We have to develop breakthrough approaches for understanding and overcoming the barriers to youth participation in traditional outdoor activities, then create destinations that are magnets for our young people. In other words, make them want to go outside. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has designed a program, the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCC) that will do that.
The FYCC establishes a statewide network of youth centers. There will be “Near Outdoors” Centers that provide outdoor experiences that are closest to the children in their day-to-day urban setting. Near Outdoors Centers will be provided by partnering with existing youth organizations such as Boy Scouts, 4H, parks and recreation centers, churches and in-school programs. “Wild Outdoors” Centers will be located within 45 minutes of major urban centers and offer deep woods experiences-fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. Through effective partnering with schools, communities, youth organizations, volunteers, land owners, and donors, we will “connect the dots” between our partner programs in the Near Outdoors programs and the Wild Outdoors centers that will enrich and expand participants understanding of conservation and natural Florida.