ST. PAUL - You don't need to leave the city to experience the great outdoors. That's the message Niall Murton with the YMCA wants to resonate with the kids who attend.
Murton says, "We can overcome the barriers, cost barriers, transportation barriers that they may have in experiencing the outdoors."
The CDC says kids spend an average of 6 to 8 hours in front of a screen. That time can double during the summer. There are no screens here this week.
"There's a coined term, nature deficit disorder, and we want to overcome that. Kids are now engaged in screen time watching TVs, on computers, on iPads and they're getting less and less outdoor time. We want to get kids back outside at all times of the year," says Murton.
All the kids here come from within a 5-mile radius of the park. The YMCA hopes they will return with their families to take advantage of the physical and mental benefits that come along with playing outside.
"It shows grades improve when kids spend more time outside. Anytime you're away from screens you've got to engage with people... those social skills grow incredibly. They're making a lot more friends," he continues.
There are typical camp games but in between the kids are finding bugs, fishing and learning about the lake and the effects they can have on water quality.
"Watching them learn in between everything that we're doing is awesome to see."