LouisvilleKY joining national Let’s Move! Outside initiative

Effort mean to inspire young people to play and learn on public lands

LOUISVILLE (July 14, 2016) – Mayor Greg Fischer joined federal, parks and YMCA officials today to announce that Louisville has been selected as one of the 50 cities to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative.

The initiative, funded through a $5 million national commitment by the American express Foundation, is designed to engage the next generation of outdoor stewards and inspire millions of young adults to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.

It will provide two years of funding for the YMCA of Greater Louisville to help coordinate efforts, facilitate collaboration, grow resources, and increase participation in outdoor programs on all public lands – from local parks to federal lands and waters.

Craig Dorsett, Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior, and James R. Allen, Past Board Chair of YMCA of Greater Louisville, joined Mayor Fischer in announcing the initiative at a press conference today at Central Park in Old Louisville.

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“Engaging people of all ages, especially youth, in enjoying and caring for parks and public lands builds a sense of stewardship and fosters deep connections to nature that will last a lifetime,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “Louisville is blessed with amazing public parks and a strong network of public and nonprofit leaders committed to getting kids outdoors, active and connected to nature. Through this new partnership with financial support from the American express Foundation and community connections of the YMCA, we are nurturing a movement to foster the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, stewards and leaders, while helping young people connect to the public lands in their community.”

Mayor Fischer said: “Louisville is proud to partner with the U.S. Department of the Interior for this important initiative, which aligns with all three of my administration’s main goals: That we become a community of lifelong learning; that we are a healthier city; and an even more compassionate city. This project will help ensure that everyone in our community, no matter their ZIP code, has access to safe places where they can get outside, learn to fish, to hike, to paddle a canoe, and to engage in a lifelong appreciation of our environment.”

“Many people in our urban neighborhoods don’t always have the chance to experience all that our public lands in and around the city have to offer,” said, Steve Tarver, President & CEO of YMCA of Greater Louisville.  “This initiative will help us bring together leaders in conservation, education, recreation and service to provide opportunities for children and families to have fun, deepen connections to the city’s natural and historic sites, develop important skills, promote good health and engage in activities where they can give back and strengthen our community.”

“Community service and historic preservation have a long heritage at American express,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American express Foundation. “Since our founding more than 160 years ago, American express has seen how America’s parks and public lands contribute to our sense of national and local identity, and we are proud to lead an effort to mobilize a new generation of volunteers to protect, conserve and revitalize America’s public lands and treasured national parks.”

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The Department of the Interior is leading First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative getting millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in America’s great outdoors. In March 2015, Secretary Jewell announced this partnership with the American express Foundation and kicked-off the first cities across the country to be a part of this movement. Louisville joins 26 cities announced in 2015. The remaining cities will be announced throughout 2016. For more information about the initiative, visit:http://www.doi.gov/youth.

This work is part an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to connect young people to the outdoors. Other efforts include the “Every Kid in A Park” program to provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. These complement the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign preparing for this year’s centennial of the National Park System.