On EKiaP Day of Action, White House Announces Commitments to Getting Nearly Half a Million Kids Outside

Today, the White House is announcing that more than two dozen foundations, companies and nonprofit organizations have signed on to the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, committing to funding trips to America’s national parks and other public lands and waters for nearly half a million 4th grade children. This announcement is just one of many events happening across the country to celebrate National Park Week and the centennial year of the National Park Service.

Launched in September 2015, the Every Kid in a Park initiative provides all 4th graders and their families with free access to our country’s public lands and waters for a full year. Since the launch of the initiative, private companies, nonprofits and other youth-serving groups have responded to the President’s call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s unparalleled outdoors, taking action to ensure that all children can have this opportunity. In addition to demonstrating the breadth of support for Every Kid in a Park, today’s commitments include several new steps to expand the initiative, including the launch of a public awareness campaign and website, EveryKidinaPark.org, a commitment from outdoor retailer REI to fund trips for all 4th graders in Washington D.C. public schools, and a 75 percent Amtrak discount for 4th graders with an Every Kid in a Park pass when purchased with a full fare adult ticket.

Additionally, as part of National Park Week this week and today’s Every Kid in a Park Day of Action, organizations and individuals across the country are continuing to raise awareness for the initiative. Highlights of the announcements and commitments supporting the President’s initiative include:

  • Transportation costs will be paid for nearly half a million 4th graders across the country to attend Every Kid in a Park trips through a combination of philanthropic support and existing federal funding;
  • Six states – Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico and New York – have committed to honoring the federal Every Kid in a Park pass in their state parks;
  • Print and digital distribution of Every Kid in a Park resources has reached virtually every 4th grade class in the United States;
  • More than 1,000 events and field trips have already been held to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative.
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    Every Kid in a Park Statement of Support

    We support President Obama's Every Kid in a Park Initiative which provides every fourth grader and their family a free one-year pass to any of our nation's public lands and waters. The Every Kid in a Park initiative delivers a nationwide call to action to connect all Americans with our nation's great natural beauty and rich history. As we celebrate the National Park Service's centennial year and look towards the next century of conservation, we are committed to ensuring that all youth, especially those in underserved communities, have the opportunity to experience America's great outdoors.

    By signing the Every Kid in a Park statement of support, these companies and organizations are demonstrating support for the President's Every Kid in a Park initiative and taking action to connect all youth to America's great outdoors.

    The following organizations have signed on to the above Every Kid in a Park Statement of Support and are committing to help the President’s Every Kid in a Park initiative.

    American Recreation Coalition

    Through collaboration with public, corporate and nonprofit partners during Great Outdoors Month®, the American Recreation Coalition is committed to introducing thousands of 4th graders and their families to their public lands and waters at special events all across the country. The coalition is working closely with Governors to host campouts – including the first-ever Great Outdoors Western Governors Campout in Wyoming – issue proclamations, produce public service announcements and more to help their residents get outdoors.

    Amtrak

    Amtrak is a proud transportation partner of the Every Kid in a Park initiative. As Every Kid in a Park connects young people to the outdoors, America’s Railroad® connects people, the economy and the nation. Amtrak hopes to increase opportunities for Americans to get outdoors and connect with one of our nation’s true treasures, the national park system. In partnership with the Department of the Interior, Amtrak will offer a special Every Kid in a Park discount: buy one adult, get one child 75% off for travel to National Parks, urban parks, federal lands and waters this summer. Amtrak has service to over 260 parks and more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide.

    The California Outdoor Engagement Coalition at UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources

    To support Every Kid in a Park in Richmond, CA we are partnering with the National Park Service, Rosie the Riveter Trust, West Contra Costa Unified School District and Groundwork Richmond to bring 1,200 4th graders from Richmond and San Pablo to Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park this spring. We plan to partner with other cities and districts to create wholesale efforts in California to bring all 4th graders in that area to their parks and provide them with Every Kid in a Park passes.

    Children & Nature Network

    Children & Nature Network (C&NN) will promote Every Kid in a Park across a range of communication channels and events, and engage their grassroots networks and local supporters. Specifically, C&NN will promote the initiative through a national newsletter, online forums and toolkits, activation webinars, and at an international conference. Every Kid in a Park will also be featured as part of the book launch of Vitamin N, by Richard Louv, which contains a section describing the initiative.

    Civic Nation

    Today, in coordination with the Department of the Interior, Civic Nation is launching a public awareness and engagement campaign to inspire the next generation of cultural and environmental stewards by instilling curiosity about nature’s wonders, fostering appreciation for diverse cultural heritage, and furthering understanding of historic events. The Every Kid in a Park Campaign will engage educators, parents, and others to help get Every Kid in a Park and join the movement to make exploring these places a rite of passage for generations to come. In addition, EveryKidinaPark.org will serve as an online hub to find resources and tools from partners to improve access to America’s treasured outdoor spaces and historic sites.

    Family Travel Association

    The Family Travel Association is a coalition of the travel industry's leading suppliers, destinations, resources and experts on the subject of traveling with children. As a member-based organization with fast-expanding reach in both trade and the media, we will endeavor to share news about Every Kid in a Park with members through any of a number of open channels, which include familytravel.org, newsletters, social media channels, Spotlight editorial campaign, general editorial, promotions and annual Summit.

    Girl Scouts of the USA

    Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) participates in the Girl Scout Ranger program at National Parks and has developed "girls in the outdoors" videos at three National Parks. GSUSA is promoting Every Kid in a Park through Girl Scouts’ websites and by highlighting the 8 badges a Girl Scout Junior can easily earn when visiting public lands. GSUSA is also developing a "Get Outside" button for the online volunteer tool kit to help volunteers take activities they do with girls outside and will promote this initiative through social media assets on the GSUSA blog, Facebook and other outlets.

    Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation

    In support of Every Kid in a Park, the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation has initiated a $25,000 fund with DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform for teachers. The fund is currently supporting Every Kid in a Park field trips and will provide 4th graders with hands-on opportunities to explore the outdoors and connect with nature. Fourth grade teachers from around the country can request up to $500 to support transportation for field trips to a U.S. national park, forest, wildlife refuge, or other federal lands or waters as part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

    Kokua Hawai’i Foundation

    Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation is supporting Every Kid in a Park with a commitment of $100,000 worth of KHF Field Trip Grants, with the goal of reaching all 17,000 4th grade students in the state of Hawaiʻi. The Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation supports environmental education in schools and communities of Hawai’i. The mission of the foundation is to provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.

    National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

    This year, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) is supporting the Every Kid in a Park initiative by creating a dedicated segment of its annual competitive grantmaking program, the Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund Grants. NMSF is funding four innovative projects encouraging more than 9,000 4th graders and their families, particularly those in underserved schools and communities, to adopt an ocean stewardship ethic through experiences in our nation’s federally-designated National Marine Sanctuary System. Field trips to existing and potential future sanctuaries, where young people will explore marine life, maritime heritage, research and conservation, are complemented with classroom STEM-focused learning activities.

    National Parks Conservation Association

    National Parks Conservation Association commits to help Every Kid in a Park by engaging more than 1,000 4th graders, parents, and teachers at NPCA events in 2016. We will also promote the initiative through social media channels, provide materials about it at events, and connect Members of Congress with Every Kid in a Park outings.

    National Park Foundation

    The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, has raised more than $3 million in support of getting nearly 400,000 4th graders to more than 200 parks and public land sites. The Foundation will continue its efforts for the Every Kid in A Park initiative by continuing to raise critical dollars that ensure young people have the opportunity to experience America’s national parks. The Foundation will also continue to leverage its robust media platforms to support the initiative including its popular website (nationalparks.org), "GoParks" newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

    National Park Hospitality Association

    The concessioner members of the National Park Hospitality Association are supporting Every Kid in a Park by playing a direct role in the visits of at least 15,000 4th graders to some 30 national park units during the 2015-16 school year alone. Free boat rides, lunches, and overnight stays, discounts on recreation activities in national parks and more are just some of the ways national park concessioners are helping connect 4th graders and their families with America’s public lands and waters. These commitments will extend beyond the current academic year. Concessioners’ efforts are aimed at making these visits – often first-ever visits to a national park – fun, and making the kids eager to come back for more fun for the rest of their lives.

    National Park Trust

    Through two national youth programs, Kids to Parks Day and Buddy Bison School Program, National Park Trust has worked with more than 130 schools this year and has encouraged each 4th grade class to take advantage of this unique opportunity. In addition, NPT will be getting every 4th grader in Ventura County, California to Channel Islands National Park. Every Kid in a Park has helped NPT engage even more students than ever before.

    NatureBridge

    NatureBridge will support Every Kid in a Park by bringing over 30,000 students, including over 2,000 of our nation's 4th graders, each year, to six campuses in national parks. NatureBridge provides hands-on environmental science programs for children and teens. These multi-day programs take place outdoors in the magnificence of nature’s classroom, where students are immersed in the wonder and science of our national parks in Yosemite, Golden Gate, Olympic, Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands, and Prince William Forest.

    The North Face

    A portion of this year’s The North Face Explore Fund grants have been designated to nonprofits that support the initiative and bring 4th graders on meaningful outdoor experiences where the Every Kid in a Park pass is accepted. In support of Every Kid in a Park, The North Face and Jaunt VR are teaming up to bring an inspirational and immersive virtual reality experience to 4th grade students and their families, giving them a taste of what it is like to discover and explore public lands throughout the U.S. Based in Palo Alto California, Jaunt is a pioneering virtual reality company that brings compelling VR experiences right to your smartphone.

    Outdoor Afro

    Outdoor Afro will enthusiastically support and promote President Obama's Every Kid in a Park initiative. Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires African American connections to nature. We do this with our team of over 60 trained outdoor recreation and conservation enthusiasts, representing 28 states with over 12,000 outdoor event participants of all ages. We also reach millions more through a coordinated social media effort that has successfully shifted the visual representation and narrative of who gets outdoors.

    Outdoor Alliance

    Outdoor Alliance is a national nonprofit coalition of outdoor recreation advocacy groups for climbers, mountain bikers, backcountry skiers, and paddlers. We look forward to sharing the Every Kid in a Park initiative on our website and social media channels, as well as through our coalition network.

    OAK - Outdoors Alliance for Kids

    As a national strategic partnership of more than 80 organizations and businesses from diverse sectors, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is working to increase equitable and readily-available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. OAK has been working to raise awareness about the President's initiative, including helping to launch the Washington, DC, New York City and Hawaii Every Kid in a Park programs in 2015 with major events in each location. In 2016, OAK is working to activate its members and expects to reach 10,000 kids across the country through events and sustained programming, including collaboration with schools, non-profits and local land management agencies.

    Outdoor Industry Association and The Outdoor Foundation

    To help celebrate the Centennial year of “America’s best idea,” and the new great idea launched by the Obama Administration – the Every Kid in a Park initiative – Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association created “Parks 4 Kids.” This online platform supports the Every Kid in a Park effort by funding schools and nonprofits to ensure their programs can provide America’s youth with outdoor experiences, this year, and in years to come, and has already raised more than $250,000 since launching in January.

    REI

    Specialty outdoor retailer REI is today announcing a $25,000 grant to ensure every public school 4th grader in the District of Columbia has a park experience this year. REI’s motto is “a life outdoors is a life well-lived,” and in the Centennial year, the co-op has demonstrated its commitment to that belief through a multi-million dollar partnership with the National Park Foundation, supporting stewardship and activations around the country. To mark the Fall opening of a flagship store in D.C., REI wants to help ensure that 4th graders across the nation’s capital have a chance to experience the wonders of time spent in nature. The REI grant will be complemented by $10,000 from The Conservation Fund and Outdoor Foundation (OF), the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).

    Scholastic

    Using its reach into every school in the country, Scholastic has developed and distributed custom Every Kid in a Park classroom resources to virtually every 4th grade teacher in the United States. The resources, provided to classrooms in both print and digital formats, provide teachers with the tools necessary to activate the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts. Through its "Backpack Channel," Scholastic has also brought Every Kid in a Park into homes across the country, elevating awareness among parents and calling on each of them to capitalize on the free pass and introduce their children to federal lands and waters.

    Sierra Club

    The Sierra Club will host hundreds of outings on our public lands, from neighborhood parks to national parks. Through promotion of the Every Kid in a Park program and other outings, we are focused on engaging our 2.4 million members and supporters to open doors to help underserved children and communities connect with nature. As just one example, the Sierra Club is working with the Every Kid in a Park program in Los Angeles to help children from park-poor communities explore the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

    Student Conservation Association

    By increasing the number of young Americans empowered through hands-on service-learning in national parks and public lands, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) supports both the practice and the spirit of placing Every Kid in a Park. Working in cities across the U.S., SCA’s ConSERVE community service events and Urban Tree House elementary-level environmental education programs aim to engage 1,000 4th graders annually to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative. SCA will also leverage its national social media audience to promote the initiative and share the value of connecting young people to nature.

    Sub Rosa

    Sub Rosa, a strategy and design practice based in New York, delivers business and creative solutions for complex multinationals and start-ups, cultural institutions, communities, and renowned individuals. To support Civic Nation’s Every Kid in a Park campaign, Sub Rosa helped develop and launch EveryKidinaPark.org, providing a multitude of services including creative direction, content strategy, UX design, social media strategy, and web development. Additionally, Sub Rosa will be joining The North Face and Jaunt in producing an all-new virtual reality experience that furthers the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

    Trust for Public Land

    The Trust for Public Land will support the Every Kid in a Park initiative by promoting content related to the public awareness campaign via social media and other communications platforms. Additionally, the Trust for Public Land has established a mission goal of creating a park within a 10-minute walk of everyone in America’s cities. We will work to leverage the goals of the Every Kid in a Park initiative as it encourages others to adopt the 10-minute walk standard for providing nearby access to parks and open space.

    U.S. Travel Association

    The U.S. Travel Association, whose mission is to increase travel to and within the United States, will engage its diverse membership and the broader travel community to foster greater awareness and engagement with the Every Kid in a Park initiative as well as the National Park Service Centennial celebration. These efforts will complement Project: Time Off, a national movement from U.S. Travel and a Coalition of supporters, to win back America’s Lost Week of vacation and shift culture so that time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.

    The Wilderness Society

    The Wilderness Society (TWS) is supporting Every Kid in a Park through its partnership with the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK). Together, TWS and OAK will develop a robust and vibrant Every Kid in a Park initiative that provides an increasing number of 4th grade students with outdoor experiences every year, including through the recently announced Every Kid in a Park Spring Tour sponsoring events to get thousands of 4th graders outside this year. Additionally, TWS and OAK will also be working with their partners in the federal land management agencies to institutionalize the Every Kid in a Park initiative so that it continues beyond the end of the Obama Administration.

    Wildlife Conservation Society

    The Wildlife Conservation Society – which promotes the benefits to all of being outside in nature, including through five zoological facilities – will highlight the Every Kid in a Park initiative in educational programs, camps, on website and social media platforms, and at each of the Wildlife Conservation Society facilities to ensure that children and adults alike are exposed to the benefits of being outdoors.

    YMCA of the USA

    YMCA will encourage local YMCAs across the country to provide healthy outdoor experiences at local, state and national parks to the 950,000 youth that participate in summer camping programs. Additionally, YMCA is collaborating with Let’s Move! Outside partners in 50 cities convened by YMCAs to support Every Kid in a Park through existing activities and partnerships on public lands. To share best practices for getting kids outdoors on public lands, YMCA will also disseminate success stories about YMCAs with active National Park Service partnerships through internal communications and help raise awareness publicly through social media, reminding families to engage in outdoor activities together.