In Podcast 239, Derrick Crandall addresses kids, technology and the outdoors

© Christian Schwier -

Editor’s Note: This episode was originally published April 25, but was not flagged as a podcast. Therefore none of our distribution partners picked it up.  We are republishing it May 9 to give it the exposure it deserves. We apologize for the oversight.


There are a lot of television program or news stories warning that kids aren’t spending enough time outdoors, or they are spending too much time in front of screens.

Experts are warning about an obesity epidemic involving children and teenagers. They also fear that too much technology encourages children to disconnect from others and live in a virtual world.

The guest today is someone who has a passionate interest in seeing more kids spending time outdoors, but he is a realist in knowing that kids like technology, too.

Derrick Crandall, who is the retired president of the American Recreation Coalition, is a huge advocate encouraging people of all ages to spend time outdoors exploring state and national parks.

For many years, he was a cheerleader for getting kids off computer games and into the outdoors.

However, a good friend of his from Disney cautioned him that when adults push kids to go outside and order them to give up technology, it causes an irreconcilable divorce because it forces kids to choose one over the other.

They will love one, and hate the other.

So, Derrick wonders, why can’t the RV and outdoor industry work together to incorporate technology in a way that creates a balance with outdoor experiences.

He raises a number of points regarding how managed technology can supplement active outdoor fun.

During the interview, he elaborates on his ideas and describes the new Agents of Discovery augmented reality game that has been released.

He offers some practical ways for children – and adults – to incorporate technology with outdoor adventure.

Derrick also has some intriguing ideas for getting businesses to play a bigger role in encouraging families to spend more time outdoors, perhaps by developing rewards to get kids and adults to spend time outside.

He notes that technology can be incorporated into outdoor activities to look up plants, birds, animals and history in order to learn more about it on the spot.

Many parents likely remember having to lug heavy books with them when learning about nature, or they had to try to remember what they saw on an adventure so they could look it up later.

With cell phone technology, kids have access to a virtual encyclopedia of information. So, Derrick believes we should help kids use technology to fall in love with the outdoors.

For more information about Agents of Discovery, visit

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber

A journalist who has covered the recreation vehicle industry since January 2000, Greg Gerber founded RV Daily Report on April Fool's Day in 2009. He also serves as the editor of the publication and website. As an Eagle Scout, he has enjoyed camping for decades and has visited every state except Hawaii. A DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three young women, he has two grandchildren as well. He currently splits his time between Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona. Greg can be reached at

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