Source: National Park Service

WASHINGTON – This summer, young people across the nation will have the opportunity to get outdoors to play and explore their nearby rivers, thanks to Paddle Nation Grants, an initiative that connects young Americans with their waterways through recreational paddling. Through a partnership among the National Park Service, Outdoor Retailer, and top paddle-sport gear manufacturers and retailers, Outdoor Nation will grant $40,000 to nonprofits to support local paddling projects.

 

"These Paddle Nation Grants showcase the great things we can achieve when the National Park Service teams up with nonprofit and business partners to teach skills and increase youth participation in outdoor recreation activities,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Recreational paddling is one of the most accessible ways to introduce young people to outdoor adventure, empower them to have positive impacts in their communities, and build lifelong connections with nature.”

Outdoor Nation selected 17 youth-developed projects from a pool of 159 applications, choosing awardees based on their innovation, likelihood of increasing youth paddling participation, partnership potential and budget factors.

"Paddle Nation Grants will not only get more young people outside and active on America's waterways, but they will also educate and elevate the importance of protecting these resources," said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that started the Outdoor Nation movement. "As a result, millennials across the country will explore rivers, lakes and streams through a variety of different activities—from kayaking to stand up paddle boarding—while encouraging their peers to join them on the water." 

This year’s grant recipients will connect young people to their waterways, including national water trails, wild and scenic rivers, and urban waterways:

·        Alabama: Alabama Scenic River Trail, Riverkids Program Expansion, $2,500

·        California: H2O Trash Patrol, Stand Up for Clean Waterways, $2,500

·        Georgia: Georgia River Network, Paddle Georgia 2014 Youth Program: Ripple Effect, $2,000

·        Kansas: Friends of the Kaw, Keeping the Dream Alive: Connecting Underserved Students with the Kansas River National Water Trail, $2,500

·        Maine: Casco Bay High School, Casco Bay High School Freshman and Senior Quests, $2,500

·        Michigan: International Wildlife Refuge Alliance, Paddle on the River: Outdoor Recreation and Learning at the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, $2,500

·        Missouri: Missouri State University, Ozark Scenic and National River/Missouri State University Volunteer Water Patrol, $2,500

·        New Mexico: Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps Rafts the Rio, $2,500

·        New York: Sebago Canoe Club, Sebago Canoe Club - Youth Paddling on Jamaica Bay, $2,500

·        Ohio: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County, Inc., Teamwork on the Water: Strouds Run State Park Mini-Camp, $875

·        Pennsylvania: Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition, Delaware River Sojourn: Youth Development Scholarships, $2,400

·        Texas: Austin Explore, Inc., Buffalo River Summer Wilderness Trip, $2,500

·        Utah: Salt Lake City Foundation, Jordan River Youth Ambassadors, $2,500

·        Washington: Garfield High School, Establishing a Kayak Outing Program at Garfield High School, $2,500

·        West Virginia: Cacapon Institute, Stream Scholar's Summer Camp 2014, $2,250

·        Wisconsin: Friends of the St. Croix Headwaters, Inc., Eco Adventure, $2,500