I’m from Ontario, but boy let me tell you I would much rather be out here. Where I come from the only outdoor activities families engage in are taking the bus, and burying their heads in technology. You know that the next generation is going to be smarter than you when you’re watching a baby in her stroller scrolling through facebook profiles on the mother’s tablet.

Not here though! Just the other day I was walking down the street when I heard people yelling, and rounding the corner I came across two groups of youths walking in opposite directions. Kudos to their parents for teaching them to walk away from a fight, but I still had to laugh at how they called each other on from a block away. Back where I’m from the entire argument would have taken place over twitter, and they would have continued standing in front of one another with their heads down until the disagreement came to blows.

Drawing closer to the second group I couldn’t help but observe that it was a couple, and one of them was armed with something quite terrifying: a basket ball. I nearly burst into relieved laughter watching him bounce it off his car. Upon spotting my inquisitive gaze the youths piled into the vehicle, and with a playful wave the shotgun passenger bid me farewell as the tires kicked up a dust storm.

What a change from Ontario! Back there if I saw a group of kids hanging out near a car my first thought would be, “which of these kids is going to draw a gun?” With their pants belted halfway to their knees exposing plaid boxers, and gang bling up the ying yang such punks would beat their chests at any who dared to approach.

Their greeting of “Yo whachu lookin’ at? Wanna get iced?” didn’t produce any warm feelings.

Down in the cities, when youth got to playing outside an observer rarely had cause to praise their parents for raising them well. But what do you expect when ma and pa are each working two jobs for minimum wage, before falling onto the couch at night ready to just forget the daily grind?

These days freezers are fully stocked with microwave dinners, so that the kids can just grab a meal whenever they get hungry. Little Jimmy hollers down to his mom, “I’m having cookies for supper!” Tired and stressed beyond imagination, his mother doesn’t even look up from Candy Crush when she answers, “No go make yourself some Pizza Pops!” Unfortunately for her, little Jimmy is smart as your average kid, and grabbing his cookies he just sets a timer on the microwave so when it beeps she’ll think he’s obeying.

What a joy it is to see children helping their parents choose fresh fruits at the grocery store! I can’t emphasize how it warms my heart to see families working together, and taking pleasure in the little things that make life worthwhile.

I’m glad that people here in the Yukon remember to put down their cell phones, and take advantage of the world that is just right outside their front doors. If anything could restore my hope for the next generation it is the people living up here. So as the season turns remember to get out there, and like the youth who was dinging up their car without a care, go have a ball!