KEEN Kids: In the River Valley
We got to catch up with the momma bear of In The River Valley, Roxanna Froese and asked her all things family and outdoors. Not only is she living the #cabinlife with her husband and four little ones, but she’s also a talented photographer and a KEEN Canada ambassador!
Tell us a little about your family.
We are a family of 6 with four kids ranging from 3-8 years old and a puppy!
What does your typical day look like?
Our kids are early risers, (they take after their mama)! In the summer we like to get up early and out the door for a bit of adventure before nap time. When we are out for longer trips the little ones often nap on the way home.
What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?
Our family loves to explore new, secret places. Whether it be a hidden waterfall we’ve found on google maps or a new swimming hole down a game trail. It doesn’t have to be far away or hard to access, finding a secret place we can go to and get away from the noise is how we relax.
In short, what would be your philosophy on parenting?
Haha, that is a deep question that could produce a long answer. We are firm believers in healthy boundaries at home and as much freedom in nature as safety allows. Kids are happier and healthier when they have a strong connection with nature.
What do you hope the kids gain from this lifestyle?
In our North American daily grind and busy lives kids tend to spend too much time in front of the TV and in the car. Our goal is for our kids to connect with nature, where their imagination can let loose. A rock or a pile of sand becomes a castle or a playground. Rushing water fills them with peaceful sounds. A trail teaches them that hard work can pay off with big adventures. On the side of a mountain they learn risk management that will help guide them in times of peer pressure and adult decision making. The more we explore, the more they fall in love with nature too and hopefully will grow up learning to protect it.
Boundless Wonder is about imagination, exploration, and the adventures kids find outside. Can you think of any particular moments that encapsulate the boundless wonder of childhood?
There are so many beautiful moments we have experienced together. On Christmas day last year we were at a remote lake. Snow was softly falling on the ground and the water was completely calm. We decided to jump in the canoe and go for a quick trip. (We stayed very close to shore to ensure everyone’s safety, and our kids are well versed in staying still in the boat). It felt like the entire world was at peace, the snow fell silently onto the black water and disapeared into a magical world of beauty. The sun broke through the clouds and lit up the dusted mountains around us. Our paddles dipped rythmically into the icy water creating ripples around us. The kids sat in silent awe and the image will be forever kept in my heart.
Would you live anywhere else?
We think we live in the best place in the world. But we may be a little biased I don’t think we will ever leave our town but we hope to spend at least one year with our kids living a remote cabin just for the experience.
What are other ways you encourage a healthy lifestyle?
Our kids love to try plants and berries that we find out in the forest. We encourage them to ask questions and try everything that is edible. For them food is something that is grown outside or planted. My 3 year old’s favourite treat on a hike is Miner’s Lettuce but we tell them it is energy lettuce and the more they eat the more energy they will have for our hike
Do you have any favorite book recommendations for parents?
Go to your local outdoors store and pick up a guide book for your area. 103 Hikes or 100 Places to Explore in your area. And then make it your goal to try a new place every month, you might be surprised at some of the gems you discover!
What are some of your favorite local spots?
We have our own waterfall we discovered while canoeing once. We have built a trail to it, and love to hike up there and sit in the meadow below watching the water cascading over the mountain. We have a whole list of lakes that we choose our location depending on the time of year and day of the week.
What would be your dream trip with the family?
We dream someday of taking our kids on a fly-in access trip that involves either canoeing a chain of lakes, or hiking remote peaks.
What advice would you give parents looking to encourage a love of nature?
Have fun with your kids outside. At the beginning allow their relationship to develope naturally, start with small distances and slowly build their stamina. Let them get dirty, wet and climb around. Make the trips fun by giving them lots of rewards for their efforts. Hotchocolate and a cookie can go a long way!
All photos by Kathy Hinkel