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Grand Trunk Announces Chicago Delegates to Attend Outdoor Youth Summit

Ground-breaking Event Will Empower Young Americans to Champion the Outdoors

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Grand Trunk announced today that Chicago delegates George Lopez, Emmanuel Astorga and Troy Howard have been selected as the Grand Trunk Delegates to participate in the ground-breaking Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival ( to be held in Central Park, New York City. The event will take place June 19 and 20, and, for the first time, will bring together young Americans from across the country to reclaim, redefine and rediscover the outdoors. Outdoor Nation hopes to harness young leaders who will commit to championing the outdoors — as athletes, artists, advocates and ambassadors.

“Grand Trunk is excited to sponsor three of Chicago’s most promising young leaders, to serve as delegates to the upcoming Outdoor Nation Youth Summit. Our sponsorship not only confirms our corporate commitment to the environment, but recognizes that Chicago, our operational home, is a city whose lands not only possess abundant outdoor opportunities but whose population values them as much as any state in the country,” said Jon Neff, VP of Sales and Marketing.

George Lopez is a senior in high school. In 2009, George graduated from the Fishin’ Buddies Youth Conservation Conference, an intensive, residential conservation training program for rising youth. He also spent 100 hours teaching kids in elementary school about the outdoors and guiding them with a science project. George recently went to Washington DC to lobby for conservation efforts and is studying to become an architect in sustainable design.

Emmanuel Astorga is 18 years old and a senior at Corliss High School on Chicago’s southeast side. In the summer of 2009, Emmanuel contributed over 200 hours of conservation service to the Forest Preserves of Cook County removing invasive species and building and maintaining trail. Emmanuel has been volunteering for years at the District’s Sand Ridge Nature Center and the South East Environmental Task Force, a local environmental non-profit that advocates for clean air and water in the Calumet Region. He also enjoys soccer and rock music.

Troy Howard was born to a family of avid campers and fishermen. He grew up learning how to set up tents, fish and appreciate the natural wonders of the great outdoors. Troy, as early as 3rd grade has volunteered in the development, construction and running of Eden Place nature center in one capacity or another. At the age of fifteen he help teach families about the dangers of lead poison in Fuller Park. For the past five summers he has lead groups of visiting out of town youth in a mired of environmental work projects at Eden Place and in the Fuller Park community. He hopes to build his future with the tools he has garnered from Eden Place and his formal Education at McCormick Business College into a position as the next Director of Fuller Park Community Development the parent company of Eden Place Nature Center.

“Young people today have considerable power and influence – politically, socially and financially – and are developing new ways to coordinate, collaborate and communicate for the issues they care about. For the first time, through Outdoor Nation, youth are being empowered to become leaders on campuses and in communities — championing the outdoors and outdoor issues,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation.

Ground-breaking and game-changing, the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival will provide a platform for young leaders to set an outdoor agenda and create youth-led solutions, and will also be a celebration of the active, outdoor lifestyle. On June 19, Outdoor Nation will turn Central Park into the ultimate, outdoor playground complete with concerts and cultural festivities, as well as activities such as kayaking, fishing, bouldering, bird watching and kite flying. In addition, Outdoor Nation will include a high profile Outdoor Career Fair that will enable people of all ages to learn about outdoor career paths as well as get information about specific employment opportunities.

On June 20, Outdoor Nation will convene the first-ever youth-led national summit on the outdoors, where delegations of young people from each of the 50 states will set the agenda, lead the conversations and identify solutions. Delegates will not only craft and deliver their message of change to the country, but strengthen the outdoor youth movement by infusing young leaders with new ideas, skills and connections. Key Summit topics include: green jobs, health and wellness, diversity, service, recreation, education, media and culture.

Following the Summit and Festival, young people will have the opportunity to apply for seed grants that will support their local projects in communities and on campuses.

About Grand Trunk:
Grand Trunk ( offers a full line of innovative, next- generation, eco-friendly camping, outdoor, travel accessories and beach products. Founded in 2002 as The Travel Hammock, the company was rebranded as Grand Trunk in 2008 and is located in Chicago, IL. Grand Trunk’s products are sold online at and at sports and outdoor chain specialty stores throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, China, Indonesia, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Grand Trunk is committed to delivering high-quality “goods for the road” to outdoor enthusiasts and travelers of all walks of life.

About Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival:
The Outdoor Nation Youth Summit and Festival is a partnership program that includes the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, Backpacker magazine, The Outdoor Foundation, The Conservation Fund, and a diverse coalition of more than 50 organizations

About Outdoor Nation:
Through events, entertainment, action and advocacy, Outdoor Nation is a nationwide initiative that empowers young people to champion the outdoors. This effort comes at a time when child obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and depression are all on the rise among youth. For more information about Outdoor Nation, please visit