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Outdoor Nation Merrell Delegate: Lorin Paley

 I grew up really lucky. Not in the sense that I could win a game of cards or the lottery, but in the sense that I was fortunate enough to have awesome parents that always brought me outside. Whether it was an after school hike or a weekend swim, my family made the outdoors an everyday part of our life. Now in America, the health and job crises have come to a crossing. Obesity and inactivity is causing huge debt in the form of the health crises and even though outdoor recreation provides more jobs than construction and finance, with obesity on the rise, those jobs will disappear as places to recreate and healthy people who can recreate disappear. I belong to the first generation that is expected to die earlier than the generation before us.  Coming to the Outdoor Nation NYC summit, I was excited to work towards changing the tide on the epidemic of nature deficit disorder.  

Outdoor Nation (ON) is a for youth by youth movement to reconnect youth to the outdoors, fighting this nature deficit disorder, but what it also does is help kids realize their potential. ON should advertise, warning, you may be an empowered outdoor steward after this summit. During each summit, the hundred or so college aged kids, myself included, are broken down into focus groups, identify the biggest barrier keeping kids from getting outside in their communities and design a project that could break that barrier with a $1,000 grant. The groups then present their projects and the three top voted at each summit get grants. With 8 summits this year, that is 24 chances for Outdoor Nation to empower kids to make a difference in their communities!

This past weekend was the first summit of the season in NYC. I sat down not expecting much, and was immediately thrown out of that attitude. My team was a group from Jersey with so much enthusiasm and belief; I couldn’t help but to be as excited as well. By the end of the day we had a fully fleshed project and continued to work on it during our night off. The next day, we presented our idea, won a grant and are looking forward to a launch date in about 5 weeks! Look for us on Facebook soon!

Lorin Paley         
They say life is an adventure. Prove them right.
See What' up www.lorinpaley.com