After brainstorming all day, new recruits of Outdoor Nation needed a place to rest their brains, and Jordan Lake State Recreation Area was just the thing.
North Carolina’s state parks system co-hosted one of three national Outdoor Nation summits for 2013 this weekend. UNC-Chapel Hill was the venue for two days of intense discussion by 140 young millennials on how to get more young people involved in outdoor pursuits and conservation. Between sessions, they camped at the park. There was also time for a short Yoga lesson and inspiring talks by ambassadors from The North Face outfitters.
The Outdoor Nation initiative wants to stimulate and energize young adults who spend hours indoors in front of television or computer screens. Outdoor Nation is designed to address the disconnect from nature contributing to increased environmental apathy as well as major physical and mental health challenges among young people. Outdoor Nation was launched in 2010 by a partnership of The Outdoor Foundation, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, The REI Foundation, the National Park Service, and The North Face. Its mission is to increase youth participation in outdoor activities, especially among urban communities, promote healthy lives, and developing a new generation of environmental activists. Admission to the summit was free and young people ages 16-28 were invited.
“The North Carolina state parks system is committed to instilling a stewardship ethic to our more than 14 million annual visitors and we were very excited to co-sponsor and host this event,” said Lewis Ledford, state parks director. “North Carolina is very proud of its leading status as an outdoor state and this partnership will help us reach young leaders especially those in underserved communities — positioning the state for success in the future.”
Individually or in teams, many of the young people will now submit grant applications for projects to further the Outdoor Nation cause.
Here’s a gallery of the event. Click any image to begin.