For first-time mom Andrea Heath, she knew she wanted to maintain her active outdoors lifestyle following the birth of her son, Caden.
After recovering from her son’s birth she looked to connect with other parents who were raising their children to embrace the outdoors but didn’t find what she was looking for.
She then created The Wild And Tiny- Yka: Parents + Babes on Adventures which is a community for parents and caregivers to connect and pursue outdoor adventures with a supportive group of like-minded individuals and their children.
“I grew up spending a lot of time in the outdoors camping with my family, travelling and living in different countries. These experiences really defined for me the value of exposing your children to different environments, people and experiences at a very young age. Once I became a Mother it was my goal to create similar experiences for my son.”
She began hosting hikes for parents and caregivers to bring their children to get outdoors, socialize and find a sense of community. Heath hosts hikes once a week at popular trails around Kamloops with the attendance growing organically through social media and word of mouth.
“Kind of like the whole field of dreams, ‘if you build it they will come,’ that’s pretty much happened,” said Heath
With the Kamloops Wild And Tiny community coming up on its first year anniversary, Heath said she was inspired because she knew there was a lot of people looking for something similar but there wasn’t someone to bring it together.
So far her largest hike group was 22 adults and the smallest was a group of four, but for Heath, even if only one other parent joined her hikes she’d be happy.
“So many times at the end of a hike I’ve had parents say ‘Wow that was so good, I really struggled to get out of the house,’ or ‘My baby was grumpy this morning so I didn’t think I was going to come and now we just feel better,’” said Heath.
Over the past year the she has expanded the community into other recreational activities, like rock climbing, and has plans to include Sun Peaks in their summer hikes.
“I see a lot of potential to build a strong, outdoor community. There are many people who are really keen but some people don’t feel comfortable tackling activities by themselves. So in a group, it just encourages them to step out of their comfort zone a little bit,” she said
Balancing parenthood and outdoor recreation can be challenging but within the Wild And Tiny group Heath said she hoped to encourage other women.
“I specifically want to encourage women, because I think mothers in our society have so much pressure to be all these things to everybody and often they get left behind, who they are becomes less important. I didn’t want that for myself and I knew I had to work extra hard to keep the core of who I was alive. By connecting with each other we are able to support and encourage each other to be better parents and people.”
The groups head out on a new adventure each week with the day and time dependent on weather conditions. To learn more and connect visit Heath’s Facebook page Wild And Tiny- YKA: Parents + Babes on Adventures.