OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. OAK’s members 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.
To advocate for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors.
All children and youth have the opportunity and encouragement to play outside, touch soil, feel rain, watch leaves fall, sleep under the stars, count waves, eat food fresh from the garden, roll down a hill, catch a fish and enjoy the satisfaction of climbing to the top of a hill or a tree. Such simple acts create a pathway to an appreciation for nature and wildlife, an active and healthy outdoor lifestyle and a sustained relationship with the natural world.
OAK’s core values are the shared beliefs and principles that guide our behavior, interactions and decision-making.
- Multi-sector collaboration
- Anti-racism, diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion
Although families have the leading role in connecting children with the outdoors, there is also a need for decision-makers to ensure that children, youth and families have the access, opportunities, skills and encouragement to connect with the great outdoors.
- OAK seeks to raise awareness and activate leaders and decision-makers at the grassroots, local, state, regional and federal levels to support change efforts that expand and strengthen outdoor education, community health and wellness, and environmental stewardship opportunities for children and youth across America.
- OAK is an active voice for the movement and its members, focused on strategic and overall change.
- OAK is committed to engaging, educating and influencing leaders in a variety of sectors including conservation, recreation, health, education, defense and military readiness, business, built environment and transportation.
The Outdoors Alliance for Kids embraces and values diversity when it comes to race, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, mental and physical ability, and age. In order for OAK to achieve its mission “to advocate for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors”, we commit to celebrating diversity, working towards equity, and practicing inclusion in all of our work.
- Diversity: OAK understands and values two simple truths: 1) there are many ways to experience and spend time in nature and the outdoors, and 2) our public lands and open spaces belong to all of us. For OAK to reach its mission, we must celebrate diversity in the outdoors and actively work to ensure all kids and communities have encouragement and opportunities to safely explore the natural world.
- Equity: OAK understands that not all children start on equal footing when it comes to opportunities to experience the outdoors and strives to close the equity gap in our advocacy and programmatic work.
- Inclusion: OAK will employ best practices to foster an inclusive environment, striving to ensure a variety of perspectives, individuals, and organizations are welcomed and valued in our meetings and activities, particularly at the leadership level.