If you have a passion for the outdoors, there’s a good chance that passion began early in your life. Generation Wild, a Boise-based nonprofit organization currently in its fourth year of operations, wants to be the conduit that engages youth in outdoor activity.
Brian Bjornson started Generation Wild with this mission in mind, and his brother Kevon Bjornson shares it in action in a publication of Idaho Magazine:
“Upriver, I saw the silhouettes of Braeden and my brother standing in the water, Braeden’s small frame casting in a rhythmic manner that looked quite graceful. I could tell he didn’t want to leave, and Brian later confirmed that Braeden said, ‘I want to fish ‘til dark. I’m going to catch one of these fish.’ I’m sure my brother had to pry the rod out of his hand, but the day was far from a failure for Braeden. It ensured that he will continue to search the water’s depths. Through that process, he’ll discover many trout, but more important, the search will lead him to the discovery of things within himself that he never knew existed.”
Generation Wild’s mentored fishing trips have been at the center of Brian Bjornson’s vision for the organization since he started it in 2015. However, they have expanded to include day hikes, SUP (stand up paddleboarding) classes, and they’re very excited to add their first overnight trip at the 2019 Generation Wild Sawtooth Adventure Camp to their events.
Brian Bjornson views experiencing nature as crucial for young people in Idaho. He’s seen kids isolate themselves through the use of technology to the point of depression and anxiety, but has also seen firsthand the impact that a shared experience in nature can have for kids like Braeden. And the folks at Generation Wild know what appreciating the outdoors can do. As Kevon says, “We believe we can create leaders and passionate individuals with direction and purpose in their lives.”
One of the issues facing today’s youth that Generation Wild wants to help solve, Kevon says, is simply the lack of opportunity to get involved in the outdoors.
“All it takes is for someone to introduce you to these things and it can be life changing,” he says.
Generation Wild presents this opportunity through mentorship and partnering with groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Boys and Girls Club, and other nonprofits. Establishing new connections through events enable them to become more visible and mentor more young people.
Generation Wild is excited to partner with Mission 43, a group of organizations aimed at supporting Idaho military members and their families during the transition after their time in service. Generation Wild is currently developing plans with Mission 43 for full day fishing trips with both military veterans and their children. Brian Bjornson and the folks at Mission 43 think that this kind of shared experience in nature between a parent who has spent time away from their child will be impactful in helping to establish and re-establish connections within families.
Idaho Rivers United is partnering with Generation Wild to make sure these connections continue, because for IRU it’s about more than a connection between a parent and a child. It’s also about sharing that connection with the rivers that run through Idaho, and enabling Idaho’s younger generations to see Idaho’s rivers as areas to explore, experience, protect, and cherish. The Bjornsons credit their parents with instilling in them an appreciation for Idaho’s rivers, which has led them to their mission today: passing on those same values. As Brian Bjornson says, “We are pretty lucky to have an amazing river system within a few miles of our back door,” and that’s something worth cherishing.
To make sure the waters they depend on to do business remain clean and safe, Generation Wild is partnering with Idaho Rivers United for the Boise River Clean up. Idaho Rivers United will also be sharing space alongside Generation Wild at Payette Brewing Company for Idaho Gives.
Generation Wild can be found at https://www.gwildidaho.org/.