A Little About Why We Get Out(side)
By Jessica Yelle (Volunteer and Content Creator)
There is something really beautiful and human about how Jesus would step aside from his ministry to be with His Father in the wilderness (Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12-13, Mark 3:13). When we come home from school for the day, or work, we fall into our pattern of cranking up our music and doing homework, finishing work, cleaning, doing chores, and before we know it we can feel worn and exhausted from a day of doing. The same refuge that Jesus sought after, Urban Mountain Adventures invites our youth to experience: relationship with the Father that sets us apart from the patterns of this world.
There is a reason UMA chooses the outdoors as the vehicle by which to help our youth grow and build community: in the outdoors, we find that our minds are renewed, spirits are refreshed, and our hearts are open to experiencing the love of God in His creation.
Research has shown that spending time exploring and experiencing the outdoors apart from everyday activities increases vitality, sleep quality, and psychological well-being (Triguero-Masa et al., 2017).
Not only does being in the wilderness positively affect your physical health, but it has also been shown to increase your spiritual and emotional health too!
Time spent in the wilderness with community has been shown to improve self-esteem, foster personal, emotional and spiritual growth, and increases self-image, self-confidence, self-control, social and emotional growth(Bragg, Pretty, Roberts & Wood, 2016; Norton & Watt, 2014; Walter, 2013).
Jesus, one with the Father and Spirit, created the outdoors and creation, and I can’t help but think that when He stepped away from His ministry and into the wilderness, that He knew his heart, mind, and soul would be refreshed and reminded of God’s goodness. Let us take the gift that UMA offers and experience a renewed heart and perspective in His wild sanctuary.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” (Psalm l9:-2, New Living Translation).
Barton, j., Bragg, R., Pretty, J., Roberts, J., & Wood, C. (2016). The Wilderness Expedition: An Effective Life Course Intervention to Improve Young People’s Well-Being and Connectedness to Nature. Journal of Experiential Education, 39(1), 59-72.
Norton, C.L., & Watt, T.T. (2014). Exploring the Impact of a Wilderness-Based Positive youth Development Program for Urban Youth. Journal of Experiential Education, 37(4), 335-350. doi: 10.1177/1053825913503113
Triguero-Mas, M., Donaire-Gonzalez, D., Seto, E., Valentín, A., Martínez, D., Smith, G., Hurst, G., Carrasco-Turigas, G., Masterson, D., Van den Berg, M., Ambròs, A., Martínez-Íñiguez, T., Dedele, A., Ellis, N., Grazulevicius, T., Voorsmit, M., Cirach, M., Cirac-Claveras, J., Swart, W., Clasquin, E., Ruijsbroek, A., Maas, J., Jerret, M., Gražulevičienė, R., Kruize, H., Gidlow, C.J., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. (2017). Natural Outdoor Environments and Mental Health: Stress as a Possible Mechanism. Environmental Research 159, 629-638.
Walter, P. (2013). Greening the Net Generation: Outdoor Adult Learning in the Digital Age. Adult Learning, 24(4), 151-158.