper can spark their lifelong love of nature. Rachael Carson wrote, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” The fact is that children need to be better educated in the outdoors, and it should begin early.

The schools, both public and private, have the greatest responsibility for environmental education because of mandatory attendance. However, the hiking and trail maintenance clubs are perfectly situated to aid the local schools in carrying out such programs due to their knowledge of the local trails and the availability of club members who can help lead outdoor trips with school personnel.

SEFTC-associated clubs can give presentations at local schools and youth groups (Scouts, YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.) on outdoor-related topics as well as lead groups of kids on hiking and backpacking trips. Also member clubs can encourage the members’ children and grandchildren to join them on regularly scheduled outings.

Below is a list of several successful programs other like-minded organizations have carried out to reduce nature deficit disorder in kids. Look them over and think of ways your own club could help attack this major issue facing today’s children. Then put together a task force within your club to address the situation. And remember, today’s kids are tomorrow’s members of your club.

Web sites very favorable for this Subject:



SEFTC Biennial Conference January 29-31, 2016 Pigeon Forge, TN


Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition on Facebook




Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition • P.O. Box 1492 Hayesville, North Carolina 28904

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SEFTC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
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