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Cheers to Five Years! Thrive Outside Stretching Towards the Sky.

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

The table was a mess…dinner dishes amiss, 5 kids – some running, some yelling, and my husband was away.

I found myself cradling my head in my hands and thinking about a seed.

They say that it holds all the energy it needs to emerge from the soil and to stretch itself towards the sun.

In that moment, weary of the path that I had been traveling down, I felt like the seed, and the energy was building inside of me ready to burst.

I knew deep down that this inner tension – this passion – this dream - that I had yet to understand and yet knew with certainty existed, needed to be released.

At the dinner table that night, I decided it was time.

I wanted to give back all the good fortune that I had received in my life - to feel alive - to thrive.

With the guidance of a life coach, I made a vision board that I found myself filling with children looking up, thrusting their hands towards the sky.

Dreaming on the vision board.

I then realized that the children were the energy and the sprout that needed to emerge. I wanted them to thrive.

Not only thrive, but to thrive outside!

And so, the seed broke open and began its journey to the surface, and Thrive Outside was born.

The Eureka moment when the name revealed itself!

I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to thrive outside as a kid. Something changed in me as I stepped outside and breathed in the fresh air. Outside was freedom. Imagination. Beauty. Over time I developed a close relationship with nature.

Me, as a kid, thriving outside.

Today, many children are not given the opportunity to thrive outside, and some don't even have safe access to the outdoors. Our culture has become increasingly indoor-oriented with much focus on technology and structured extra-curricular activities for kids. At school, the days are planned to the minute. Recess periods are cut short and time outside for hands-on learning is often considered a luxury most teachers cannot afford.

I wanted young people everywhere to have the opportunity to fall in love with nature like I did, and to thrive through that experience.

The dream becoming a reality.

Thrive Outside became collective energy pushing and propelling the sprout to burst through the surface.

Officially founded on December 19th, 2017, we had three, pilot, schoolyard Outdoor Learning Zone projects by January 2018.

We knew that we were on to something...

Especially when we started making the news!

Our founding board members (minus a few).

Our organization and movement gained momentum as other ideas were set in motion such as our outdoor education teacher training, and our events such as the Amazing Adventure at Blithewold, Thrive Outside in the Mud, and the Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt.

When Covid forced us all to pause, we actually found ourselves moving to the forefront! The outside became the "new inside", and people all across the globe were looking to the outdoors for solace and safety. We responded with a “Build Your Own Obstacle Course at Home" contest, “Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunts”, and a “Reimagined Family Hike Series”.

Thrive Outside has now grown into a community of like-minded people who rally around providing access to nature for all children and teens. Along the journey Thrive has been nourished with words of wisdom from friends and colleagues, with passion and expertise from our board members and volunteers, and with amazing talent and dedication from our staff members and consultants.

Our Thrive Family!

We are united in our belief that our young people thrive through a deep connection and understanding of the natural world around them, and that they will be the environmental stewards of our future.

One of our recent family hikes!

Thrive Outside now stretches towards the sky sturdy and strong just as those children from my vision board years ago. The seed's energy has been released and we feel the warmth of the sun.

Wishing you time to thrive outside,

Shannon Rozea

Founding Director and Landscape Architect

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