FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 13, 2011
Jacqueline Ostfeld; 202-548-6584; Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org
Jessica B. Lange; 510-618-2734; Jessica_b_Lange@vfc.com
Washington, DC– The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) today announced that the North Face has joined the fast-growing national partnership to connect children, youth and families with the outdoors. With the addition of one of the outdoor industry’s leaders in providing equipment and funding opportunities for youth to experience nature to OAK’s steering committee, the alliance will work to advance opportunities for children, youth and families to experience the outdoors.
“At The North Face we believe that consistent and frequent exposure to the outdoors in the formative years of a young person’s life is not only great for their physical health, but is vital in developing character, confidence, a sense of adventure and respect for the environment into their adulthood,” said Brook Shinsky, outdoor participation & community development manager for The North Face. “We’re excited about our partnership with OAK and the opportunity to get even more people outdoors.”
Today’s children and youth are growing up indoors. Advances in technology, changing family structures, increased urbanization, fear of strangers and poorly planned development all contribute to what author Richard Louv calls Nature Deficit Disorder in his best-seller, “Last Child in the Woods.” Recent reports have found that kids and teens are spending more than seven hours every day “plugged in” to electronic media. At the same time, the rates of overweight and obesity have reached alarming levels in the real world.
Emerging research demonstrates that time spent outdoors in nature provides myriad benefits for children and youth. From increases in physical fitness to reductions in stress and the symptoms of attention deficit disorders to improved vision, time outdoors in nature is one important way to improve the health of children and youth. Spending significant time in the out-of-doors during childhood has also been shown to contribute to positive attitudes about the environment in adulthood.
The North Face is dedicated to encouraging an active healthy lifestyle and a stronger connection with the outdoors for greater support and protection of our natural landscapes. In addition to partnerships with organizations like OAK, The North Face also provides tools for connecting to nature through PlanetExplore.com, and awards more than $250,000 to non-profit organizations dedicated to getting kids outdoors through the Explore Fund.
Statement of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids
“The North Face brings a leader from the outdoor industry into the alliance. Over the last few decades, the amount of time children spent outdoors in nature has diminished. In these hard economic times, the natural world provides an inexpensive and often close to home way for kids to get physically active through play and recreation. Together we will work to advance opportunities for children and youth to improve their own wellbeing through time spent in the outdoors.”
About OAK: The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with the common interest in expanding the number and quality of opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. 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, OAK’s membership continues to expand. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity, National Association of State Park Directors and The North Face are the most recent to join OAK’s Steering Committee.
For more information: http://www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org