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blm novemberVeterans, Active Duty Soldiers and Families: Show and Tell Us Your Favorite Place Outdoors

Veterans, military families and soldiers - thank you for all that you do! In honor of Veterans Day and those who serve this country, the Sierra Club and the Bureau of Land Management has announced our first ever Veterans Day Essay and Photo Contest. “What My Public Lands Mean to Me,” encourages veterans, active-duty military, and their families to submit photos, essays and video about their experiences and memories of time spent outside on America’s public lands.

Entries will be accepted through Thursday, December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. From the 7th until December 14th, members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite entries through the same website. The three most popular entries will be featured on the BLM and Sierra Club websites and social media platforms, and receive an outdoor support kit from the Sierra Club.

Read more on the Mission Outdoors Blog, and check out a blog entry from John Turner that we think captures the spirit this challenge!

November NL ICO.jpgLand-locked Harrisburg Kids Enjoy the Beach

In October, Harrisburg Inner City Outings students spent a special weekend at Assateague National Seashore, a 37 mile long barrier island that extends from Maryland to Virginia. This was the first time many of these kids spent overnight camping. By all accounts, they had a blast.

Fifteen young people, aged 13-17, from Harrisburg Math-Science Academy, Harrisburg Sci-Tech Academy & Kingdom Embassy, camped, jumped into the ocean in their day clothes (see photo!), saw wild horses and identified three different kinds of crabs (horseshoe, blue and ghost).

The experience is best described by one of the participants: “For the two nights that we were at Assateague we had to sleep in a sleeping bag in your tent and you could not have any food in your tent or else the wild horses were going to get you!!! My trip to Assateague was the best ICO trip I ever went to because it really helped me to make new friends and enjoy some time out of the house.”

Check out more photos from their trip.

Kate Starr ICOHug a volunteer. We do. Often.

Sierra Club volunteers make us who we are as an organization. They donate their hard-earned dollars and give us hundreds of hours of their time every single year. We simply couldn’t do the work of getting America outdoors without their continued commitment.

So, in honor of International Volunteer Day on December 5th, we are giving a little back by celebrating the selfless work of our dedicated volunteers. Join us on a conference call to honor our volunteers and learn about what’s in store for Mission Outdoors in 2013.

Read this blog from an Inner City Outings Rafting Group volunteer, Kate Starr

What's on the Horizon

Vote now for the best idea to get your community outdoors! Our friends at The Wilderness Society and the Forest Service have partnered on a challenge to collect great ideas for connecting people with our beautiful public lands. The contest just ended, but voting has begun. Vote now!

Answer the call! For presentations, that is. The fine folks at Park Pride in Atlanta have extended the deadline for presentations for the Activating Parks for Healthy Communities Conference in March 2013. If you are interested in presenting, check this out, and get your presentation in at the end of the month. 

Do you enjoy long walks in the North Carolina woods and the smell of a campfire? Well, it’s not too late to get trained as an outings leader! Spots are still open for an upcoming training at Fort Caswell on November 30 - December 2. Check here for more information.

Mark your calendars December 7 @ 1 PM PT for a special online event with Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune, Sierra Club Mission Outdoors Director Stacy Bare and craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Visit the Mission Outdoors website after Thanksgiving for more details!

News You Can Use

Even teens know they aren’t getting out enough. Eighty-eight percent of teens in this study agree their generation is disconnected from the outdoors. 

We agree - the best playground is the one nature provided. Check out this article in Fast Company about the benefits of nature-based play spaces. 

The outdoor industry is big business - to the tune of $646 billion in direct consumer spending per year. Read the Outdoor Industry Association report.

The outdoors makes your workout better. Really, it does, so get out there. And if you are looking for a good workout in the outdoors, check out our local outings

Mission Outdoors in the News

Looking for somewhere to hike with a toddler in tow? Our local and inner city outings volunteers helped develop this list of great local hikes near America’s big cities. 

Check out this great blog piece by our hero and friend Conrad Anker about his climb at Glacier National Park with veterans on the Climate Reconnaissance Team.

Read about the Climate Reconnaissance Team in November’s edition of G.I. Jobs.

The goal of Sierra Club Mission Outdoors is to get America outdoors. Explore and enjoy! Find out more on our website.

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