Outdoor Nation, an outdoor movement led by leaders of the millennial generation, today announced its 2012 program plans of hosting 10 Youth Summits, growing its investment in youth-led projects and ultimately empowering thousands of young leaders to reconnect their generation with the outdoors. Providing major support for the ambitious plans, founding partner The North Face announced that it will be a Presenting Sponsor of Outdoor Nation for the third year in a row. In the past two years, Outdoor Nation has emerged as a major force that represents a new generation of thought leaders and change makers who are spearheading innovative projects, influencing decision-makers and mobilizing more people to get outdoors and get active.
“Outdoor Nation invests in the passion, energy and ideas of young leaders,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation, the organization that launched Outdoor Nation. “With generous support from The North Face, we are excited to empower young outdoor champions and change makers in communities across the country — inspiring a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and participants.”
In addition to their Presenting Sponsorship of all 2012 Outdoor Nation Regional Youth Summits, The North Face and Outdoor Nation will return to the 2011 Summit sites, to provide intensive training to an elite group of more than 500 young people ready to take their leadership to the next level. Funding will be provided to 10 youth-led projects that will engage thousands of additional youth. The North Face will be the exclusive host and sponsor of a special outdoor adventure for participants at every event. Featuring The North Face athletes, Outdoor Nation Summits will include a uniquely authentic outdoor experience bringing to life The North Face “Never Stop Exploring” motto and asking leaders to push their personal limits in the outdoors.
“At The North Face, we believe in a virtuous cycle. First, you must provide the opportunity for an individual to spend time outside, then out of that grows a passion for the experience, which then evolves into a desire to protect the outdoors,” said Todd Spaletto, president of The North Face. “This year we saw it as imperative to not just inspire the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists, but also provide them with the leadership tools they will need to activate this movement of outdoor exploration on the ground.”
A cornerstone of the 2012 plans, Outdoor Nation will host 10 Youth Summits this year – mobilizing and activating more than 2,500 young leaders (ages 16-28) across the country. Providing varying levels of training and leadership development, each Summit will bring the next generation of outdoor activists together to identify pressing outdoor issues, discuss and develop strategies to address these barriers and commit to taking action, together. During each Summit, Outdoor Nation will fund the top young leader-created, millennial-led program ideas that get young people outdoors and active – investing as much as $100,000 in on-the-ground projects.
The 2012 Summits will be held in Boston, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and San Francisco – with several taking on a special focus. The Boston Summit will center on the connection between health and the outdoors – in partnership with Tufts University and Massachusetts State Parks. In Salt Lake City, the Summit will be tied to Outdoor Retailer and bring young industry leaders together, and in Washington DC, Outdoor Nation Ambassadors will set a national agenda, receive training and meet with key stakeholders in Congress and the Administration.
Each Summit will include a conversation on outdoor careers – helping young leaders understand employment pathways and opportunities. These discussions will be hosted by a panel of private, public and non-profit professionals with real, practical ways youth can pursue an outdoor career. Outdoor Nation is committed to amplifying the youth voice by organizing briefings with White House officials, Members of Congress and other important decision-makers. Continually working to build an active community of outdoor leaders, Outdoor Nation engages youth in online forums and provides resources about outdoor leadership and project development.
Outdoor Nation is an initiative of The Outdoor Foundation and was founded with initial support from The North Face, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, The REI Foundation, The Conservation Fund and the National Park Service.