We know the statistics. Kids are spending eight hours or more in front of screens each day. The number of children in the U.S. who are obese has doubled in the last decade. Children are declining in creativity, concentration, and social skills. But, as park professionals, we know that by working together we can make a change in each of our communities by getting more kids spending more time outdoors in our parks and park programs.
Created by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) with NRPA as the lead partner, the 10 Million Kids Outdoors campaign is bringing resources to park and recreation agencies to get more kids outdoors. Park and recreation agencies are uniquely equipped with expertise, access, programs, and resources to make a significant change in the lives of children. Working together we can reach this ambitious goal and show the combined impact of public parks and recreation.
How does my agency get involved?
First, you need to register your park and recreation agency at www.NRPA.org/10millionkidsoutdoors/.
It will take less than 5 minutes to register. Once you are registered you can access best practices, activities, and program opportunities with both NWF and NRPA. Also, there will be exclusive grant funding opportunities to expand and create additional environmental education opportunities.
In return, we ask for you to report how many children you’re getting outdoors. We have a simple reporting device we will ask you to fill out every 6 months, which will help track progress toward the 10 million goal.
Why should my agency get involved?
Above all, you'll be helping to reverse staggering trends and create a generation of happier, healthier children with more awareness and connection to the natural world, but here are three other good reasons:
- Learn from the best – your peers from across the country. We will be posting case studies, best practices, and creative curriculums on the website for you to use. Have a specific question? Start a discussion on NRPA Connect.
- Apply for Grant Funding. Periodically, NRPA will have funding opportunities for 10 Million Kids Outdoors registrants. For example, we closed an opportunity in mid-January with $35,000 in grants. Don’t miss out on the next opportunity
- Receive monthly updates on program opportunities. 10 Million Kids Outdoors registrants will receive a monthly e-newsletter highlighting best practices, grant opportunities, and program resources. We will highlight the best information and resources to grow your program.
Show the impact of parks and recreation. Working together, we can cultivate a connection with nature for this generation which will impact parks and recreation and the environment for years to come.
What are some ways you think parks and recreation can help get 10 million more children outdoors over the next three years? How have you had success getting children connected to nature? What resources or tools would you need to get more kids outside?
Written by: Shelley O'Brien, CAE, CFRE, Senior Manager for Fundraising.