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Generation Wild

Connecting Youth and Families to Colorado's Beautiful Outdoors

Article by Cassandra Green

Photography by Provided by Great Outdoors Colorado

Originally published in Parker City Lifestyle

Great Outdoors Colorado has a mission to preserve, protect and enhance Colorado’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. They are funded entirely by the Colorado Lottery and they are responsible for a statewide coordinated effort to help connect youth to the outdoors through Generation Wild.

Jackie Miller, the executive director at Great Outdoors shares Generation Wild’s vision to inspire an entire generation to play and make outdoor activities an active part of their daily life. Generation Wild aims to make the outdoors accessible for youth and families by providing tips and tricks to get outside more.

“Time outside helps reduce stress and anxiety. It helps kids with their creativity and imagination, promotes self-reliance and helps with their learning and socialization,” Jackie talks about the importance of unstructured play each day. Being outside makes kids and families healthier and happier.

She says, “It’s good for our children to be bored to ignite their creativity and initiate a new kind of play, discovery and curiosity… and it’s accessible. You walk out your front door onto the sidewalk and you look for bugs within the cracks or study a dandelion or watch clouds grow.” In a state as rich in outdoor resources as Colorado, Jackie believes in the benefits of being outdoors. Generation Wild has a list of 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12 on their website to get families started. The heart is to tap into the awe of life, to build a generation that is healthy, adventurous and caring.

They also partner with Children's Hospital Colorado each winter for “Say Hi With a Snowman” to recruit families to build snowmen for kids at the hospital. Kids in the hospital draw their dream snowman and volunteers bring it to life. Jackie lights up as she talks about the beautiful creations. “It’s such a good way for those kids to feel seen,” she expresses.

There’s so much that Generation Wild is up to. Visit their website at and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @generationwildcolorado.