Tag Archives: outdoors alliance for kids

Fourth Graders Float into OAK Week 2017

Parent and two kids canoeing along the Potomac River
Photo Credit: National Park Trust

All photo credits go to the National Park Trust.

Classrooms on water is a new way of learning for students across the nation. This new type of classroom allows students to learn about science, history, geography, and culture while floating along a river. This past week, Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile program traveled to the nation’s capital giving students in Washington D.C. the chance to experience a unique outdoor field trip on the Potomac River.

The National Park Service advocates for “Parks as Classrooms,” and it’s no different when talking about rivers and bodies of water. Canoemobile brings the classroom to the outdoors, engaging youth in environmental stewardship and recreational opportunities. Canoemobile is a collaboration of federal, state, and local partners.

OAK members joined Wilderness Inquiry and National Park Trust for a special Canoemobile event in Washington, D.C. with partners The North Face, National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service to celebrate the Every Kid in a Park program and kick off OAK’s annual gathering.

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A highlight in the event was the distribution of Every Kid in a Park passes. This interagency program grants fourth graders nationwide free entry for them and their families to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year.  The goal of the Every Kid in a Park program is to inspire fourth graders everywhere to visit our federal lands and waters. The program works to ensure “every child” in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old. Having just been renewed for its third year this past September, the passes given to these students will be valid until August 31, 2018.

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Seventy fourth graders from D.C. public schools were able to take 24-foot Voyageur canoes along the Potomac river and learn about the watershed. For many of these students, although the Potomac river is just a few miles away, they have never actually been on the river to participate recreationally. With the proper instruction, the fourth graders were able to safely enjoy the Potomac River and learn about its environmental importance.

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Partnering organizations led activity stations for the students. The North Face led students through a relay race activity which taught students how to properly pack a backpack and build a tent for a camping trip. With a little competition and movement, students were able to stay engaged and learn new skills about recreating in the outdoors.

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As a wrap up to the morning of events, the fourth graders were asked to fill out postcards from OAK explaining why they love their Every Kid in a Park pass. This initiative is part of a larger national campaign OAK is organizing for any fourth grader in the nation. To download and mail in postcard from home, visit the OAK website.

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Even WTOP, a local FM radio station, stopped by to cover the event! Read their story.

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This youth event kicked off this year’s official OAK Week. Later in the afternoon, OAK formally welcomed all member organizations with a Welcome Reception & Member Awards. In the next two days, OAK continued with its Annual Member Meeting, Networking Happy Hour, Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, and finalized the week with a Congressional Awards Reception.

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Learn more about the Outdoors Alliance for Kids and ways to joining this national strategic partnership which advocates for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors.

Every Kid in a Park – Youth Blog Series: Post #1

July 14, 2017

 

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Every Kid in a Park – Youth Blog Series, Post #1
Guest blog post by Ben T., rising 4th grader, Arlington, VA

Ben T. is a rising 4th grader at Ashlawn Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting students who have used, or gearing up to use, their Every Kid in a Park pass. Ben was interviewed by Isabel Argoti, Every Kid in a Park Community Assistance Fellow with OAK and the National Park Service.


 

Did you know you could get a special park pass as a 4th grader that gives you free entrance to parks for you and your family? How does that make you feel?

Ben: “Yes, I read about it in a National Geographic Kids article. It makes me feel awesome because I like to see new places and get outdoors. I also want to visit some of our famous National Parks.”  

What parks have you already visited?

Ben: “I haven’t yet visited a National Park, but I have seen Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and I live very close to the National Mall so I’ve been there. I’ve also visited Frederick Douglass’s home in DC, which was really cool.”

What is your happiest memory in visiting these sites?

Ben: “I have two…  I was Frederick Douglass for my 3rd grade “wax museum” project and visiting his home really made it all come to life for me. The other was taking a Navajo-guided tour of Canyon de Chelly.  I learned a lot, but also got to ride in a jeep through streams and mud!”

Are there other places outdoors you’d like to visit with your Every Kid in a Park pass? Are you excited to receive an Every Kid in a Park pass next school year?

Ben: “I hope to visit Shenandoah National Park, as well as places not too far away like Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia. But, I’d REALLY like to see someplace like Yellowstone or Denali! I’m looking forward to having my own park pass, yes!”

What are your favorite activities outdoors?

Ben: “Hiking, camping, exploring… but I also love to play sports, too. I just enjoy being outside with my friends.”

Do you plan on telling your friends and family about the pass? If so, who?

Ben: “Yes… I’ve already told my Mom and Dad, and a few of my school friends know about it, too. I’ll be sure to tell my teacher about it as soon as school starts up again. But, for now, I’m enjoying my summer break.”

 

OAK is seeking testimonials from children, parents, caregivers and teachers to share the impact of the Every Kid in a Park program. If your organization is planning an Every Kid in a Park event (or has already completed one), please help share the impact of the outdoor experience by encouraging youth participants to fill out the “I love my Every Kid in a Park pass because…” postcard and send it to OAK!

 

RELEASE: OAK celebrates the launch of Every Kid in a Park Hawai’i

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Contact: Virginia Cramer, 804-519-8449, Virginia.Cramer@sierraclub.orgJackie 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.”  

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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

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RELEASE: OAK Praises Secretary Jewell’s initiative to get youth outdoors in 50 cities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 12, 2015

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld; jackie.ostfeld@sierraclub.org; 202-548-6584

OAK Praises Secretary Jewell’s initiative to get youth outdoors in 50 cities

Washington, DC –Today, in New York City Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced a commitment from American Express that will support a new initiative with YMCA of the USA to connect young people with the outdoors in fifty cities across America. The effort is part of the Secretary’s initiative to connect millions of children and youth with opportunities to play, learn, serve and work in the outdoors.

In response to Secretary Jewell’s announcement, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statement:

“The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is honored to support this new effort to increase volunteerism among our youth on America’s public lands. Opportunities to engage young people in outdoor service opportunities, like those proposed today, help the next generation of leaders assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors.

The Y is an excellent choice for helping Secretary Jewell to realize her vision to increase engagement on public lands in and around cities across America. The YMCA of the USA is one of OAK’s founding steering committee members, and has been a steadfast champion for improving the health and wellness of children across this nation through opportunities to get outdoors. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids looks forward to working with the administration and YMCA of the USA to realize this bold vision for America’s children and youth.”

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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 seventy 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

jewellwithkidsInterior Secretary Sally Jewell with Y kids at OAK’s Youth Event on the National Mall, Washington, DC

Time to Create an ECHO Across America: Every Child Healthy Outdoors

guest blog by Sierra Club Nearby Nature Director and OAK Chair Jackie Ostfeld

originally published in the Huffington Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released the 2014 State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, and it’s bleak. The state by state analysis is a stark reminder that most kids in America are not getting enough physical activity.

According to the report, only 27.1 percent of youth in the United States are meeting the national physical aerobic activity guidelines, which call for 60 minutes of moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity daily. In some states, like Texas, less than one-fifth of young people are meeting these guidelines.

Unfortunately, these numbers are less surprising when coupled with the fact that most Americans simply do not live within walking distance of a park. According to the state by state report, only 39.2 percent of the U.S. population lives within a half mile of a park. If you want to see how your city fares on park access, look no further than the Trust for Public Land’s Park Score, which ranks cities on park acreage, access, investments and other metrics. The proximity and safety of parks are increasingly being recognized as a contributing factor to the overall health of a community, yet many of our children don’t have basic neighborhood access.

It’s not all bad news. The CDC’s report also found that when you combine parks, community centers and sidewalks, 54.5 percent of youth have neighborhood access to safe places for physical activity. While I, find that number to be woefully inadequate, it is a slight improvement over the CDC’s 2010 findings that only 50 percent of youth had neighborhood-level access to physical activity opportunities.

The report also took a look at the school and child care environments and found that several states are beginning to provide policy guidance to enhance physical education and activity. For example, 30 states have provided policy guidance on recess, and 34 have provided guidance on walking and biking to school. Twenty-seven states have adopted some form of complete streets policy, designed to make walking and biking safer and easier.

While progress may be being made in some areas, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that all kids and youth are meeting the daily physical activity guidelines, and perhaps even more work to be done to ensure that getting outdoors is a part of that daily routine.

That is why my colleagues and I at the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) created the Every Child Healthy Outdoors (ECHO) Across America Toolkit. OAK is a national strategic partnership of over 70 businesses and organizations from diverse sectors with a common goal to connect children, youth and families with the outdoors. The ECHO Across America Toolkit was designed by a broad set of OAK members and includes major contributions from the YMCA of the USA, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Children & Nature Network, Conservation Legacy, the Public Lands Service Coalition, and the Alliance for Childhood, among others.

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ECHO Across America provides state and local groups the tools needed to develop strong and diverse alliances and a plan to get kids and youth outdoors. The Toolkit includes resources for organizing a meeting of non-profit, community, business, and government leaders in a state or city to conduct an assessment of existing policies and initiatives. ECHO also helps alliances set policy goals for getting kids and families outdoors and provides advocacy resources for engaging governors and mayors to advance those goals. The Toolkit takes a multi-sector approach that includes strategies in education, health, transportation, the built environment, conservation and environmental stewardship.

At the national level, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin have introduced legislation that complements the ECHO Across America strategy. The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act is one of several pieces of legislation aimed at improving kids’ access to nature and the outdoors. The bill would provide incentives for states to develop multi-sector plans, similar to those recommended in OAK’s ECHO Across America Toolkit, to ensure that kids and families have opportunities and encouragement to get outdoors. The bill has broad support from OAK members.

There is still a long way to go to ensure that every child has opportunities to get healthy outdoors and we could use your help. If you represent a business or a non-profit organization that believes all children and youth should have opportunities to get outdoors, consider joining the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. Download OAK’s ECHO Across America Toolkit and see how you can advance Every Child Healthy Outdoors strategies, today.

Looking for some simpler ways to get involved? Start by letting your member of Congress know that you support the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act. Next, take a kid outdoors! Then, make known your efforts and ideas to engage more young people in the outdoors by blogging, writing a letter to the editor of your local paper, or sharing them in the comments below and on OAK’s Facebook page. Collectively, we can create an ECHO Across America!

RELEASE: The Public Lands Service Coalition joins steering committee of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 9, 2014

Contacts: Jackie Ostfeld; 202-548-6584; Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org; Joe Gersen; 202-737-6272; jgersen@corpsnetwork.org

The Public Lands Service Coalition joins steering committee of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Washington, DC– The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) today announced that The Corps Network’s Public Lands Service Coalition has joined the national partnership to connect children, youth and families with the outdoors. With the addition of one of the strongest voices for youth service to OAK’s steering committee, the alliance will work to advance one of its key goals to expand environmental stewardship opportunities for young people.

“The member organizations of the Public Lands Service Coalition (PLSC), which include conservation corps programs as well as conservation corps supporters, are excited and honored to be counted among this cadre of powerful voices for youth and environmental wellness. We have been working in tandem with OAK on addressing the alliance’s key issues.  Additionally we have received great support from OAK on the establishment of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.” says Joe Gersen, Director of Government Relations for the PLSC.

“The PLSC has been one of the organizations leading the development of the 21CSC since 2010 and it continues to provide leadership through the Partnership for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (P-21CSC).” said Eugenie Bostrom, Director of  Strategic Partnerships and Communications at Southwest Conservation Corps.

OAK is concerned about the growing divide between children, youth, families, and the outdoors. For many young people, spending time outdoors isn’t always easy or safe. Today’s youth spend 50 percent less time outdoors in natural settings than the generation that preceded them. Park and play deserts, a lack of transportation, stranger danger, safety, and overscheduled kids and adults are all factors contributing to the indoor and increasingly sedentary lifestyles of many kids and families. Physical inactivity is a factor in the rising rates in children of type II diabetes, poor cardiovascular health, and childhood obesity.

OAK is working to reverse this trend by advancing environmental education, community health and wellness, and environmental stewardship initiatives for children and youth. Environmental stewardship opportunities like those supported by the Public Lands Service Coalition provide young people with jobs, training, service and volunteer opportunities that connect them to the outdoors and help youth assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors and the healthy development of the next generation.

“OAK is honored to welcome the Public Lands Service Coalition onto its steering committee,” says Jackie Ostfeld, Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “Environmental stewardship opportunities like those provided by the members of the Public Lands Service Coalition are important for engaging older youth in meaningful outdoor activities that build their leadership and job skills, improve their health and wellness, and connect them with America’s great outdoors.”

The PLSC promotes youth service jobs and career development on public and tribal lands and waters. Each year, Coalition members engage more than 17,000 young people in jobs and service opportunities, and they are poised to expand to address record-high youth unemployment, billions of dollars of backlogged maintenance needs on public lands, and the disengagement of youth from the outdoors. The Public Lands Service Coalition is a program of The Corps Network, the national association of service and conservation corps. For more information visit The Corps Network website at www.corpsnetwork.org.

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About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK 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 members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the well-being 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 sixty national organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Association of State Park Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, 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.

Find out more on our website: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

RELEASE: Members of Outdoors Alliance for Kids Applaud Secretary Sally Jewell for Announcement on Youth and the Outdoors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 8, 2014

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld, 202-548-6584, Jackie.Ostfeld@sierraclub.org

Members of Outdoors Alliance for Kids Applaud Secretary Sally Jewell for Announcement on Youth and the Outdoors

Washington, DC – This morning, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. and the US Department of Agriculture to announce a major private sector investment of $1 million to put young people to work on our public lands through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) braved the record cold temperatures to join the Secretary by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial on the National Mall.

“OAK applauds and shares the Secretary’s vision to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors,” says Jackie Ostfeld, Chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “We look forward to working with Secretary Jewell to advance the goals of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps and other programs to provide opportunities for young people to get outdoors across America.”

Initiatives that provide young people with jobs, training, service and volunteer opportunities, like the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, empower youth to assume responsibility for the stewardship and preservation of America’s great outdoors and the healthy development of the next generation. The Corps will teach youth basic job skills at a time when youth unemployment is near record levels and young people are missing out on critical early job experiences. In addition, 21st Century Conservation Service Corps programs will improve public health by helping young people develop and maintain active lifestyles. Corps projects connect youth to the outdoors in a fun, educational, and engaging manner, increasing the likelihood they will live active lives that will improve their health and enhance their quality of life.

Today, OAK members sent a letter to the White House urging President Obama to support and prioritize the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

Statements from OAK Member CEOs

“The Sierra Club commends Secretary Jewell on her commitment to connecting youth to the outdoors. We’re pleased to see new support for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “I am also proud to announce that the Sierra Club has just become an official national partner with the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. Together we will work to reach 100,000 new service corps members a year by 2018 and educate corps members about conservation. In a world where many young people have never had the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world, the Corps is a valuable tool for connecting youth to our public lands and opening up a new generation to the value of conservation.”

“Conservation corps provide thousands of jobs and training opportunities for young people, complete high quality conservation project work, and develop a new generation of healthy, work-ready young people who are invested in the stewardship of America’s public lands and waters,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “The support for 21CSC offered by American Eagle Outfitters is an inspiring act of corporate citizenship. We encourage other businesses to show a similar vision and commitment to stewardship of these lands.”

“The cadre of conservation corps around the country have a strong record of engaging America’s young people in preserving our public and tribal lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites. This outstanding show of support for the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps exemplifies Secretary Jewel’s commitment to the land that she now oversees and to future generations of Americans,” said Harry Bruell, Co-Chair of the Public Lands Service Coalition and CEO of Conservation Legacy (formerly the Southwest Conservation Corps).

“We are very pleased that American Eagle Outfitters and Secretary Jewell have made such a big commitment to putting young Americans and veterans to work on our public lands, so that they can preserve, protect, and promote some of America’s great national treasures. We hope this is the first of many commitments that boost America’s next great generation of conservation and community leaders,” said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President & CEO of The Corps Network.

“IslandWood applauds Secretary Jewell’s announcement on the Department of the Interior’s commitment to the 21st Century Service Conservation Corps and connecting the next generation of diverse youth to the outdoors, together through dynamic public-private partnerships,” said Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood.

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Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK 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 members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the well-being 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 sixty national organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Association of State Park Directors, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, the Outdoor Foundation, 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. Find out more on our website: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org

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Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors

by Dr. Jill Biden

Originally published on the White House Joining Forces Blog

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As we mark the second anniversary of Joining Forces and celebrate the Month of the Military Child, April gives us the opportunity to celebrate our nation’s youngest heroes—the children whose parents serve in our Armed Forces.

Military children face many unique challenges – on average, they attend six to nine different school systems by the time they graduate from high school. Through each transition, they have to leave their friends, try out for new sports teams, and adjust to a new school.

As a teacher, I have been so pleased to see the progress we are making to raise awareness and understanding about how to help military children in the classroom. Through Joining Forces, more than 100 colleges of teacher education have signed on to Operation Educate the Educatorsan effort to help better prepare future teachers to help military children in the classroom.

But as a military mother and grandmother, it is important to me that we are supporting our military children outside the classroom as well.

That’s why I’m delighted to see that, for the third consecutive year, the Sierra ClubBlue Star Families, theNational Military Family Association, the Children & Nature Network, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and other partners will join forces for the Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors.

Getting children outdoors is a wonderful way to help them reduce stress and anxiety and improve physical fitness. It can also help bring families back together following a deployment.

Most of all, Celebration of the Military Child Outdoors is about creating opportunities for military children to explore and enjoy the beautiful land that they and their families have sacrificed to protect.

This year’s celebration kicked off with a family-friendly event on Saturday, April 6th just outside Washington, D.C., in Virginia’s Prince William Forest Park. There was hiking, fishing, tent races, and plenty of opportunities for hundreds of military kids to have fun outdoors, enjoy the natural world with their families and simply know that they are loved. There will be additional events and hikes happening across the country all spring long. Visit sierraclub.org/GETOUT for the full listing.

The Month of the Military Child is a time to remind ourselves that it is not just the service members who serve. It is also their families. We cannot make all the challenges of being a military child disappear, but we can make sure they know we’re standing beside them. And a great step forward is a program like this one, helping military kids and their families have fun and reconnect in the fresh air of nature.