Outdoor Nation and OIA Paddle Advisory Council Announce Major Paddlesport Grant Challenge

“OR has always been attentive to the special opportunity that paddlesports occupies for the business of getting more folks engaged outdoors. It’s a central story at the Outdoor Retailer shows, with connection points to nearly every other market segment at the show, including travel, safety equipment, hydration accessories, camping, and even climbing,” said Kenji Haroutunian, Vice President & Group Show Director. “I’m excited to see the rise of Paddle Nation telling this story via a diverse youth network to inspire even more Americans to, ‘take it outside’.”

During the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, the Paddle Advisory Council challenged the industry to invest additional funds on top of the $50,000 already secured for the next grant cycle. Council members announced that they would collectively provide an additional $10,000 and challenged the paddle industry to match these funds. During OR, an additional $7,200 was raised. More than 20 individuals and organizations provided support.

“When you consider the wonderful stories that came out of this year’s projects, casting our net out to 30 or more grants for 2013 is going have meaningful impact in paddlesport communities across the country,” said Lili Colby, sales and marketing director for MTI Adventurewear and chair of the OIA Paddle Advisory Council. “With the Paddle Nation Project, the paddlesports industry finally has a well-run, focused cause that provides an exciting opportunity to have an impact in our market.”

In 2012, The Paddle Nation Project grants empowered and inspired youth across the United States and served audiences from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. With support from Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association, $30,000 in grants funded 13 innovative projects; engaging more than 1,125 people in paddlesport activities, organizing 101 outdoor outings and resulting in 351 hours spent participating in paddlesports. Activities included classroom environmental stewardship education, on-water paddling skills lessons and habitat cleanup. Click here to view a description of all winning projects for 2012. The 2013 Paddle Nation Project grant application process will open in Winter 2013. Those wishing to contribute to the Paddle Grant Program can contact Chris Fanning at The Outdoor Foundation at cfanning@outdoorfoundation.org.

“We are grateful for the support of all of our partners as we work together to increase outdoor participation,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation, the organization that oversees Outdoor Nation. “With increased funding we will empower more young leaders to champion the outdoors and make paddlesports accessible to youth who might not have had the opportunity to get out on the water.”

The Paddle Nation Project is part of Outdoor Nation’s grant programs that invest in projects spearheaded by Millennial Generation outdoor leaders and community change-makers. Over the past three years, the Outdoor Nation has worked with partners to award more than $1 million for projects that reconnect young people with nature, and it will continue to announce more grant opportunities throughout the year. For more details on all Outdoor Nation grant opportunities, please visit www.outdoornation.org/grants.

Outdoor Nation is an initiative of The Outdoor Foundation and was founded with initial support from The North Face, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, The REI Foundation, The Conservation Fund and the National Park Service.

About The Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, youth engagement and empowerment and effective grant making, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that empowers young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. To date, the successful initiative has engaged tens of thousands of youth and invested more than $200,000 in over 50 innovative projects spearheaded by young leaders and change-makers. For more information visit: OutdoorFoundation.org and OutdoorNation.org.

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