Running Wild Bear Grylls, NBC
Typically if I have the TV on, if it is not on PBS, chances are I’m watching just about anything. However, recently I have found myself more and more watching shows that are about the outdoors, to see what the competition is for my dream outdoors park and travel show that I want to develop after completing the documentary. In particular, there is a show I have watched a few times called, "Running Wild with Bear Grylls." If you aren’t familiar with Bear, he is a survivalist and outdoorsman with a brilliant British accent. He has had several shows where he was able to demonstrate a lot of his unique expertise right under the nose of an equally ballsy cameraperson. On this particular network iteration of his shows, he has taken things to a celebrity/reality level by having guests join him on his adventures. Guests are guided and pushed to the brink of their physical and mental limits by Bear in a way that is one of the most revealing interview formats. He has had almost all of his guests, ranging from NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to tough, kick-butt actress Michelle Rodriguez in tears by the time the credits rolled. Ultimately, I find that participating on the show peels back the layers of the guests and reveals their soul.
Running Wild with Bear Grylls, NBC courtesy of Youtube
A few months ago, there was the guest of all guests, President Obama. I could go on and on about how much I am in awe of this man and what he has accomplished during his presidency. I mean all day! Without a doubt, no matter your political views (I am not going to get political), I know within the context of American Presidential History, he has left a legacy that will be unrivaled. I digress… At the time of the filming, President Obama traveled to Alaska to attend the State Department-sponsored conference on the Arctic, The Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER). * Clever acronym right? It was while he was attending this conference that he had the opportunity to join Bear and visit Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska (Kenai Fjords National Park), to see first hand the impact of climate change. I won’t go into full detail about the episode because I think it is more important to watch it. I will say however, that I was quite touched by Bear praying for President Obama; I gained even more respect for the adrenaline junkie than I thought was possible.
Every Kid in a Park, White House
Even months before his trip to Alaska, President Obama had made noble efforts in office to promote the parks and the importance of caring about the environment. In February 2015, the White House launched the Every Kid in a Park Initiative. This initiative provides free admission to National Parks and other federal lands and waters for a full year for all fourth grade students and their families, with the expectation of providing inclusion and accessibility to an underserved population. The website provides a lot of helpful information for first time park going families as well as resources that would easily fuel a child’s imagination about their upcoming trip. https://everykidinapark.gov/
Girl Scouts camp out at White House, NBC News
Not to be outdone by all this survivalist Alaska Glacier and free pass action, is the work that the First Lady has brought to getting people, primarily children outside and active. The First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative is “committed to getting millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in America’s great outdoors.” So not only does she want you to get physical, but she wants you to do it outside. I will take her word on anything about exercise. I think we have all seen her push up game and are envious of those arms. How serious is she? She was serious enough that the Obamas hosted the first ever camp-out on the lawn of the White House for Girl Scouts July 2015.
Again, I could go on and on about how I feel about the President and the First Lady and what it means to see them in the White House. At this particular moment in history, it is monumental to have a President and First Lady, who happen to be black, fighting the stereotypes and showing the world what is and what's possible. They have joined together and used their position in the White House in an overarching initiative to get all of us outside and moving and feeling apart of this great blue marble that we all call home. It belongs to all of us.
Get out there!
The Obamas initiatives have been supported by:
US Department of Interior
National Park Service
National Park Foundation