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Why did I create Hootie Hoo?

11 May, 2024 35
Claire and the kids at the Vermont Gear Makers Festival

When I heard my 4-year-old son screaming on the driveway, I knew something had gone wrong. It was one of those chilly, windy March days in Vermont, and thanks to Covid-19, our school was shuttered, forcing us into the world of homeschooling with our two young kids. My son was out playing during their makeshift "recess" and managed to get his finger caught under the wheels of his big sister’s skateboard. Ouch! The poor kiddo lost half his fingernail and let out a wail that could be heard down the block as I quickly bandaged him up. I was absolutely certain he'd never, ever touch a skateboard again. But guess what? He did! There he was, back out there in the afternoon, ready to give it another shot. When I asked him if he was scared, he just said, “A little, but it’s OK.” 

 

This whole incident taught me a valuable lesson about resilience in kids. Despite the pain and fear, my son chose to push past his emotions and get back on the skateboard. It was a powerful reminder of the resilience that children can develop through outdoor activities. And that's exactly why I started Hootie Hoo. I want to help my kids—and every kid out there—build inner strength and resilience through outdoor activities so they can handle whatever life throws their way. 

 

Our kids spend way too much time cooped up indoors and glued to screens these days. You might have seen all the research about the negative effects of smartphones and social media on kids’ physical and mental health. It's so sad and alarming! This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. fell out of the top 20 in the World Happiness Report, released by Gallup in March 2024 driven by a large drop in the wellbeing of Americans under 30. 

 

As a mom, it breaks my heart to see the toll that excessive screen time is taking on our kids. Don't get me wrong, I know technology has its place, but we need to balance it out with good ol' fashioned outdoor play. Now more than ever, it's crucial to instill a love of nature in our kids and encourage them to spend more time outside.  

 

I'm on a mission to help my kids find value in themselves, discover their passions, and cultivate a sense of hope that will carry them through life's ups and downs. And if you're a parent who feels the same way, I invite you to join me on this journey. Let's give our kids a taste of the "real" world—let them get messy, make mistakes, and find joy in the simple things like catching Junebugs. Let's let them play in the mud, taste the dirt, and experience life with all their senses. And if they fall along the way, that's OK. It's all part of learning to be stronger and better. 

After all, life is short for everyone, so let's make the most of it and enjoy every moment. 

 

Claire

 

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