Return, Restore, Reignite: A Campaign to Promote Being One with Nature for Young Adults

Photo of Vanya Dimri
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Written by

Date Started

April / 10th / 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

During the summer before high school, I was filled with anxiety and self-doubt. What if I am not accepted into the college I want to go into? Caged inside my restless, muddy mind, I spent most of my summer locked in my room because I didn't trust myself to do anything else. About a week before school started, I decided apathy and unpleasant emotions had built up inside me for too long and I had to change my perspective. Not thinking anymore, I rushed out of the house and jumped on my bike. I let fresh air unclog the clouded passageways of my mind as I flew down the street. By going outside, I realized that the world was vast and full of opportunity and that I had the power to act. Being around nature was humbling and eye-opening. I was reminded of my place and of my role as a human being. I learned that if you listen to nature, the trees and animals, you can hear their timeless wisdom.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Social media is a root cause of problems teens face like lowered self-esteem and body dysmorphia. Being in nature, however, is relaxing, good for the brain, and makes you happier; these are all scientifically supported facts (view attachment for studies). In a recent study of 600 teens, 91% of teens said that they would be willing to go outdoors if they were with their friends, and of those teens, 90% said being in nature relieved their stress.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Cocoon, our campaign, will promote teenage well-being and the importance of being with nature. We decided we would be able to serve teenagers the best, so they became our target audience. We wanted our project to improve teenage well-being in some way, Interviews with local teens suggested that peer pressure and social media contributed to unhealthy mindsets and behaviors (view attachment for more details). We wanted to come up with one solution that would knock down all these problems, and after identifying some common themes within problems, we decided that the easiest, most accessible, and most affordable way to improve teen well-being would be to encourage teens to go outside and be one with nature with their friends. We needed a way to get this message to teens everywhere, so we decided to use social media to publicize our ads. Our comprehensive website (under construction) would allow teens to access a public calendar of events and see when other teens were doing different activities, as well as educate teens on the benefits of being outside. We avoided an app or a hashtag challenge as we felt that this would be counterintuitive to our initiative of getting outside more.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Tina Lorenzo is a sophomore at Garter High School. Tina sees an ad about Cocoon in her feed on Instagram. It shows a breathtaking picture of a group of teenagers looking down at their city from a mountain they hiked up. The mountain shown in the ad is located near Tina’s hometown! The ad is captioned ‘Whoa, I never knew nature could make me feel so inspired’ and prompts Tina to go outside. Excited, she sends it to her friends, and soon they agree to go on a hike the following weekend. Tina finds Cocoon’s website and enters a time for the trip, location, and one thing Tina and her friends are going to do on the trip they have never done before. Tina feels comfortable going into the trip because Cocoon offers articles on hiking playlists and has a discussion/blog board for teens to share and discuss their experiences in nature. Tina and her friends feel great after Mount Sai’s trails.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Currently no program does what we aim to do. We believe that teenage years don’t have to be hard. When teens feel upset they should not wrongfully accept it as part of being a teen. Teens need to know there is a way to instantly feel better: Go outside. Nature embraces you in all your imperfect perfection. Returning to nature rebuilds you and reignites you. Cocoon, our campaign oriented towards promoting teenage well-being, helps teens build the best version of themselves by doing perhaps the simplest thing possible and one that is built into our DNA as human beings; coexisting with nature.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Analogous to the lifecycle of a butterfly, our project is an egg; an ambitious egg with great potential to grow into a beautiful butterfly. We plan to monitor Cocoon’s impact in our local teen community by hosting picnics in community parks and using these events to spread the word about our project and gauge the community’s involvement in Cocoon. At these events, we can talk to teenagers about what else they would like to see Cocoon do. We have also created a public calendar on our website so that viewers can see upcoming trips and we have enabled a public view counter on our website. Paired with our discussion platform, we will use these tools to monitor how many teenagers are utilizing our website and receive feedback on our program. Finally, Cocoon will keep in close contact with its partners to understand how many people our campaign is reaching.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Partnerships will be crucial to the success of Cocoon, and so we hope to forge meaningful bonds with our business partners. We are looking to partner with the Washington Trail Association and bring more teens into their Youth Programs. We’d like to partner with teen centers such as the Sammamish Teen Center to host support groups for teens led by teens. We will get our website and social media up and running, distribute ads about the social and scientific benefits of spending time in nature, grow Team Cocoon, and ultimately hope to scale Cocoon to involve locations all over the world so we can spread our message of finding happiness and good health by being in nature with people who matter to you.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

At this stage in it’s life, Cocoon would be best benefitted by guidance, mentorship, and funding as it grows into something meaningful. Currently, Cocoon has family and friend support as well as funds of $100 dollars or less. To make our vision a reality we would need a brand, creative ideas for advertisements and hence interest from teens to join our team, as well as connections with people who would be willing to give our idea a try.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations less than $100

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Industrial research shows that businesses in a new industry have a 47% failure rate compared to a failure rate of 8% for businesses seeking to improve existing industries. Carrying this idea forward, Cocoon would like to enhance other ventures. Cocoon would like to partner with the Washington Trails Association and attract a teenage crowd to participate in their Youth Programs. This way, the WTA’s mission to protect hiking trails will reach more people. Cocoon would also like to partner with local teen centers to host support groups for teenagers, by teenagers. Cocoon believes that all great ideas must be sustainable. By partnering with pre-established organizations, we will impact more people and sustain ourselves longer with the support of these changemakers. One of the reasons Cocoon is such an important idea to invest in is because people need our message now more than ever. We will become more involved with technology, but we can’t forget nature. Cocoon would love to partner with technology powerhouses like Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon because we believe spreading the message of being with nature will benefit all changemakers involved.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
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Join the conversation:

Photo of Armani Simmons

As human beings, I definitely feel that we need to be more in tact with nature. Technology tends to drive us away from our interaction with nature sometimes, but with your platform I can see a huge impact! Great work.

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