In celebration of June’s National Great Outdoors Month, Outdoor Outreach – the San Diego-based non-profit that introduces youth from under-resourced communities to the outdoors – will launch its inaugural national #OUTDOORSFORALL campaign.
The social media operation aims to bring attention to key issues the organization addresses with its work – that outdoor access is a critical resource for physical and mental health, and everyone has the right to experience and benefit from outdoor recreation.
“For the kids we work with – who have been affected by things like poverty, homelessness, neighborhood violence, substance abuse, and more – connection to outdoor spaces can be transformational.” said Annie Sawyer, senior director of development at Outdoor Outreach. “Every chance to bike, surf, kayak, or climb with Outdoor Outreach is so much more than a fun day outside with their friends. It’s a chance to explore their world and discover new strengths they didn’t know they were capable of. “For some, it’s a chance to get away from the very adult responsibilities or trauma they face at home, and just be a kid for a while. Most importantly, it’s a chance to connect with a community of friends and reliable adult mentors who believe in them and show them that they matter.
“Throughout the month of June, the Outdoor Outreach community – including past/present program participants, leaders, athletes, and brand partners – will share personal stories regarding the positive impact the outdoors has had in their life, and the importance of removing the various barriers to entry for youth, particularly those from Southeast San Diego”, she said. “A survey of Outdoor Outreach participants found that 44 percent were unaware of green spaces near their home prior to joining the organization, illustrating the barriers to entry for outdoor recreation vary, but many are attainable to overcome.”
Sawyer added, “Our goal with this campaign is to create national awareness about Outdoor Outreach and create new avenues for support so we can connect more young people to the power of the outdoors. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of outdoor access as a critical resource for mental and physical health and the inequities across racial and socio-economic groups, so reaching more kids through these programs is more important than ever.”
Outdoor Outreach encourages everyone in the outdoor community to participate in the social media campaign by sharing their own stories of how the outdoors has affected their lives, using the hashtag #OUTDOORSFORALL and tagging @OutdoorOutreach.