By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
It’s an amazing year for outdoor enthusiasts like you and me! Not only did the federal government establish the America Great Outdoors initiative, but outdoor gear retailer, The North Face, announced the creation of the Explore Fund™ Grant Program to Reconnect Children with Nature. This is such a great idea to tackle childhood obesity, stress and give children great health and fitness experiences in the great outdoors. And it gives children a chance to explore a wonderful world that they might not see if left to play video games indoors.
The North Face Partners is providing more than$100,000 Outdoor Nation Youth Summit Delegates and other groups that help reconnect children with nature. “Today’s young skiers, campers, runners and climbers are tomorrow’s outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face and VF Outdoor Americas. “We are providing education, access and connection through ongoing events, funding and PlanetExplore—an online community that helps individuals and families discover local outdoor recreational activities. Our goal is to get more people outside, having fun and exploring their world in ways that are meaningful to them.”
The Conservation Fund also announced a $50,000 matching grant to the Outdoor Foundation to be used with the Explore Fund to support concepts generated by the Outdoor Nation delegates. The Outdoor Nation event brings together 500 young delegates from each of the 50 states to champion the outdoors. The delegates were selected based on interest in the outdoor and a commitment to lead local, regional and national efforts that will reconnect youth and nature.
“Reconnecting young people with the outdoors is critical for the health of our population, our economy and our environment. It’s time for a new Outdoor Revolution and we need young people to step up and lead. Thanks to the Outdoor Foundation, The North Face and our many other partners, the delegates at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit will for the first time be able to do just that,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund.”
“Recent high profile government initiatives like the America’s Great Outdoors program and the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign are part of a national trend to encourage Americans – especially youth – to lead healthier lifestyles and reconnect with nature. Across the country programs are trying to get kids outside and moving; however, few programs are focused on young people as leaders,” said Chris Fanning, Executive Director, The Outdoor Foundation. “Outdoor Nation and the Explore Fund initiatives are two of the first efforts that aim to empower youth to champion outdoor change in their communities and on their campuses.”
What is The North Face®?
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, California, the company offers technically advanced products to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snow sport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company’s products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snow sport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.
What is The Conservation Fund?
The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America’s land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, it has helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. Learn more here.
What is Outdoor Nation?
As part of a broader national initiative, Outdoor Nation and its community of ‘Outsiders’ are committed to increasing and expanding youth participation through entertainment, education, engagement and action – especially among urban communities and communities of color – resulting in a healthier, more active generation.
What is The Outdoor Foundation?
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, the Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation — a ground-breaking initiative that aims to empower youth to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities. For more information click here.
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