Saturday, February 6, 2010

OBS Challenge - getting people outside more often

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.



Kristine Shreve said...

Great post, and you touch upon something that I struggle with too, which is the fact that we are preaching to the choir. Some of us, Jody at The Hunters Wife, for instance, have made inroads into other areas, so it can be done. I might have to do a post on this topic, so thanks for putting the idea in the forefront of my mind again.

Great post, and thanks for participating in the Challenge.

troutrageous1 said...

A thought provoking dialogue you presented. A start (keeping it electronic) may be to approach the hoards of "mommy blogger" out there. I have a 3 year old daughter and my wife probably reads as many mommy blogs as I do outdoor blogs. Just do a google search, and you'll see what I mean.

Offer to do a guest post, especially if you find one that's "local"...perhaps a simple intro to fishing - what you need, where to go - for a family friendly never know what kind of response you'll get. If you get the moms, you may be able to get some of the kids while they are young.

Just an idea, obviously the answer to your question isn't simple.

Brenda said...

I'd like you to do a guest post on my blog The blog is very new but its purpose is really no different than your own: get people off the couch and doing something that does not involve electronics.

If you would like to wait a little until I get more active on my blog I'll understand.


Wolfy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wolfy said...

(I deleted the previous post - made by me - because I didn't proof it and it looked horrendous.)

Krisitine - thanks for the push to write the Challenge. The brain needs exercising as well as the body.

Trout - The guest post idea is a great one. And, if you tap into the Mommy Blog circuit, you'll have NO shortage of readers!!

Brenda - thanks for the offer. I'll be in touch to arrange a post.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Wolfy. I'm in the same boat sometimes - where is the time?

You do a great job of getting people interested in the outdoors, especially with fishing at the lakes. In my opinion, you are doing what you can, and a lot of it!

Cross-over blogs may be another way of going about it. And sounds fun! But again,'s in short supply it seems these days.

Mel said...

Wolfy, I apologize for being a bit tardy to post a comment on your latest blog post. I believe you have articulated things very well. Certainly, we who blog about the outdoors, are "preaching to the choir". But, I sure get really excited when a new reader or commenter stops by my blog and joins in the conversation. This goal of getting more involved with the great outdoors is a major hill to climb. I know that you and many of our fellow bloggers will make strides in 2010 to accept the challenge ahead of us. Lets continue to communicate via our blogs, sharing our experiences, what works and what didn't as we go along. We will progress!

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

This post reminds me of one of my friends, Jasen, who lives in Houston. He has a huge boat, and a non-profit called Fishers of Men. It's not a christian deal, but instead, he and a couple of his good friends take at-risk youth fishing in the Gulf.

Sweet stuff, that!

Rebecca said...

I read this earlier, thought I would ponder it a bit and then come back ~
You make so many good points in your entry. I know that many of us who are reading this are already outdoors people, but like you said, when I read other peoples thoughts and experiences, it encourages me to get out even more. A lot of the outdoor experience is passed down through our families, so I believe it's so important for parents to get our kids outdoors. Kids are a great place to start....
As for exposing more people via the online platform that aren't already into the outdoors, I'll be thinking about it. Lots to think about! You've stirred the thought pot =)