Q&A with Run Wild My Child creator Sara McCarty
Sara McCarty is an attorney, mama of three, and the founder of Run Wild My Child, a website dedicated to getting kids outside and back to nature, one adventure at a time. We know you'll find our Q&A with Sara to be both interesting and inspiring.
What is your favorite outdoor childhood memory?
I’m not sure I could ever choose just one! I grew up in the country; in a house surrounded by woods with a little creek, a scummy pond and an old abandoned horse stable. I spent countless hours exploring those woods with my brothers, cousins and friends. When we were feeling imaginative, we’d play house or school in the old stable. If it was hot, we’d build a dam in the creek and create a lagoon for us and the crawdads. When I wanted space, I’d spend hours sitting on an old fallen log, reading a book. Those woods were my refuge where anything was possible and a kid could roam free and run wild. I’ll always think of the woods as a place where I could just be myself.
What inspired you to launch Run Wild My Child?
I’ve been blogging about our personal travels, adventures and family milestones for years, but my favorite (and my most popular) posts were always those about getting our kids outdoors. I noticed that many parents were asking questions about how to get their kids outside and into nature more often and were seeking advice on activities, gear and trips. I started Run Wild My Child to encourage other parents to get outside with their kids and help them connect with nature in fun new ways. I wanted to make getting outdoors easy and accessible for everyone, no matter where they live or how “outdoorsy” they are. The website is an amazing online resource for parents looking for information on outdoor activities, favorite gear, nature crafts and kid-friendly travel. While the website satisfies my love of writing and editing, the Instagram account fuels my passion for photography. The feed is a way to visually showcase kids on all kinds of outdoor adventures across the world. We feature beautiful images submitted by our amazing online community of outdoorsy followers. It’s meant to be an inspirational feed, filled with advice, humor, educational facts, tips, inspirational quotes and, of course, gorgeous images of kids enjoying the outdoors.
Take a moment to brag about RWMC - what’s the one accomplishment that you’re most proud of?
Honestly, I’m proud of the fact that it even exists! Moms are busy people and I’m just your typical overextended, stressed-out mom with 85 more things on my To Do list than I have time for. I needed another project like I needed a hole in my head, so when I was considering launching the website, there was a lot of hesitation and doubt. I worked on it for a long time before going public to develop content and fine-tune my focus. I launched in May of 2017 with two months of posts prepped and ready and lots of summer adventures planned. And then life threw us the cutest little curve ball you ever did see in the form of our third child! The exhaustion, nausea and lack of motivation derailed a lot of my lofty plans for the website, as did having a new baby this past year. But through it all, posts somehow got published (albeit few and far between), the Instagram exploded and amazing offers and opportunities started pouring in. I owe a lot of this success to my team of amazing Instagram moderators that manage the feed, some superb storytellers that write beautiful posts for the website, and my family at home that supports me. It takes a village!
What’s one pro tip you’d offer parents looking to spend more time outdoors with their children?
If you want to spend more time outside, all you have to do is make it a priority. I know that sounds easier said than done, but if it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Start small and set little goals of spending short amounts of time outside a few times a week. If you’re a planner, make a list of some fun activities that you all can do as a family outside. If you need accountability, ask a friend to join you or join a program like Hike it Baby or Tinkergarten. But don’t feel like you have to plan a game, craft or activity every time you’re outside. Kids need unstructured free time to play outdoors and use their imaginations. Let them get bored and you will be surprised at what creative adventures and imaginative games they come up with. The more time you spend outdoors, the easier it’ll be to get out the door and into nature. So just go!
Finish this sentence: "Spending time in nature makes me feel…”
Refreshed, energized, cleansed. There’s something truly magical about spending time in nature; it calms your nerves, relaxes your muscles and fills your lungs with fresh air. Whether it’s feeling the dappled sunshine on your skin or listening to the sounds of a bubbling trout stream, being in nature gives you sensory experience you just can’t get indoors or from a screen. The Japanese coined a term called “forest bathing,” which is simply the act of surrounding yourself with nature and connecting it through your senses. Studies have shown that even small amounts of time spent in nature can have incredible health benefits, such as reducing stress and boosting your immunity. We could all (adults and kids) benefit in so many ways from spending more time in nature.