Outdoor Recreation in AmericaBrought to you by the American Recreation Coalition
Outdoor Recreation in AmericaBrought to you by the American Recreation Coalition
Dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone's right
News Releases Posted on Fri, 07/02/2010 - 15:16.
Hundreds of hosting organizations and partners – federal and local agencies, nonprofits, recreation businesses and more – made June 12 a day of outdoor fun for thousands of families – especially underserved and urban families with kids. National Get Outdoors Day (GO-Day) 2010 was the third annual GO-Day and united groups to combat indoor, inactive lifestyles which are fueling the nation’s obesity epidemic and threatening today’s children with shorter life expectancies than their parents. The national effort was again led by the USDA Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), but the 91 official GO-Day sites involved a varied mix of organizations in the natural resources, recreation, healthcare, youth services, and media fields. The partners were united by a shared belief in the mission of National Get Outdoors Day:
Unify public and private-sector interests in efforts to influence American lifestyles, especially among youth, in ways that maximize the physical, mental and other benefits derived from activities in the Great Outdoors through a focused effort to invite Americans to designated sites on a single day, as well as to highlight and assist the efforts of National Get Outdoors Day partners year-round.
The effort to reduce childhood obesity through outdoor activities has gained national attention this year. President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors) seeks to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. In addition, the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative (www.letsmove.gov), which aims to combat childhood obesity and help American families make good nutritional choices, added a “Let’s Move Outside” component on June 1, highlighting outdoor physical activity as essential to children’s health.
GO-Day 2010 provided instruction, equipment and opportunities for families to enjoy both traditional and new outdoor activities, regardless of previous experience. The priority targets for the day were young people, especially urban youth, and Americans who do not currently visit public lands and waters. Organizers of GO-Day understood that they were competing with the lure of shopping malls, cable television, computers and electronic games, and they met the challenge with exceptional results.
GO-Day involved 91 official sites in more than 35 states from Hoonah, Alaska, to Canyon Rim Park in Utah, from Washington D.C.’s Kingman Island to Colorado’s Denver City Park, and from Munford, Alabama, to Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Tens of thousands of people across the country enjoyed the fun and health benefits of time in the great outdoors. GO-Day sites offered traditional outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing and kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, orienteering and even archery. Some sites also included technology, recognizing the lure of digital photography and hand-held GPS units used for geocaching. Partners also offered educational sessions on water safety, conservation, recycling, wildlife safety, and outdoor ethics. Hands-on learning experiences included casting, setting up tents, planting and caring for gardens – even canning. Special guests at many of the sites – including Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and the Blue Goose – were hits with kids of all ages. And Shrek and friends appeared at Denver’s GO-Day event, where the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council joined DreamWorks Animation to launch new PSAs – featuring Shrek – to help get children outside and reconnected with nature. Visit www.discovertheforest.org for more information.
A key focus of GO-Day 2010 was making outdoor recreation a part of healthy lifestyles. Many GO-Day sites offered participants educational sessions on good nutrition, blood pressure checks and information about reducing the risk of diabetes, skin cancer and more. In Denver, HHS Regional Health Administrator Dr. Zachary Taylor even wrote kids prescriptions for good health and encouraged them to complete healthy GO-Day activities and to make personal commitments to getting active outdoors this summer.
While the exciting activities of the GO-Day events gave guests a taste of fun outdoor activities, follow-up EChO events will help them stay engaged in outdoor activities long after they returned home. Participating organizations distributed invitations to EChO events later in the summer, where GO-Day guests will be provided with the equipment and training needed for a more in-depth outdoor experiences. EChO activities will include ranger-guided nature walks, rock climbing, river rafting, golf lessons, fishing and more at nearby local sites, as well as national EChO events such as the Great American Backyard Campout.
GO-Day is a signature event of Great Outdoors Month, which is designated each year in June by a Presidential proclamation. For the first time, all 50 state governors and the Mayor of the District of Columbia also issued Great Outdoors Month proclamations. Many proclamations specifically mention National Get Outdoors Day and promote efforts in their state to get kids and families healthier through fun outdoors. A growing number of governors also toured state parks, held conferences on health and the great outdoors and took other actions to highlight healthy outdoor fun. Great Outdoors Month 2010 proclamations can be viewed and downloaded at www.funoutdoors.com.
National Get Outdoors Day was launched on June 14, 2008 in response to the increasing number of disturbing reports about the daily activities and health of today’s youth. Today’s children spend 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen and are six times more likely to play a computer game than to ride a bike. Kids report that outdoor adventure is fun, but that outdoor activities are nearly invisible and forgotten, lost in a clutter of ads and text messages, television shows and Wii consoles, overshadowed by malls offering food, friends and “perfect” weather. 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 Forest Service and ARC agreed to lead an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors. GO-Day brings federal, state and local agencies, key enthusiast organizations and recreation businesses together to create a healthy, fun day of outdoor adventure aimed at reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting children to the outdoors – and invites them to keep coming back.
The achievements of GO-Day 2010 are impressive:
Google reports more than 500 media “hits” about GO-Day events, including:
Typical of the media coverage is this excerpt from a story in the Albert Lea (MN) Tribune:
Along with other parks across the country, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging families to answer the call of the wild and participate in National Get Outdoors Day by offering a variety of free activities statewide on Saturday, June 12.
The DNR will also waive the requirement for a $5 vehicle permit and provide free admission at all 73 Minnesota State parks and recreation areas that day. The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to introduce first-time visitors to state parks, state trails, fishing piers, and other public lands. In particular, it aims to reconnect youth — whose participation in outdoor recreation has been declining — to the great outdoors.
In addition to getting free admission to parks and programs, families can pick up copies of the Parks Guide and an 80-page spring/summer Programs & Special Events catalog when they arrive on June 12.
This is a great time to enjoy the State Park experience and find out what enjoying the outdoors is all about.
As in the first two years, top Forest Service officials took part in National Get Outdoors Day events across the nation. Hank Kashdan, Associate Chief, braved the cold and rainy weather that held down crowds in Denver. Chuck Myers, Deputy Chief for Business Operations, joined the Phoenix area events led by Salt River Tubing. Jackie Myers, Associate Deputy Chief, and Donna Carmical, Chief Financial Officer, assisted with the Albuquerque event. Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, took part in the Detroit event at Greenfield Village while Gloria Manning, Associate Deputy Chief, helped celebrate National Get Outdoors Day in Anchorage, joined by Wyland, ocean artist and USDA partner. Jim Bedwell, Director of Recreation, Volunteers and Heritage Resources, took part in the activities at Kingman Island in Washington, D.C.
GO-Day’s national profile has increased as awareness of the benefits of time outdoors builds. Major increases in the number of participating organizations and media coverage demonstrate the growing enthusiasm and support for the event. The GO-Day National Coordinating Committee is already working on ways to make GO-Day 2011 another major step forward, adopting important “lessons learned,” including:
Any additional feedback from guests and participants of GO-Day 2010 are welcomed by the GO-Day National Coordinating Committee. Arrangements are already being made throughout the nation for GO-Day 2011 in June. If you are interested in hosting a GO-Day event in 2011, please contact the American Recreation Coalition at email@example.com or 202-682-9530.
For more information on GO-Day, please visit: www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org.
GO-Day is part of the Get Outdoors USA! campaign. The campaign reaches out to Americans, especially our youth, and encourages healthy, active outdoors lifestyles. Additionaly, the campaign focuses on Americans embracing our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and water. Get Outdoors USA! partnered with the U.S. Forest Service on six recreation forums in early 2007 which helped build awareness that public lands were not using the correct "triggers" to capture the attention of today's youth. The GO-Day concept was piloted at the Outdoor Recreation Village at Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, and welcomed over 100,000 vistors. For more information on the Outdoor Recreation Village, visit www.funoutdoors.com/node/view/2016. We truly appreciate all your hard work in making this the best GO-Day Event Nationwide!
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