The city of Grand Rapids has been chosen as one of four communities nationwide to receive a grant from the Outdoor Foundation. It’s aimed at getting more kids and families outside
“We are one of four communities that have been chosen by the Outdoor Foundation, a nationwide organization focused on connecting youth to the outside and outdoor experiences. We are super appreciative of this opportunity making meaningful connections and getting people engaged to the outside.”
That’ Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Director, David Marquardt.
“Thrive Outside” initiative brings together local organizations to make getting outside part of the fabric of people’s lives. Statistics show fewer than 18 percent of Americans recreate outside once per week and fewer than 50 percent report getting outside even once per year. That’s from the Outdoor Foundation’s Outdoor participation report.
“You know, I think of my own children in this case and looking at those statistics, and it’s really, in many ways eye opening, to think about the time they spend in school, at their desks. When they get home they’re on video games, behind devices. It’s really a situation that affects many of us, including adults. Our goal here is exploring ways to bring not only children outside, but families as well, in creating experiences.”
The initiative in Grand Rapids will provide a multi-year capacity building grant to strengthen partnerships between existing local organizations such as schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA’s and the like.
Marquardt says it will likely take about six months of the first year together to identify all the various pathways to work with the public. He says they want to make sure they’re engaging all the right entities to take part in “thriving outside.”