I love seeing large organizations "Going Green". You see it all the time, in fact most large organizations have pages dedicated to telling you about how they are going green and trying to be more healthy. As many of you know, I work for a youth camping program and in the past three years this program has made huge strides in initiating some great policies to make children's lives a little better and a little healthier. It all started with the eating initiative by offering healthier meal options for our kids. The next thing we did was "Healthy Up" our canteen.
The first thing we did was cut soda out of the canteen and replaced it with HFCS and aspartame free fruit juices and sparkling waters. Many were upset by this, but to be perfectly honest I do not, one bit, miss the bees that used to be attracted to the syrup on the spray nozzles. And it made our health inspection a lot easier! We now offer healthy snack options, instead of sugary candies (although we do still have a very limited number of those but are far more picky about our selection). Oddly, the transition from sugary snacks to healthy snacks went smoothly, without even a single complaint that I'm aware of. I hope this means that most kids these days are already exposed to these options or that these options are just so tasty that it doesn't really matter.
The next step in the process is stocking the canteen with earth friendly gifts and souvenirs. Last year we stared looking into this a bit and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of great eco products out there that were within the same price-range as our other products. The quality of these eco-friendly items seems way better than the cheap stuff we had stocked before. I cannot tell you how many of our handheld fans were returned, broken, within even a few hours last year! Some fell apart upon opening the box! The things that are really popular amongst our kids are journals, which we weren't able to carry last year because they jacked up the price. But it seems that going with a recycled, eco-friendly journal is something we could easily budget for this year! Water bottles, umbrellas, etc. are all great products that are now US-made and/or earth friendly and very popular amongst kids!
I would love to hear your suggestions on some great earth friendly products that we can include in our camp's canteen this year that would be fun and affordable for the kids to buy. We stress so much the importance of protecting and respecting nature, it's time we put our money where our mouth is and start offering better gift options!