Nation’s Largest Urban Outdoor Festival Aims to Empower America’s Youth to Lead Outdoor Revolution
Outdoor Foundation and its lead partners announce Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival, an event that will bring together tens of thousands of festival-goers, including 500 delegates, from across the country to celebrate active outdoor living in New York’s Central Park on June 19 and 20. The event comes on the heels of The Outdoor Foundation’s Special Report on Youth, which found that outdoor participation among youth continues to decrease each year, with the rate of decline steepest among the youngest age groups.
A diverse group of partners, including The North Face, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Backpacker Magazine, The Conservation Fund and Mobilize.org, are empowering a new generation to champion the outdoors by developing a national agenda, top priorities and youth-led solutions that will be delivered to elected officials, and business and community leaders, as well as peers over the next year.
As part of the announcement, the organizations launched a ‘call for applications’ – a national search for 500 change makers to travel to New York City and participate in this first-ever Youth Summit on the Outdoors. Delegates will be selected based on outdoor interest and a commitment to lead local, regional and national efforts that will reconnect youth and the outdoors.
“The North Face is proud to support such a ground-breaking initiative,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face and VF Corporation’s Outdoor Americas Coalition. “This event will be an impactful and empowering vehicle for engaging with our nation’s youth as we look for new and relevant ways to enable them to connect with the outdoor environment we are so passionate about.”
Presented by The North Face, the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival will combine outdoor activities and outdoor advocacy to raise awareness about the important role that the outdoors and recreational activities play in healthy active lifestyles. The goal of the initiative is to empower young leaders to start the next revolution by building an Outdoor Nation for this and future generations.
“There is a crisis in our country today. Young people are increasingly disconnected from the outdoors resulting in unprecedented levels of child obesity, depression, diabetes and ADHD. We need an outdoor revolution where young ‘Outsiders’ lead the way toward a healthier generation,” said Chris Fanning, Executive Director of OutdoorFoundation. “The Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival will bring leaders together for the first time to develop a national outdoor agenda, discuss youth-led solutions and receive the tools, training and resources to champion change on campuses and in communities.”
In an effort to harness the passion, energy and ideas of a new generation that is eager to influence the future and stand up for change; the Outdoor Nation Festival and Youth Summit will host delegations of 500 young people from each of the 50 states. Summit delegates will not only craft and deliver their message of change to the country, but strengthen the outdoor youth movement by infusing young leaders with new ideas, skills and connections, as well as opportunities for employment and action. Interested individuals can visit http://www.outdoornation.org/youthsummit and apply to be part of this ground-breaking event.
“The goal of the Summit is to motivate and mobilize hundreds of thousands of young people nationwide to reclaim, redefine and rediscover the outdoors” said Larry Selzer, President of The Conservation Fund. “What we are after is cultural change at a massive scale where a whole new generation is engaged with the natural world around them – for their health and the health of our nation’s legacy of land and water resources.”
With additional lead support from The Conservation Fund and facilitated by Mobilize.org, the Summit will include key topics such as health, diversity, careers, service, recreation, education, media and culture.
“Protecting and preserving the environment is a top priority for Millennials around our country,” said Maya Enista, CEO of Mobilize.org. “Mobilize.org is excited to engage this group of youth and young adults in Democracy 2.0 and to help develop a national agenda Millennials can use while advocating for the environment in our communities and on our campuses.”
In addition to the Youth Summit, Outdoor Nation will partner with the NYC Parks Department’s annual outdoor sports celebration, Adventures NYC in Central Park, Manhattan’s largest urban playground, to bring outdoor adventure and entertainment playground, offering concerts, cultural festivities and nature-based activities such as climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking to kids from all around the country. In partnership with Backpacker and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Outdoor Nation will build upon Adventures NYC, resulting in the nation’s biggest event celebrating youth and the outdoors. All activities will be inclusive, open to the public and free of charge.
“The Parks Department is proud to partner with Backpacker Magazine and the Outdoor Foundation to expand Adventures NYC, our annual outdoor sports celebration, to children from all over the country,” said NYC Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “Adventures NYC and the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival showcase some of the most exciting activities New York City has to offer from kayaking to mountain biking to rock climbing. These sports and manymore help fight obesity and encourage a lifetime of fitness, health and enjoying parks.”
“Adventures NYC showcases ‘The Outdoors at Your Doorstep’ in the world’s greatest urban Park,” says Kent Ebersole, Publisher of Backpacker magazine. “This year’s youth focus is a natural evolution of the festival, emphasizing the importance of reconnecting today’s youth with the great outdoors.”
Adding to the excitement will be a high-profile, two-day Conservation and Outdoor Career Fair, where public, private and not-for-profit organizations will provide information and advice on how to start a career in the outdoors.
Additional sponsors include Johnson & Johnson, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, CIGNA, Wilderness Systems, Dagger, Eastern Mountain Sports, Merrell, SmartWool, Mountain Hardwear and Paddle Advisory Council.
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About 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.