We all deserve to thrive outside. But research shows that serious equity barriers such as safety, walkability, transportation, cost and cultural inclusion, along with a rise in screen and indoor time, are leading us to become the world’s first indoor species, with devastating consequences for youth and their families.
To reverse the declining trend of outdoor engagement, we launched the Thrive Outside Initiative in 2019, which works at the grassroots level to empower communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all. The Initiative awards multi-year, capacity-building grants to diverse communities to build and strengthen networks focused on providing children and families with repeat and reinforcing experiences in the outdoors. This national network is empowering communities to thrive outside in Atlanta, Grand Rapids, Maine, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis, and the Twin Cities region. And over the coming years, we plan to grow the number of regions we’re investing in to 16.
The outdoors have been proven to provide myriad benefits to individuals and communities, including mental and physical health, youth development, environmental stewardship, community development and social justice. And now more than ever, access to the outdoors is critical. Our world is witnessing incredible upheaval, and Americans across the country are taking to the outdoors in search of respite from COVID-19. The Outdoor Foundation 2021 Participation Trends Report recorded that 7.1 million more Americans participated in outdoor recreation in 2020 than in the year prior, the highest participation rate ever recorded.
National Thrive Outside Day is about celebrating the transformative benefits of the outdoors, and ensuring that everyone has equitable access to outdoor spaces and experiences. Because we all thrive outside. Check out the Thrive Outside Day events happening in our eight Thrive Outside Communities below:
ATLANTA: November 13th
Hosted in partnership with the city of Atlanta, and located at Cliff Park, Thrive Outside Day in Atlanta will be coinciding with the local Outdoor Rec Festival. Learn more about Thrive Outside Atlanta
GRAND RAPIDS: October 11 and 16th
Grand Rapids with be celebrating its new Gear Share Library with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 11th. On Oct. 16th, the community will gather together for a day of outdoor activities and outdoor skill development using gear-share equipment from the library. Learn more about Thrive Outside Grand Rapids
MAINE: October 9th
Tune into the Nature Based Education Consortium’s social media channels to see all the varied ways people are experiencing the outdoors in Maine. Together, we can shift the narrative. Learn more about Thrive Outside Maine
OKLAHOMA CITY: October 2nd
Coinciding with Oklahoma Regatta Festival, Oklahoma City will be celebrating its Thrive Outside Day with kayaking and a Thrive Outside Kayak League race, along with nature-based activities and skill-development sessions. Learn more about Thrive Outside Oklahoma City
PHILADELPHIA: October 16th
Hosted in Tacony Park in partnership with REI and other local partners, the Philly community with gather for tree planting and clean water education-based activities to celebrate Thrive Outside Day. Learn more about Thrive Outside Philadelphia
SAN DIEGO: October 9-10th
Hosted at Imperial Beach in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife, Thrive Outside Day in San Diego coincides with Walk for the Wild. Local youth will have the opportunity to participate in paddleboarding and leadership development events. Learn more about Thrive Outside San Diego
ST. LOUIS: October 2nd
Hosted in partnership with Jack and Jill of America, the St. Louis Thrive Outside community will embark on a half-day canoe trip, culminating at the St. Louis riverfront in front of Gateway Arch National Park, where participants will be greeted by local elected leaders. Learn more about Thrive Outside St. Louis
TWIN CITIES: October 9th
Hosted in partnership with The Loppet Foundation and REI at Theodore Wirth Park – The Trailhead, Thrive Outside Day in the Twin Cities region will connect with park goers about the Thrive Outside Initiative’s mission and work. The first 50 people to visit the Thrive Outside tent will receive an REI Nalgene® bottle. Learn more about Thrive Outside Twin Cities