Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance talks about benefits of camping and kids in the Carolinas

The Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance webinar continues the series Movement in Mentoring that will explore the benefits of the great outdoors as a learning ground for the mentoring experience.

During times of crisis, young people can greatly benefit from social connection and engagement with caring adults and peers.

Camping With Cradle” is an outdoor mentoring program used as means for young adults to become more familiar with the outdoors.

The program is in its infancy and is led by Keith Cradle, PhD.

“There are numerous health and developmental benefits that youth gain from outdoor experiences,” Cradle said “Specifically, with camping there is teamwork, skill building and exercise.”

The program is designed as a group mentoring model; each outing will allow a group of approximately six to eight youths to experience an outdoor trip.

Children across the country are acclimating to the constant changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may trigger trauma for young people impacted by the virus or by the news surrounding the pandemic.

Cradle will share different tools to show mentees support through camping.

Since the summer of 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Cradle said he has been committed to finding new and creative ways for youth in the Charlotte community to experience the outdoors close to home.

“Youth that are exposed to camping early also learn about the environment, preservation, leave-no-trace,” he said. “Most kids we want to serve aren’t (a part) of the bigger outdoor groups or institutions.”

North Carolina State Parks are the perfect environment for our small group sizes to facilitate engaging group discussions and socially distanced activities, while keeping youth and mentors safe.

“Our comprehensive learning model focuses on creative ways under-exposed youth can experience the outdoors in their own way,” Cradle said.

Mentors are encouraged to be communicative because healthy and supportive relationships are crucial during this time.

The event is free, but registration is required.


A valuable resource in Charlotte for the mentoring community is the Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance. The alliance educates mentoring organizations about best practices and mentoring standards, ignites impactful and enduring mentor-mentee relationships and connects Charlotte’s mentoring community.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at