It's been a busy and exciting month! It began when I was honored to be invited to the White House as a nominee Champion of Change—Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders.
The White House and the event cast a spotlight on the importance of getting kids outside. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell continues to impress. She reiterated her plan to connect 10 million youth to the outdoors through four initiatives: Play, Learn, Work and Serve Outside. Secretary Jewell began her speech by saying "my favorite classroom is a room where there are no walls, the outdoor classroom!"
After my trip to D.C., I headed to Chicago to talk to potential partners including Chicago Wilderness, an impressive regional alliance that connects people and nature in three states around Chicagoland. We have also been talking to great people in Madison, Wisconsin; Portland, Oregon; and Boise, Idaho. Make sure you follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds to keep up to date on where we’re headed next.
Keeping my feet on the ground in the outdoor classroom was my goal when I co-taught the Frontcountry Leadership Training for Bay Area Wilderness Training last month. It was such a joy to once again be outside teaching, with staff and volunteers from Oakland Parks and Rec, Seven Teepees and Outdoor Afro.
Participants gained the skills needed to borrow equipment and safely get youth and families outdoors. We even had another Network Program Affiliate—The Washington Trails Association, join us from Seattle for the beautiful weekend in Tilden Park's Wildcat Campground.
Finally, I'm happy to announce the Network's new and very experienced Program Director, Jill Greenblatt. Jill has been a lead instructor with Bay Area Wilderness Training since 2001, previously served as the organization’s Program Director, and later on its Board. She also worked with two foundations focused on services and higher education access for low income, first generation, and foster youth. Please welcome her!
Founder and Executive Director
Outdoors Empowered Network
Outdoors Empowered Network is building a movement to ensure that all kids gain the benefits of the outdoors!