Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Partners with the National Wildlife Federation and YMCA to Launch Youth Outdoor Adventurers in 13 Cities

New Outdoor Adventurers initiative kicks off this year in Atlanta, Chicago and Houston

HOUSTON – Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s today announced Outdoor Adventurers, a nature-based education initiative aimed at introducing the wonders of the outdoors to kindergarten through fifth grade students from urban areas across the United States. The program, in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and YMCA, will launch Outdoor Adventurers in Atlanta, Chicago and Houston this year with plans to expand to 13 American cities over the next three years. 

The three-year-long Outdoor Adventurers program will engage more than 7,800 children and their families, providing educational outdoor experiences designed to help kids develop a lifelong appreciation for nature. Planned activities are designed to ensure all children have access to outdoor recreation opportunities they might not have the chance to experience such as fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, kayaking, archery, exploration and more. 

“The memories I made as a boy fishing and exploring the outdoors made a lasting impact on me. I want every child to have the same opportunity to learn about the incredible natural resources we’re blessed to have all around us,” said Bass Pro Shops founder and noted conservationist Johnny Morris. “All kids love the outdoors, but it often takes someone to introduce it to them. With Outdoor Adventurers, we’re making nature more accessible and inspiring a new generation who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Our goal is to help these kids fall in love with the great outdoors and become lifelong stewards for conservation.” 

Outdoor Adventurers launched in Houston 

Alongside a fishing pond in the shadow of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Pearland, Texas, leadership from Bass Pro, the National Wildlife Federation and YMCA announced the Outdoor Adventurers program, outlining educational programming focused on introducing participants to the great outdoors. 

The National Wildlife Federation is the nation’s trusted leader in environment-based learning programs, grounding its programming in the latest research on the types of outdoor activities that connect children to a lifelong love of nature, the outdoors and wildlife. Pulling from its long history of inspiring the next generation of outdoor stewards through acclaimed nature education, the National Wildlife Federation is leveraging its expertise to ensure Outdoor Adventurers has a lasting impact on the thousands of kids participating in the program over the next three years. 

Studies show outdoor time helps children learn and grow strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. Additionally, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment. 

“Growing up fishing, hiking, and camping instilled the conservation ethic that fulfills and guides me today,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “As a dad, I see firsthand how connecting my daughters to nature is vital to their health, well-being, and overall development. Our partnership with Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and the YMCA is connecting thousands of kids with nature through outdoor events, after-school programs, and immersive experiences, like fishing and exploring. By instilling a lifelong love of nature in thousands of young Outdoor Adventurers, we will empower the next generation of conservationists to make a lasting difference in their communities for years to come.” 

The Outdoor Adventurers program will provide urban youth with an opportunity to experience nature like never before. 

The program will focus on the concept of the “Green Hour,” with a goal of encouraging an hour per day for children to play/learn outdoors in nature, as regular positive experiences are the best way to connect young people to nature, wildlife and the outdoors. The National Wildlife Federation will train YMCA staff in the use of National Wildlife Federation curriculum. The trainings will focus on play-based lessons that are short, replicable and can build sequentially throughout the school year, from day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month. Content will include lessons that build on the outdoor experiences and also focus on family engagement.  

Bass Pro Shops and the National Wildlife Federation have been long-time partners in the outdoors, bonded by a shared mission to conserve critical wildlife and inspire the next generation of conservation stewards. In 2018, the National Wildlife Federation honored Johnny Morris with the organization’s highest honor – the distinguished Jay N. “Ding” Darling Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award – in recognition for his time, talent, passion and resources dedicated to wildlife through advocacy, communication and on-the-ground conservation support. 

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s oldest, largest and most trusted conservation organization. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are North America’s outdoor retail leaders helping families make lasting memories in nature. Working together to create the Outdoor Adventurers program makes the outdoors more accessible to kids in urban areas and delivers the mentorship to learn and appreciate the joys of nature. 

Connecting kids to nature 

With children today spending half as much time outside as they did just two decades ago, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s play a significant role in introducing new audiences to the outdoors and fostering the next generation of conservation stewards. By hosting hundreds of in-store events, seminars and demonstrations, and sponsoring youth-engagement events, Bass Pro helps introduce millions of kids and new audiences to nature each year, and partners with dozens of local nonprofits in urban areas across the U.S. that connect new audiences to the outdoors – more than 250,000 items have been donated to youth-focused nonprofits in the past five years. More than 100,000 kids catch a fish at Bass Pro Shops-sponsored events each year – many for the first time. 

In 2016, Morris and late President George H.W. Bush partnered to launch Vamos a Pescar, an education fund created to bring conservation education and fishing and boating experiences to Hispanic families in key metro areas. The program works to help increase awareness of, and participation in, fishing, boating and conservation activities through grassroots educational programs and on-the-water activities held in high-density Hispanic communities.

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