National Get Outdoors Day Overview

Building on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other important efforts to connect Americans – and especially children – with nature and active lifestyles, the U.S. Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition agreed to lead an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors. National Get Outdoors Day partnered with federal, state and local agencies, key enthusiast organizations and recreation businesses to create a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure aimed at reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.

June 14, 2008 marked the inaugural National Get Outdoors Day. Over 50 official National Get Outdoors Day sites across the nation from Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C. to the Big Bear Discovery Center in the San Bernardino National Forest welcomed thousands of new faces to the joy and benefits of the great outdoors. Participating partners offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities.

Each National Get Outdoors Day event offered a mix of information centers and “active fun” areas – places where guests, and especially kids, could use a fishing pole, go geocaching, help pitch a tent and more. The sites offered photo opportunities with characters like Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and other interesting creatures. In addition, National Get Outdoors Day events encouraged partners like the Boy Scouts of America, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the National Park Service WebRangers to recruit youth to become part of programs and organizations designed to strengthen their connection to the outdoors.

National Get Outdoors Day had tremendous support from partners across the country. They were grateful for the opportunity to combat the sedentary lifestyles that are affecting the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of today’s youth.

The inaugural National Get Outdoors Day (NGOD) accomplishments are impressive:

  • Thousands of American families and youth participated in NGOD activities across the country.

  • Hundreds of partners made the NGOD events possible through support and sponsorship. Over $10,000 in free giveaways to the public included Coleman camping equipment, Clif bars, National Wildlife Federation resources, and more.

  • 54 official sites in 34 states plus Puerto Rico celebrated NGOD in addition to countless non-official sites.

  • NGOD received heavy local media coverage, including widespread print and online articles, as well as radio and television features.

  • Proclamations from Governors and Mayors gave specific support to NGOD.
  • jumped from zero to 19,000 hits in two months!

The visibility and support of National Get Outdoors Day will continue to increase. To foster this growth and to improve the events across the country, the following suggestions have been made:

  • Increase efforts for outreach to underserved communities. Build relationships with community leaders, youth ministers, sports organizations, schools and others connected to the target audience.

  • Utilize bilingual marketing efforts to encourage Latino community participation.

  • Recruit political leaders, sports figures and celebrities to emphasize the importance of NGOD.

  • Develop and propose sponsorship opportunities for 2009 which will be in place in time for the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City in August.

  • Continue efforts to enlist Charter Champions ($1,000 pledge) throughout the fall of 2008.

  • Explore inclusion of music and food at certain NGOD events.

  • Discuss further the NGOD 2009 official date, either moving it earlier to kickoff Great Outdoors Month or keeping it in June with the option of allowing events throughout the course of a few weeks or month.

  • Change the NGOD event starting time to later in the day to respond to the activity patterns of targeted families and youth.

The American Recreation Coalition and the U.S. Forest Service will continue to solicit ideas to further improve future NGOD events.

The NGOD Partners that have sent feedback to the National Coordinating Committee have pledged 100% participation in the 2009 NGOD and promised to build upon the successes and lessons of the inaugural events.

National Get Outdoors Day Partners
National Get Outdoors Day Locations