Monday, July 22, 2013

Outdoor Nation encourages young people to get active

Outdoor Nation has teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and North Carolina Recreation and Park Association to encourage young people to get outside and get active.

The groups are offering 2013 GO NC! Health Challenge Grants to support initiatives that increase physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles. Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded for projects from the eastern, central and western parts of North Carolina. They must be based in North Carolina and use outdoor recreation as a way to address health concerns. 

To apply, submit your proposal by Aug. 30. Awards will be announced Sept.18.

Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that started the Outdoor Nation movement, called Outdoor Nation a national initiative that reconnects "millennials" -- also known as Generation Y, born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

In the past year, Outdoor Nation has awarded more than $250,000 to youth for projects that reconnect young people with nature. 

“Since 2012, our GO NC! initiative has worked with organizations across the state to increase access to greenways and public bicycles. We’re thrilled to expand this work to support creative and passionate youth who are keyed into new and exciting ways to promote healthy lifestyles in our state,” said Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC vice president of corporate affairs.

The grant program announcement follows the recent Outdoor Nation Signature Summit on the Outdoors. In late June, nearly 200 young people gathered at UNC-Chapel Hill and camped overnight at the 47,000-acre Jordan Lake State Recreation Area to brainstorm and develop projects that get more people outdoors.