The facebook page allowed us to gather and discuss ideas this summer. I was just so thrilled to see it take off the way it did. Your cooperation was the key. Thank you for your time, energy and encouragement. I look forward to learning more as the days go by. The ning page for the Children and Nature Network seems like an even more focused place for our group to gather. I hope that you will take the time to add ideas and concerns here.
I appreciated the strings I had seen on the facebook page and am curious to see how well ning works. I'm a little leery of having yet another thing to check, but willing to give it a go.
All of the topics from the other site were relevant for our central PA area, including the all dressed up with nowhere to go problem -- we race around getting ready, trying to be sure we're ready with anything anyone new might need (not my strong suit anyway), and then no one shows up. Or just the frustration of coordinating a bunch of mutually exclusive schedules.
We have for the past year been trying different variations of outdoor playgroups, or just outing email lists, through our local recreation authority. In order to cover administrative and insurance costs, we do have to charge $1.50 per person per event, up to a cap of $6/family/event. That is something of a deterrent to folks who were quite happy to just show up on a more casual basis, but in theory it gives us a lot more exposure and advertising, not that it has translated into large numbers -- yet.
We also have a bit of culture clash here. Half the families show up in massive pickups and are all in camoflague and talking about different hunting seasons and the other half drives up in their compact cars, discussing strategies to figure out how to avoid hunting and still get outdoors in the fall and winter. Snack time comes and out come the water bottles and endlessly packaged processed foods on the one hand and on the other, the canteens and homemade snacks. It's a little bit of an insuperable divide. There's so much baggage and assumptions that go along with it all. It sounds like a cliche and stereotypes (on both sides) but I guess we are all caricatures of ourselves.
On that note, does anyone feel like they're in competition with the scouts? That seems to be the default answer here for getting outside. We'd prefer it to be multi-age and not gender segregated, but that seems to be what everyone expects. Is anyone working with the scouts?