Two-family canoe expedition to pit kids’ screen time against the Canadian wilderness

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Screens are harder to escape with each passing year as they become more closely tied to our work, school, communication and entertainment. The trend has hit all parts of society, but it may be having its biggest effects on children who now spend 35 hours on average each week in front of a screen. Add to that the fact that only 25 percent of school-aged children participate in daily physical activity.

In an effort to challenge these trends, two young families will attempt to paddle the length of the Mackenzie River, Canada's largest and longest river, this July. The Paddle to the Arctic expedition is designed to pit multi-day outdoor activity against childhood trends of a sedentary lifestyle dominated by television and computer time.

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The three youngsters on the expedition will document their experience in the rugged wilderness through blogs, videos and photographs, using screen-based media in an attempt to inspire other families to get outside.

The expedition is lead by one of Canada's most renowned adventures and Explorer's Club member Kevin Vallely. His wife and two daughters, aged 12 and 10, will be joined by intensive care physicians Craig Fava and Carole-Anne Yelle and their 11-year-old son.

"The perspective of a child will be a refreshing change to the often monotone voice of adventure dialogue," said Vallely.

The Paddle to the Arctic expedition will cover 1100 miles from Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean through one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

Kokatat is helping make the journey possible and the paddlers will be using the company’s apparel and PFDs throughout the expedition.

— Learn more about the Paddle to the Arctic expedition at http://www.paddletothearctic.com.