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New Initiatives to "Get Kids Outdoors" Announced

From American Recreation Coalition

Despite a remarkable base of national parks, forests, refuges and other lands covering one-third of the nation's surface, fewer Americans are deriving physical and mental benefits from visits to these lands. Changes in family structures, the lure of computer games and large screen TVs and more have left American kids six times more likely to play a video game than ride a bike. The rise in childhood obesity is dramatic and medical researchers now predict a reduction in life expectancy of 2-5 years unless drastic changes in lifestyles occur. In addition, the disconnection of the next generation of Americans from the outdoors poses a real threat to popular support for America's conservation programs and traditions.

Leading national public and private sector interests have responded and a full array of programs are now being created and strengthened. Special efforts are underway to invite the fastest growing segments of America— groups now under-represented in visits to public lands and waters— to reap the benefits of active time outdoors. Among the initiatives to be described is a new National Get Outdoors Day in June.

Following the announcements, the public and private sector recreation leaders will lead a group of children on a tour of the novel Outdoor Recreation Village and highlight its mix of tutorials on using the Internet to overcome past problems in finding healthy fun outdoors, demonstrations of new activities and technologies like geocaching which add fun for younger Americans in the outdoors, a large fishing pond with trout and interactive exhibits delivering proof of the fun of recreation. Village assets range from a 75' houseboat to Smokey Bear to a new website packed with information useful to parents— and grandparents— interested in adding healthy outdoor activity to the lives of today's kids.

Caroline Mica, cmica@funoutdoors.com - office 202-682-9530 x 204

For more information on Get Outdoors USA!, go to: www.getoutdoorsusa.org

 

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