Kids Need The Outdoors

These are exciting times at Fish’n Canada—we’ve finally launched our new and vastly improved website! It just dawned on me, if you’re reading this it means that you already know that. So let me just welcome you back to Fish’n Canada’s digital home.

For those of you who may be newbies here on this site, thanks for taking your first step into my world. My name is Angelo Viola of the Fish’n Canada Show fame. I’m the fishing dude that you inadvertently stumbled across on television early one Saturday morning as you navigated from Bear Paws to CTV Weekend Update. I’m that guy you may have seen at a gas station or grocery store or at a hockey game and said to yourself, “I know him, that’s… that’s… oh man, where do I know him from?” Well, that’s me!

You could say I’m one of the faces on Canadian Fishing’s Mount Rushmore. I’ve been quietly plying my craft as a TV fishing show personality for the past 35 years. Yes, that qualifies me as an old fart—but it also means I know my way around the outdoors. And that’s what I’d like to talk to you about. Actually, I’d like to talk about you and the outdoors.

The Fish’n Canada Show host Angelo Viola with grandson Nik in the 2013 episode, “Trips Are For Kids.”

As a kid growing up (no, this is not about walking to school uphill both ways), the outdoors was where I spent most of my waking hours. We ventured out first thing in the morning and, aside from five hours or so of school, the rest of my day was spent in green places. That’s approximately six to seven hours spent in the great outdoors every single day.

Recently, I was shocked to read a survey which showed that, on average, Canadian kids between the ages of eight and fifteen spend less than an hour per day outdoors while inmates at maximum security prisons in North America are guaranteed at least two hours of outside time per day. In case you think you read that wrong, that’s inmates—people whom we have incarcerated for committing a crime against society. Apparently today we are more concerned that a murderer, a rapist, or pedophile receives exposure to Mother Nature’s beneficial elements than we are about our own children.

Something is broken. Maybe it’s a millennial thing, maybe it was my group—the much-maligned baby boomers—that started it. But regardless of who’s at fault, it’s going to take all of us to figure this thing out and get it fixed. Our kids’ future may depend on it. Let’s use this site and this blog as our think-tank and connection to share ideas.

Let me be the first to throw in my two-cents’ worth: The way we’ve been going about this is all wrong. The internet is not going away anytime soon, so to ask our youth to leave it is ridiculous; they will not give up the incredible connectivity that they enjoy every day, nor should they. So, let’s not ask them to disconnect. Let’s ask them to connect—connect with the outdoors.

Please share your thoughts and suggestions with us.

Angelo Viola

3 Replies to “Kids Need The Outdoors”

  1. Yes Angelo,”Let’s Connect the Dots”, before it is too late….?!!

    It seems for the past three decades or so, parents have been indoctrinating their children with every type of electronic gadget imaginable. Literally putting their child’s “nature based” abilities and humanistic qualities at risk of becoming extinct. Leaving them unable to think for themselves. Having learning experiences by immersing themselves in the great outdoors is of vital importance and brings in some well needed reality to what has become a virtual world of avatars and computer animation.

    One instance instance I experienced a few years ago had me in complete shock. While out and about, I notice a mother had given her young child of about 2 years old her cell phone to play with, which kept the little girl very quiet and occupied. To my utter astonishment I could see the child was free wheeling it on a video game in record time….WHAT !!! Is it actually getting that bad!? Well, Yes !! In this modern day and age parents are actually raising their kids to adulthood with Electronic “virtual world” Gadgetry!? These are the new millennium Babysitters of the computer age that could rob them of precious life experiences!

    As you stated Angelo, “The internet is not going away anytime soon, so to ask our youth to leave it is ridiculous; they will not give up the incredible connectivity that they enjoy every day, nor should they. So, let’s not ask them to disconnect.”….Okay then, I say it is up to us outdoors men and women to convince them to strike a balance in their lives by lead by example.

    My wife and I have gained immeasurable pleasure on every fishing trip just by looking outside the angling bubble. We have been up close and personal on may occasions with thousands of White Tail and Mule deer, hundreds of Sand Cranes, dozens of humming birds of all types, Bufflehead Ducks, Killdeer, Caspian Terns, Bald Eagles, Wild Turkeys, Turkey Vultures, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red Headed Woodpeckers, Northern Mockingbirds, Northern Orioles, Canvasback Ducks, Horned Grebes, Trumpeter Swans, Tundra Swans, Mute Swans, Snow Geese, Scarlet Tanenger, several lively Chipmunks who literally eat from you hand, gigantic moose and wolves. A real “natural” attraction of sorts.

    Now the scenery in all cases is something else. Honestly let me tell you, I have seen nothing more awe inspiring than the place they call “Ten Mile Point” on highway 6 up on Manitoulin Island, right here in Ontario. It literally brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The sheer beauty of that entire Island is overwhelming.

    But let us get back to the residential district for a moment. Whether it be taking your kids fishing to a local park, driving them around the city, picking them up after school, on vacation or relaxing in your back yard, it is all right there in front of their noses. All they need to do is take a step back and look up from their computerized world once in a while.

    I will let you all in on one of our little urbanized secrets. Over the years since my wife and I have moved to our 7th floor apartment we have had several huge avian friends fly by on their way to and from the Credit River and Bronte Creek, in the morning and evening, to the point we could actually set our clocks by their timely fly pasts. No, these were not Pterodactyls. They were actually, Great Blue Herons, Black Crowned Herons and Egrets, but this is not the end of the excitement….Paying us numerous visits were Whopping Cranes, Red Tailed Hawks, Red Shouldered Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Turkey Vultures and Osprey which displayed their acrobatic skills for our viewing pleasure. In the fall of the year, the entertainment venue was taken over by what appeared to be unending flocks of migrating Blue Jays.

    So as I see it Angelo, you are 100% correct, something is broken. Maybe it is a millennial thing, maybe it was our group—the much-maligned baby boomers—that started it. But regardless of who’s at fault, it’s going to take all of us to figure this thing out and get it fixed. We adults seem to be out of touch with these computerized youngsters. It’s time we tell the kids where it’s at, man. Can you dig it? That’s cool! Groovy! Far out! I’m hip! I’m down with it! So, Let’s burn some rubber and blow the doors off this thing!

    Oh before I forget, thanks for the autograph Angelo and hang loose!

    1. Okay Ladies and Gents, allow me to hit you with another “My wife and I” response when it comes to connecting with these youngsters, who are apparently real competitors in this day and age of video gaming.

      I don’t know which one of us came up with the original idea, but I feel it would be a boon into bringing these kids some experience in the “Great Outdoors”. Anything to strike a balance in their lives.

      Way back when, we decided to throw in a bit of competitiveness into our fishing experiences
      by introducing “THE TROPHY”. No, not the fishy type but an actual trophy! One for first place, the other for second. They are not huge by any means (3″h x 4″w), but one is a little fancier than the other. Each time we head out on our fishing adventure, first place is on the line. Believe me, my wife has become quite the competitor by kicking my butt numerous times. Bragging rights definitely have their advantages in this home, as I well know.

      It would be great if other families adopted this same idea when out fishing or enjoying other like minded activities. You could definitely turn it up a notch by having a trophy not only first and second place, but third as well. They could be any size….usually the bigger the better. Add a family engraving to the bowls like, “The Bowman Walleye Derby” or “The Viola Bass Tournament”….whatever you would like. I don’t think the kids could resist the temptation to outdo Mom and Dad. Hey, maybe even your neighbors can get in on the action!!

      Teaching these kids all about good sportsmanship and giving them a sense of pride in their accomplishment while getting them outdoors, is a great benefit to their well being and development. Besides, their computers will have a chance to cool down.

      So, how about it Mom and Dad? Does a family “Bass Masters Tournament” sound like fun? Can you handle the pressure? Are you up for some generational competition? I can say from experience, “THE TROPHY” has really put a shine in our life style.

      By the way Pete and Angelo, can you guys handle the pressure?

Leave a Reply

Back to top