Outdoor Nation


Launched in 2010, Outdoor Nation is a first-of-its-kind nationwide initiative created by the Outdoor Foundation to engage and activate young adults in the outdoors. Built on the belief that lasting cultural change must be led by those most affected by the outcome, Outdoor Nation empowers young leaders, primarily college students, to mobilize and motivate a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

Signature programs include:

Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge

The Challenge is On

During the 4th annual Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge 50 colleges and universities are going ‘head-to-head’ during an 4-week competition to determine which school can get the most people outside and active. Schools leverage the assets and infrastructure of their campuses with the ideas, energy and ingenuity of college students to engage new audiences in the outdoors. Organizers for the Challenge plan school-wide activities, promote individual participation and, in many cases, introduce new outdoor activities to spark initial interest. Ultimately, students and schools work together to build a stronger outdoor campus community and culture.


Outdoor Nation Ambassadors

Engaging and Activating College Campuses

Leveraging pre-existing school events and campus outdoor clubs, Outdoor Nation ambassadors implement creative ways to encourage outdoor activity in their campus community and reward random acts of recreation. Ambassadors have a special focus on recruiting novice outdoor participants and utilizing close-to-home outdoor resources.


Outdoor Nation Northeast Campus Clubs

Making Connections

The Outdoor Nation Northeast Campus Clubs program engage colleges and universities over the course of a full academic year – building a strong connection between campus communities, outdoor recreation and the National Park Service. College and universities in the following states are eligible for this opportunity: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine (defined as the Northeast Region of the National Park Service).



  • 1 out of every 3 young people is obese or overweight in America.
  • The average person spends 8 hours a day in front of a screen and only minutes outdoors.
  • From 2015 to 2016, participation in outdoor recreation among youth decreased or stalled. In 2016, participation among children was 62%, down 1% since the year before. Teen participation remained the same at 59% and young adult participation at 57%.
  • We believe college students have the power to change the world. We can move the dial on campuses where student bodies recognize the outdoors as an outlet for recreation and community.


The best way to stay current on all things Outdoor Nation? Follow us on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. We’ll keep you updated on grant opportunities, upcoming events, summits and other ways to stay involved in the Outdoor Nation community. Plus, enter our weekly contests for free gear and grant funding.

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