How can outdoor opportunities be improved in northwest Fort Collins? Residents created a vision to connect youth and families to the outdoors through places, career pathways, and programs.
Did you know that young people spend an average of four to seven minutes a day outside in unstructured play? That is half the time their parents spent outside. Research shows outdoor time is good for kids physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Plus, if kids don't experience nature, it won't be valued. Issues like time, transportation, money, access, and lack of interest and understanding keep kids from getting outside and developing a lifelong passion for the great outdoors. Inspiring a deep connection to nature is the goal of this project because it is vital for the wellbeing of our community, our wildlife, and the Colorado way of life. This video is an inspiring 4 min. summary!
The Project Outdoors planning process has been completed, and an implementation grant application has been submitted to Great Outdoors Colorado. Read the planning report here
The vision includes:
The goal of Project Outdoors was to understand the specific barriers youth and families experience to connecting to the outdoors, identify strategies to address the disconnect, and empower youth and the community to be part of a collective to solve it. The planning process is complete and an Implementation Grant application has been submitted to make the vision come to life.
Project Outdoors was led by a Youth Advisory Council of Boys & Girls Club members and a coalition of agency partners including Larimer County Department of Natural Resources, City of Fort Collins, Larimer County Boys & Girls Club, Colorado State University, and Poudre School District.
Project Outdoors built off the 2012 Plug in to Nature project that identified County-wide outdoor needs and opportunities.
Hearing the voice of youth was critical to the success of Project Outdoors. A Youth Advisory Council of outstanding middle-school students from the Boys & Girls Club, high school students from nearby schools, and a CSU student searched out innovative ways to connect their peers to nature. Even though the planning process is complete, Boys & Girls Club members continue to meet monthly and participate in field trips to learn about outdoor opportunities. The Youth Council played a key role in community engagement and project development.