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This edition of SNEWS® Live is brought to you by The North Face
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SNEWS® Live: The outdoor industry has been talking about getting kids outside for years now. That old refrain is repeated so often it’s beginning to sound like a tired cliché. Though few can question the importance of introducing the younger generation to the wonders of nature, fewer still in the business of outdoor recreation seem to offer much in the way of a solution to this issue.
But the Outdoor Industry Foundation is hoping to kick start change. OIF, the charitable arm of the Outdoor Industry Association, has committed $100 million over the next 10 years to support youth outreach programs. At the biannual OIA breakfast meeting held during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah, President Frank Hugelmeyer announced the “I Will” campaign. This new initiative encourages outdoor professionals to support both financially and as outreach volunteers the organizations that actively work toward getting children into the outdoors.
Hugelmeyer noted that there are many programs in communities large and small across the country already working to take this challenge head-on. Organizations like Outward Bound and Big City Mountaineers make it their job to bring young people to the outdoors and provide them with worthwhile experiences that will last a lifetime.
“We don’t have to create programs. They already exist,” Hugelmeyer said. “We just need to lift them up. The asset is here. And the reality is, it’s our responsibility.”
SNEWS® Live was there at the OIA breakfast meeting to bring you Hugelmeyer’s opening remarks, which included an inspiring and very touching account of taking his own son outdoors to connect with nature.