Lopez Island Family Resource Center receives $24K No Child Left Inside grant

OLYMPIA– More than 14,000 kids who might not otherwise have opportunities to explore parks, forests and other outdoor places in Washington soon will be able to thanks to about $1.3 million in funding, which Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday, July 15, 2019.

 Bow making class. Lopez Island Family Resource, Lopez Island Youth Outdoor Education Program

Awarded by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the No Child Left Inside grants focus on programs that provide outdoor education and recreation to underserved youth. This year’s No Child Left Inside grants will help kids spend a total of more than 1 million hours outside, doing everything from hiking to kayaking and rock climbing.

The Lopez Island Family Resource Center was awarded a $24,963 grant. It will be used to help 300 underserved youth, ages 2-18, living on Lopez Island participate in its Youth Outdoor Education program. Year-round programming includes after-school activities and summer workshops outside that teach conservation, orienteering, and awareness of the Salish Sea and surrounding environment. The program aims to improve youth self-esteem, community involvement, and environmental stewardship. The Center will contribute $60,865 in donations of cash and labor. Visit RCO’s online Project Snapshot for more information and photographs of this project. 

“This is about investing in our kids and making sure they have equal access to the outdoors,” Inslee said. “We know that kids who spend time outdoors do better in school, are less stressed and get more exercise and social interaction. Some of my best childhood memories happened outdoors, and this funding is a big part of making sure these opportunities–to learn, grow and discover the world around us–are open to everyone.”

“State Parks is excited about this grant program that gets young people outdoors for healthy recreation and environmental education,” said Don Hoch, State Parks director. “We are seeing more and more studies show how important getting outdoors is for our health, so we are thrilled to offer this opportunity to the youth of Washington. We also are thankful to the Recreation and Conservation Office for working with us and administering this valuable program.”

Now in its fourth grant cycle, the No Child Left Inside program is seeing its highest demand ever: 173 applications, a 44 percent increase compared to the previous grant cycle.

“That kind of growth shows an unparalleled level of support for this program and what it means for kids’ health, emotional development, attention spans, understanding and overall happiness,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “With only enough funding for about 16 percent of the $8 million requested, it also represents how critical the need is in communities across Washington.”

Grant recipients will be matching the state funding and are contributing nearly $3 million in donations, equipment, labor, additional grants and other resources.

Click here to see descriptions of each grant:

Benton County................. $25,000

Chelan County................... $4,200

Clark County..................... $15,100

Cowlitz County................. $24,998

Grays Harbor....................... $9,160

Jefferson County............. $49,980

King County.................... $446,970

Mason County................ $136,490

Pierce County................. $144,962

San Juan County............. $24,963

Skagit County................... $25,000

Snohomish County......... $20,958

Spokane County............ $104,580

Thurston County............ $149,931

Whatcom County........... $124,200

Yakima County................. $43,510

Successful applicants will begin their projects starting as early as this month. Projects will wrap up in June of 2021, with the Recreation and Conservation Office likely accepting new project applications in September of 2020.

Funding for the No Child Left Inside grant program comes from the state general fund and was one of a dozen recommendations of the 2014 Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The task force was charged with finding ways to increase participation in outdoor recreation, which has significant social and economic benefits.

More information about No Child Left Inside is available online.

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