Colorado Mountain Club Honors Lt. Gov. O’Brien

Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien wrapped up her statewide, four-month-long Colorado Kids Outdoors Tour with an address to about 150 people at Golden’s Colorado Mountain Club on Wed., Sept. 23. This was the largest group to hear O’Brien’s message on an 11-stop tour designed to find out what communities are doing to reconnect kids to the outdoors and to discover any barriers that keep children from engaging in outdoor activities. A report on the tour is expected later this fall.

Lt. Gov. O’Brien, center, with Colorado Mountain Club Education Director, Brenda Porter, left, and Colorado Mountain Club CEO, Katie Blackett, right.

“Colorado has a culture of outdoor recreation and active living that gives us our reputation as one of the healthiest states in the nation,” said O’Brien. “But that reputation and culture is at risk as kids are spending half the amount of time outside as they did 20 years ago. Childhood obesity rates have doubled in the same amount of time.”

O’Brien noted that children who participate in outdoor activities are more likely to be well-behaved and ready to learn and to have better senses of balance than children who don’t.

National studies indicate that children spend an average of six and a half hours a day connected to electronics.

Colorado Mountain Club CEO Katie Blackett honored the lieutenant governor for her “continued leadership in encouraging healthy citizens and environmental stewards through experiences in nature and Colorado’s great outdoors.”

Lt. Gov. O’Brien addressing the students of Mitchell Elementary in Golden.

“Using the power of nature to awaken a child’s senses, curiosity and desire to learn is a powerful, inexpensive tool to educate our children,” said Blackett. “We can’t afford to ignore our children’s obesity rates nor their unawareness of the outdoors. Getting kids outdoors can change their lives.”

As a direct result of the Colorado Kids Outdoors Tour, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office has created the Colorado Kids Outdoor Bill of Rights, which lists 10 things Colorado kids should have an opportunity to do outside before they grow up.

Sixth graders from Mitchell Elementary in Golden attended the session and thanked O’Brien for developing the Colorado Kids Outdoor Bill of Rights. The list was based on suggestions sent from kids statewide, and is available at www.colorado.gov/ltgovernor under the Kids & Outdoors button.