Kristine issued a challenge to all the Outdoor Blogger Summit members to write a post on their blogs encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. At face value, this should be a simple Challenge, but, for me, it was not. Hopefully, I'll explain it better as you read on.
The news world is full of sobering statistics about the population in general, and our youth in particular, when it comes to our generally unhealthy living habits. Our children are growing up as veritable couch-slugs, addicted to video games, with deplorable diets. The adult population isn't much better, if at all. So, the obvious answer is to get outside, enjoy the beauty that is our natural environment, get the exercise that goes along with it, and live more healthy lives. All of what I've just said is true and, for the most part, inarguable.
I like to think that the blog articles I post (and this applies to ALL our posts) are, in some way, enticements for people to explore the natural world. When I read Wandering Owl's blogpost about walking in woods on a snowy day, reading the tracks in the snow, and spotting a streamside mink - I want to get out and do the same. Same with Murphyfish as he meanders through Wales with Lucy. Lizzy's preparation for her upcoming pike trip got me to go through some of my tackle and prepare for the coming year myself. When I actually get out of the house and get a chance to fish, I 'd like to think that my posts have the same effect on my readers. In some ways I liken our blogs in the same light I view the writings of Travel Writers - I'll read what they have to say about some locale, be it local or exotic, and dream of going there myself. Sometimes, I actually get there. I feel the same when I read all of your blog posts. We are ALL an enticement to get outdoors.
I DO love to take newcomers, be they kids or adults, fishing for the first time. I've written about it, and look forward to doing more of it in the coming months. I believe these experiences do have a positive effect on the people I take out fishing. For some, it might be the beginning a life long appreciation of the Outdoors.
When my son was active in Cub Scouts, I used to take the Den out to the ponds each year to fish and cook hot dogs. It was an annual highlight for a lot of the kids.
There are certainly areas that I could be much more active, and probably attract more people to the Outdoors. I do not volunteer or participate in the local clubs. My excuse is that I simply don't have the time (My job has me traveling almost every week, so the time at home is filled with all the requirements of the family) Still, if the priority was high enough, I'd make time to do more.
So - why is this Challenge such a problem for me?? To put it simply, I feel like what I do on the blog is simply preaching to the choir.
Who comes to view my (our) blog? Other like-minded Outdoorsman. People who already understand the benefits and beauty of being outside. People who may need an occasional boost to get outside (like me) but they inherently get it. My consternation comes from the fact that what I do - for the most part -is with like minded individuals. If I was really going to make a difference - have an effect on the people who DO NOT go outside, and have no inclination to do so - I would be recruiting from a completely different pool of people. Rather than being the featured speaker at a banquet with 150 fly fishermen - which I did last year - I would seek out venues that are attended by people curious about the outdoors, but who have no idea where to start. And, in order to do this, it takes a dedicated effort, and, I believe, more time. Something I'm sadly lacking in.
If our blogs are truly enticements to experience the wonders of the outdoors, then I need to make a real effort to expand my readership, into other areas of the blogsphere. I'm sure there are ways to do this, but I have no clue about how to go about it. Probably just trial and error, something I need to explore more in the coming year. Got ideas for me?? Send 'em my way!
So, while I LIVE for my time outdoors, and try to spread the word wherever I can, this particular challenge brings to light the fact that, if I'm really going to make a difference, I need to expand my audience. I need to go to THEM, rather than continue preaching to the proverbial choir.
This won't be a quick fix by any means, but it seems to have firmly latched onto a space in my brain. Hopefully I'll be able to do something this year to attract people to experience the Outdoors, people who would otherwise never had considered it. If I'm successful in my quest, I'll let everyone know. And I certainly welcome any suggestions from my readers. We all have a love of the outdoors, and I'm sure there are outstanding ideas out there waiting to be shared. Feel free to share them with me.
So, until I figure out how to reach the masses, I hope you continue to follow me on my journey through life. I have a plan to incorporate a lot more photography into my blog this year, possibly starting a second blog just for the photos. Not that I take good pictures - I just like photography with point-and-shoot cameras. We'll catch some fish along the way, see some new sites. Thanks for the continued companionship as I wander through the woods of life.