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Remember a few years ago when I shared with you “The Code” I learned from my dad? Well, that code has been on my mind a lot lately. As I’ve traveled around the western states, I’ve realized that Dad’s beloved adventure code has fallen out of fashion. While I big puffy heart LOVE that more people are getting out and exploring, I’m completely bummed by the lack of respect that is being shown to the land. From talking to my brothers and reading posts from angry outdoor lovers on social media, it sounds like I’m not the only one who has noticed this nasty trend.
I shared some thoughts on this subject last year for Earth Day.
Instead of just sitting here wishing it would get better, I decided it was time to act. I woke up early one morning a couple months ago with an image in my head. I got up and immediately sketched out the idea for an extra special project. My cute friend Lindsey Deschamps of lindseydes.com took my sketch and turned it into a digital illustration. Girlfriend gets my quirkiness and I loooooove her!
After Lindsey finish her part, I sent her digital file in to an embroidery company and dun dun dun duuuuuuuh!
The Adventure Code Patch was born!
Adventure patches have been a tradition in my family my entire lifetime. You can read about our family tradition HERE. There is something magical to a kid as they take an adventure and earn a patch. They gain ownership of their experience, memories, and adventure. My kids can tell you stories behind every patch on their adventure bags and it makes me smile. With those adventures comes a love of nature and an appreciation of the unique beauty we are surrounded with every day. For that reason, I invite you to start creating magic in your own family. It starts with a little teaching.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash puts it best…
So, what is the Adventure Code and how do you teach it?
In Boy Scouts they call it Leave No Trace. For my family, it’s the Code. Whatever you want to call it, the idea is to take adventures without leaving a negative impact. It’s about cleaning up after yourself, being considerate of others, kind to wildlife, and showing respect for the world around you. But, I want to take it one step further.
The Adventure Code to me is about leaving it better than you found it. And, I think it goes for more than just the outdoors. Leaving this earth, your family, your work, your friendships, your sphere of influence better than you found it. I firmly believe that the choices we make today will affect all those who come after us. If we raise our children to be accountable, respectful, thoughtful, and kind… the Code lives on. Kids like that will certainly leave it better, that I have no doubt.
I believe that the outdoors is the ultimate training ground for kids.
By taking hikes, visiting National Parks, going camping, and taking adventures, children have the opportunity to learn life lessons in a variety of environments. By picking up litter along the trail, they learn to respect others and nature. Staring at a huge unpolluted desert night sky full of stars helps a kid feel that the world is bigger than themselves. Cleaning up their own campsite teaches children to be accountable for their actions. Catching a fish and learning correct steps to release it back into the wild helps them feel love for animals and develop kindness. Those lessons and experiences become imprinted in their hearts and go with them the rest of their lives!
Teaching the Adventure Code can happen anytime and anywhere.
Talk about it in the car when your kid throws his fries on the seat. Have a family lesson and then plan an activity together that enforces the principles. Pick up litter on the road outside your house or at the local park. Spend a weekend in the canyon and point out the beauty and the mess left by others. If you find graffiti, show your family and talk about it. But most importantly, teach by example.
To help you in your efforts, I’ve created this Adventure Code Contract!
Download Free Printable Code Contract HERE
When you are having your family council, have your entire family sign this contract then date it. Put it somewhere special where young kids can see it and be reminded of the promise you made as a family.
Then get out there and take some adventures!
Here comes the fun part, you guys!
Instead of just making a few for my family, I made up a bunch of Adventure Code Patches. They are available to purchase in my Shop. When you are out on your adventures and catch your daughter keeping the code, yeehaw! Reward her! She just earned her patch! Make a big deal. Cheer, shout, sing, whatever you’ve got to do! Then help her sew or glue it to her duffle, backpack, or whatever she uses for adventures. Every time that little girl takes an adventure, every time she sees a rushing river or a sunset over a mountain meadow, she will be reminded of what you taught her. And someday down the road, she’ll teach her kids and so on, and so forth.
That my friends, will change the world.
Leave it better than you found it.
It’s so simple and yet the impact is immeasurable.
Teach the code, live it, and pass it on.
Dedicated to my daddy, Jeff Pyne.
You are one in a million.