Thanks to Thrive Outside community leaders, partners, and participants, our 2023 Thrive Outside Day events were an overwhelming success! Read and see below how a few of the 13 Thrive Outside Communities across the country created an array of new opportunities for children, youth, and their families to enjoy the outdoors – helping to build new connections and encourage year-round outdoor experiences.
At the Oklahoma City Thrive Outside Day, youth kayakers representing the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma County and the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic demonstrated their kayaking skills in front of 3,800 attendees cheering from the banks of the Oklahoma River. The weekend of fun included A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund (AMBTIF) award ceremony, with AMBTIF founder Arshay Cooper and Olympians welcoming and inspiring 55 youth to embrace the healing power of watersports. Youth rowers representing six middle schools then rowed in their first race with over 4,000 spectators in attendance.
“This is what community looks like” – Thrive Outside Day Participant
In St. Louis, River City Outdoors, O’Fallon Park YMCA, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, and Cherokee Recreation Center all partnered to offer activities for Thrive Outside Day. Over 150 participants were able to enjoy a mobile climbing wall, a community BBQ, and a giveaway of River City Outdoor swag.
With support from Wilderness Inquiry, over 300 Detroit students and community members had the opportunity to paddle in canoes on the inland lakes of Belle Isle Park and engage in land-based environmental education activities with other partner organizations and agencies. The Canoemobile
visit marked the beginning of Detroit’s Thrive Outside Days, a month-long embrace of making time to go outside and connect with nature and one another.
The team also curated and promoted a weekly list of ways to get outside and thrive all through October with other members of the local network. Detroit’s Thrive Outside Days culminated with a Mountain Bike Ramble event at Rouge Park in Detroit, where the students of the Hamtramck High Schools Outdoor Adventure Club spent the day riding the trails.
“Thrive Outside Day in Grand Rapids was a chance to celebrate our community, give away some free gear and swag, and invite folks to come and get familiar with our Gear Library.” – Sam Truby, Gear Library Supervisor
The Grand Rapids team observed that while lending equipment and clothing on a temporary basis is a great way to make outdoor activities possible for children, youth, and families who need it, “giving someone gear to keep creates a sense of excitement that a temporary item does not. This event showed that gear giveaways could be a potential ongoing activity at the gear library, as it gives winners a sense of ownership of the activities they do outside.”