Outdoor NationIn 2010, Outdoor Nation made history by hosting the largest National Youth Summit on the Outdoors — bringing more than 500 young people representing every state to address the growing disconnect between youth and the outdoors. In 2011, the youth-led revolution will spread across the country in an effort to build a movement and empower a generation to reconnect, redefine and rediscover the outdoors. This year’s plans were unveiled 3/16 at an event co-hosted by The Outdoor Foundation and America’s State Parks, which was named national partner and top cause of the initiative.

Building on the success of the 2010 Summit, Outdoor Nation will host 5 Regional Summits this year – bringing together thousands of young people to identify top issues, brainstorm creative ideas and commit to taking action, individually and collectively:

  • New York (Official Kickoff 6/24-6/26)
  • Atlanta (7/8-7/10)
  • Minneapolis (7/15-7/17)
  • Denver (7/22-7/24)
  • San Francisco (7/29-7/31)

Tied to every Summit is a Summer Fun Day that will be co-hosted by America’s State Parks and other lead partners including the National Park Service. These events are expected to attract thousands of local residents and will offer a range of outdoor activities from kayaking to rock climbing to a family fun area.

Faced with deep budget cuts and unprecedented park closures, America’s State Parks have been identified by the Outdoor Nation community of ‘Outsiders’ as its top advocacy issue because of their unmatched importance in America’s outdoor recreation. America’s State Parks, with more than 7,000 sites and a record 740 million visits in 2010, were founded more than a century ago to provide close-to-home access to nature for all citizens. In addition to record visitation, America’s Sate Parks hit significant milestones in 2010 related to both number of protected acres and economic contribution, which topped $23 billion.

“Outdoor Nation is building a youth-led movement and empowering a generation,” said Lindsay Bourgoine, lead Outdoor Nation Ambassador. “Thanks to our partners we will be able to bring Outdoor Nation into the states and communities this summer to address the real issues that are keeping people inside. Our community of Outsiders will actively champion important causes like America’s State Parks — engaging new communities and inspiring new leadership across all 50 states.”

Following Outdoor Nation’s youth-empowerment model, America’s State Parks launched its first national youth program earlier this year — the State Park Youth Ambassadors program. Anchored in every state, these youth leaders will work with Outdoor Nation to raise support and awareness for America’s State Parks.