FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.org, Jackie Ostfeld, 202-548-6584, Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org
OAK celebrates the launch of Every Kid in a Park Hawai’i
Oahu, Hawai’i–Today, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids joined musician Jack Johnson and his wife Kim, the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, Obama administration officials and more than 200 fourth graders to launch Every Kid in a Park in Hawai’i. The students received passes to America’s public lands and waters through the Every Kid in a Park initiative, which seeks to connect young people with the great outdoors by granting free entry to public lands, waters and shores for all fourth-graders and their families. During the event, the Johnsons announced a commitment via their Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation to fund $100,000 worth of field trip grants, with the goal of reaching all 17,000 fourth-grade students in the state of Hawai‘i to ensure that they have the opportunity to use their pass to visit their public lands. OAK provided healthy lunches for the children at today’s event.
In response, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statements:
“Every child should be able to share in the unparalleled natural and cultural beauty of Hawai’i,” said Sierra Club of Hawai’i Director, Marti Townsend who attended today’s event. “The Every Kid in a Park program will allow all of Hawai’i’s fourth graders to explore, enjoy and develop an appreciation for our public lands and waters.”
“Every Kid in a Park Hawai’i will play an important role in supporting the national Let’s Move! Outside initiative, where we are collectively working to engage more youth through outdoor service projects, recreation and environmental education programs to inspire and foster a new generation of nature lovers and stewards for life,” said President and CEO of the YMCA of Honolulu, Michael Broderick. “We all know that interaction with nature is also a powerful way to promote health, healing and well-being and can provide our youth the opportunities to discover and realize the potential every child has in him or herself to have a promising future.”
“Far too few kids have access to the natural world where they can have fun, get active and learn about their environment,” said Outdoors Alliance for Kids Co-Founder and Chair Jackie Ostfeld. “We are happy to support the effort here in Hawai’i and across America to help increase the number of fourth graders who can visit their public lands, waters, and shores.”
“At REI we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived, and we commend the Administration for their efforts to instill the value of the outdoors in the next generation,” said REI Community Affairs Program Manager, Taldi Walter.
“We are fortunate in Hawai’i to have nice warm weather year-round making all of our parks accessible throughout the year,” said President and CEO of Kama’aina Kids Hawai’i and American Camp Association National Board Member Raymond Sanborn. “This is a great opportunity to allow our fourth-graders access to our national parks as well as our state and county parks that are already free. Anytime a child can experience the outdoor environment is always a plus.”
About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together more than eighty businesses and organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org