OAK Makes a Move to Get More Kids Active Outdoors
Washington, DC-To commemorate its one year anniversary and celebrate National Get Outdoors Month, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is launching a new Facebook application to inspire and encourage young people to get outside, and be active. In support of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside! program, the new Get Your Nature On Facebook application will provide inspiration, encouragement and resources to young people who commit to getting active in the outdoors this year.Get Your Nature On will help children and families improve their health, spend quality time together, and develop an appreciation for the natural world that will help ensure future generations have similar opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. By using social media to inspire, inform, and connect young people to nature, this free application addresses some of the key challenges raised by young people in the America’s Great Outdoors Youth Report.
In addition, yesterday members of OAK participated in a Let’s Move Outside! event at the White House, where students from D.C.’s Thurgood Marshall High School experienced the joys of outdoor recreation on the South Lawn. Students learned about the importance of active, outdoor lifestyles and took part in activities including, rock climbing, a camping demo, a kayak clinic, fly-fishing lessons, and a mountain biking course.
Earlier this month, OAK celebrated its one year anniversary, a national alliance between the business and non-profit communities to increase and improve opportunities for children, youth and families to reconnect with the outdoors.
“The Sierra Club is proud to support the First Lady’s initiative to get kids into the great outdoors,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “With the generous support of the Sierra Club Foundation and the dedication of hundreds of volunteer leaders, we plan to send thousands of military kids to camp this summer and lead tens of thousands of underserved youth on wilderness outings to enjoy, explore and learn about our planet.”
America is fortunate to have forests, prairies, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, parks, gardens, schoolyards, backyards and other green spaces. But with more children growing up indoors and becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world, OAK aims to make strides toward reversing this trend by providing an online structure for kids to reconnect with the outdoors.
“Active Network is honored to partner with OAK and develop the Facebook application powering the Get Your Nature On challenge, said Dave Alberga, CEO of Active Network. “Through strategic use of technology and social media we can both simplify and expand access for families to get active in the great outdoors. This important initiative allows us to pool our collective assets to encourage participation in outdoor activities and help drive public policy in support of them.”
“The nature of childhood has changed, and there isn’t much nature in it,” said Larry Schweiger, National Wildlife Federation’s President and CEO. “The National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There campaign and Nature Find program support the First Lady’s Lets Move Outside Initiative by providing an array of activities and events to get kids and their families outdoors, active and connecting with nature.”
The Get Your Nature On challenge is designed to provide children, youth, families, caregivers and others with the tools they need to have a safe and rewarding experience in the outdoors. This new resource supports the America’s Great Outdoors initiative’s recommendation to launch a public awareness campaign that demonstrates how experiencing America’s great outdoors is fun, easy and healthy. It also supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside campaign goal to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in one generation by encouraging children and youth to use America’s green spaces and natural places to improve their physical fitness.
Since coming together last year, OAK has grown to represent more than 30 national organizations. OAK’s members touch diverse audiences such as underserved and at-risk youth, communities of color, the military community and young hunters and anglers in urban, rural and suburban communities throughout the nation. Through these diverse partnerships, OAK plans to grow a healthier future by rooting the next generation in nature.
The Outdoor Alliance for Kids is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in expanding opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. The alliance was launched by Sierra Club, YMCA of the USA, REI, National Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, Outdoor Foundation, Children & Nature Network and the National Recreation and Park Association in June 2010. Since then, OAK’s steering committee has grown to include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity, the National Association of State Park Directors, The North Face and Active Network. OAK’s membership continues to expand.