Outside Perspectives gets children active in nature

Outside Perspectives Executive Director Nicky Wood with program and development coordinator Liza Bocchichio.
Outside Perspectives Executive Director Nicky Wood with program and development coordinator Liza Bocchichio.

NEW HARTFORD — Getting children into the outdoors and off of their cell phones is the main mission of New Hartford based organization Outside Perspectives.
While the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization started in 2015, it moved into a physical office in New Hartford late last year.
The organization was co-founded by Executive Director Nicky Wood and Shannon Zich.
“We founded it because, while there are other organizations out there doing outdoor work, a lot of times they have programs for individuals and not pre-existing groups,” Wood said. “We wanted to create an organization that would have programs that have groups working together, whether it would be a youth development organization or a school group. We want to bring those entire groups out on an outdoor trip.”
Outside Perspectives offers programs in camping, backpacking, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing and team building workshops along with multi-element expeditions.
“It’s therapeutic to bring groups together in programs like this,” program and development coordinator Liza Bocchichio said. “We like to get children outside as much as possible because right now this is a time in the world where children are so keyed into their technology that we’ve forgotten how to connect on a human level. That’s why it’s important to bring the youth of today into nature where it is quiet and peaceful. When you connect children early on to outdoor spaces, they are more aware of them and they will think more about conserving them for the future.”
Last year, Outside Perspectives had 100 youth participants in its programs for a total of 2,833 hours immersed in the outdoors.
The organization serves youth from the seventh grade up to 22 years old.
“Most of our programs are fairly local,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of beautiful outdoor spaces in Connecticut that almost nobody knows anything about. Introducing children to local places is important to us so, when they are on their own, they can figure out how to get outside and have that be a coping mechanism. For them to say they can go for a hike and that they know where to go. That’s important.”
For more information on Outside Perspectives go to www.outsideperspectives.org.