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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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    Embarking on a grand adventure

    Qurratu’aini Qayyimah binti Dr Al-Haj Zelzy, Community Solutions Programme fellow

    What’s it like to go on a grand adventure? Disconnected from the modern world and indulging in the very essence of the wilderness.

    I recently had the opportunity to explore the Salmon River, otherwise known as ‘The River of No Return’, in Idaho, United States (US) with the Greening Youth Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Atlanta.

    The 680-kilometre long river flows through a vast wilderness in one of the deepest gorges on the continent. We paddled approximately 130 kilometres along the scenic route for six days.

    The granite-walled canyon of Salmon River is about 300 metres deeper than the Grand Canyon. From North Fork to Corn Creek, the spectacular canyon of the Salmon River has exposed some of the oldest known rocks in the state of Idaho, dating back to as far as 1.5 billion years ago.

    As we indulged in the wonders of no Wi-Fi, no mobile phones, no email, and no TV, we were engaged in a unique opportunity to unplug in today’s world of being continuously plugged in.

    Photos show Qurratu’aini Qayyimah’s trip along ‘The River of No Return’. PHOTOS: QURRATU’AINI QAYYIMAH

    In the middle of the wilderness, there were no transmitting towers, no electricity, and no way to log on. As a gift to our bodies, minds, eyes, and soul, we gave ourselves a chance to reboot.

    In doing so, we were able to appreciate the starry skies, the gorgeous white sandy beaches, the sound high altitude highwaters flowing endlessly through the river, the whitewater rapids, cascading creeks, the wide variety of wildlife, the natural geothermal hot springs, and the rich human history that occupies the river corridors. We also had the opportunity to deepen connections with one another beyond a professional setting.

    As urban dwellers, we don’t often get the opportunity to connect with Mother Nature.

    Young people nowadays have traded green time for screen time.

    ‘Recreational Activities’ or Aktiviti Riadah remain ‘average’ at 49 per cent and have yet to surpass the percentage required to achieve the ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ status, according to the Youth Development Index 2018.

    People can forget that getting involved in nature and the outdoors serves as a critical starting point in a young person’s journey towards an active and healthy lifestyle. This affects their development and well-being dramatically.

    We need to develop an awareness to create a healthy barrier between young people and technology and empower them to explore the world through outdoor sports and adventure.

    We need to enable the perspectives on human-to-nature relationships by providing our youth with opportunities to reflect on healthy alternatives for everyday living.

    Our youth’s well-being and personal capabilities can only be enhanced through guided activities and outdoor education that are challenging and adventurous.

    We must understand that the benefits of being outdoors not only encompass physical benefits, but it is also good for our mental and emotional health.

    Establishing healthy habits for ourselves sets an example for our future generations, leaving a legacy and foundation for our families to live a better life.

    Qurratu’aini Qayyimah is a Community Solutions Programme fellow; a programme which is sponsored by the United States (US) Department of State with funding provided by the US Government and supported in its implementation by IREX.

    She is currently hosted by Greening Youth Foundation in Atlanta, US to work with underrepresented and underprivileged youth while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in environmental conservation and sustainability.

    Upon returning in December, she will implement a community project that focusses on engaging, educating, and empowering youth through nature and outdoor adventures.

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