SNEWS® Live: Outdoor youth programs put kids first, profits second

SNEWS® Live looks at youth-targeted outdoor programs and where they fit in the business of outdoor recreation.

This edition of SNEWS® Live is brought to you by The North Face

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SNEWS® Live: Over the years, we’ve heard time and time again how important it is to give young people the opportunity to have a worthwhile wilderness experience. Several individuals, companies and institutions in the outdoor industry are making a concerted effort to lead or fund organizations that take kids on backcountry adventures. At the very least, they’re exposing kids to activities in urban parks like hiking, canoeing, mountain biking and rock climbing.

Many believe it’s just the right thing to do. Industry insiders want to help children grow up to be happy well-balanced adults. But outdoor professionals may also be motivated to influence the next generation of retail customers, to create a new audience of consumers who will buy their products. Can that be wrong?

In this edition of SNEWS® Live, we introduce you to a group of kids on their first backpacking trip. We also explore some of the motivation of potential volunteers, trip leaders, organizers and manufacturers who are leading the effort to give kids time outdoors.