PRESS RELEASE: America's State Parks And The Outdoor Foundation Announce Outdoor Nation Partnership
New State Park Youth Ambassador Initiative to Promote Outdoor Recreation and Enjoyment within America's State Parks
NEW YORK, NY (June 19, 2010) – America's State Parks today announced its support of and ongoing partnership with Outdoor Nation, a youth-led and coalition supported initiative of the Outdoor Foundation. America's State Parks is an official program partner of Outdoor Nation's first-ever Youth Summit that will convene nearly 500 youth leaders in New York City for outdoor adventures and workshops on June 19th and 20th. America's State Parks is supporting the Media and Culture track along with its partner and the official track sponsor, Olympus Imaging America Inc. In addition, America's State Parks and the Outdoor Foundation will work engage Outdoor Nation in a new Youth Ambassador Program. State Park Youth Ambassadors—at least one from every state—will collaborate on a nationwide media and marketing program promoting outdoor recreation in our state parks.
"America's State Parks are our country's best kept secrets and recreation hideaways," Leslie McKnelly, a 25-year-old Outdoor Nation delegate from North Carolina told a group of her peers during the session. "Visitation and popularity are growing as Americans discover the parks as an easy answer to their desire for a healthy and active lifestyle, or for an affordable family vacation destination close to home… yet our parks have never been in more urgent need of our support. "
McKnelly referred to the uncertain future for many of our parks due to significant strain on the state budgets. Despite their great popularity, state parks are not generally well known outside their immediate area, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to raising broad-based public support.
"The Outdoor Foundation is pleased to partner with America's State Parks to launch a nationwide Youth Ambassador program," said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. "Outdoor Nation is a growing youth-led outdoor movement where young leaders are championing change in communities and on campuses across the country. Protecting America's State Parks is one of the most important things our 'Outsider' community can do."
The America's State Parks campaign was launched in 2009 as a public/private partnership effort to promote the natural, cultural and wellness value, as well as, the economic benefits provided by the parks in each of our 50 States. A key initiative of the campaign is to develop a dynamic channel online at www.AmericasStateParks.org where the public can access and share relevant and timely information about visiting, volunteering, supporting and enjoying state parks. The Youth Ambassador program is a vital step in launching this effort. The Ambassadors will begin work with park staff and their own social networks this summer to document the outdoor experiences across our 50 states with articles, vlogs, and photo essays. Olympus, an official media partner of America's State Parks, has contributed 100 STYLUS TOUGH-3000 digital cameras to allow the ambassadors to easily capture HD video and hundreds of stunning images. The STYLUS TOUGH-3000, a shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof compact camera is designed to capture all of life's adventures from the extreme to the everyday and will be a perfect fit for this outdoor youth partnership.
"A youth-led movement for the outdoors is not only a first-of-its kind effort, but it is exactly what is needed to raise awareness and attract the attention and support of the young Americans who may not currently benefit from a deep connection with nature," said NASPD President Joe Elton, Director of Virginia State Parks. "We're proud to be working with the Outdoor Foundation, Outdoor Nation and Olympus. We are looking forward to officially kicking off the State Park Youth Ambassador program this summer and bringing the stories of the parks to the public through the lens of the best and brightest young outdoor enthusiasts and advocates in each state."
Candidates for the State Park Ambassador Program aged 18-26 and can apply online at www.americasstateparks.org beginning July 1, 2010.
ABOUT AMERICA'S STATE PARKS America's State Parks (www.americasstateparks.com) is an alliance of public and private organizations working to promote and enhance the collective national treasure that is the great park system found across our 50 states. With over 6,000 units, more than 2,000 parks and nearly three-quarter of a billion annual visits, America's State Parks are vital to the American quality of life. Leadership and governance for America's State Parks alliance comes from members of the National Association of State Park Directors representing each region of the country.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE PARK DIRECTORS (NASPD) Comprised of fifty state park directors, the NASPD (www.naspd.org) was founded in 1962. The mission of the Association is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation's environment, heritage, health and economy.
ABOUT THE OUTDOOR FOUNDATION The Outdoor Foundation's vision is to be a driving force behind a massive increase in active outdoor recreation in America. We are an inclusive organization made up of, and supported by, broad-based coalitions and partnerships that share the common interest of promoting healthy outdoor lifestyles. For more information, visit www.outdoorfoundation.org.
ABOUT OUTDOOR NATION As part of a broader national initiative, Outdoor Nation (www.outdoornation.org) and its community of 'Outsiders' are committed to increasing and expanding youth participation through entertainment, education, engagement and action – especially among urban communities and communities of color – resulting in a healthier, more active generation.
ABOUT OLYMPUS IMAGING AMERICA INC. Olympus Imaging America Inc. is a precision technology leader, designing and delivering award-winning products for consumer and professional markets.
Olympus Imaging America Inc. works collaboratively with its customers and its ultimate parent company, Olympus Corporation, to develop breakthrough technologies with revolutionary product design and functionality that enhances people's lives every day. These include:
Professional Digital SLR Imaging Systems
Related Underwater Products and Accessories
Digital and Microcassette Recorders
Olympus Imaging America Inc. is responsible for sales in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. For more information, visit: www.getolympus.com.
Olympus' Stylus Tough-3000 digital camera.
Photo provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc.
(First posted on Monday, June 21, 2010 at 18:19 EDT)