I have always enjoyed the outdoors and being active. It was natural then that I would try to instill those values in my children. From a very young age my wife and I have stressed the importance of incorporating physical activity into our daily routine. We have made it a commitment in our lives and a part of our family activities. Many of our vacations were “active vacations”. These include skiing or whitewater rafting in pristine wilderness, cycling in Italy or camping and enjoying the mountains. I have felt it’s important to instill a respect and admiration for the beauty and wonder of the natural environment. I have been able to enjoy unique experiences with my family while at the same time feeling energized and refreshed. We have formed healthy memories that I know have helped contribute to the self-confidence, maturity, and stability of my children. Rather than simply telling them to respect our world, my wife and I have tried to share that value by living it with them. It has been part of our family bond and I believe it will live on with them as an important memory of their childhood.

Though my children are now young adults, we still continue to share this love for the outdoors and pursue an active lifestyle. We have met interesting people who have touched our lives. We have developed lasting friendships while sharing our love for the outdoors. In these times of instant communication and constant entertainment we can lose touch with the simple joy of physical exertion and personal accomplishment one feels when immersed in “Nature’s outdoor gym.” While it has been important to my family, I think it is important to the mental and physical health of all Americans.

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