U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Los Angeles Kids experience their Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW)
Forty Los Angeles-area youths, ages 7-12, experienced the excitement of camping at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area in Lake View Terrace thanks to the long-awaited return of the WOW program. The Wonderful Outdoor World program began in Los Angeles in 1995 and spread across the nation introducing children to the wonders of nature in their own back yards. The program had been in hiatus for two years, so it was a pleasant surprise when Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks asked several agencies, including the BLM and the US Forest Service, to dust off their WOW manuals.
For many of the kids, the WOW camp-out was their first camping experience – and their first night away from their parents. After putting up their tents, the kids were introduced to Leave No Trace principles through a skit called “The Impact Monster.” Much to their delight, they were able to cook their own dinner over hot coals and experience the gooey wonder of s’mores.
After introducing the kids to the BLM, CDDO’s Barbara Croonquist educated the campers on snake safety and identification and let the campers meet several native reptiles up close. To cap off the evening, the kids viewed Saturn through a telescope.
The next day was geocaching, rock wall climbing, hiking, and water fun. Since Hansen Dam has an aquatics center, the kids not only learned how to fish, but actually caught some! Later, under the watchful eye of the Hansen Dam lifeguards and the WOW staff, they learned that it takes teamwork to make a canoe go in the intended direction.
Tired but happy, the kids dragged themselves out of the water and headed home full of happy memories of our Wonderful Outdoor World.
- Barbara Croonquist, BLM California Desert District (July 2012)