Atlanta to launch federal youth initiative

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed joined Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Lauren Koontz, Chief Development Officer of YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta for a kick-off event on Saturday for the Interior Department’s new youth initiative. The initiative will engage the next generation of outdoor stewards and inspire millions of young Americans to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.

This event launched a nationwide effort in 50 U.S. cities to increase awareness, support and participation in outdoor programs. The city of Atlanta was selected as one of the first 11 locations for the initiative.

The other cities to participate in the program include: New York City, Miami, Boston, Washington, DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, St. Louis, and St. Paul. The initiative will roll out in 25 cities in 2015, with the remaining 25 cities to be identified in 2016.

The next step will be a community-wide summit hosted by the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta to bring all interested parties to discuss strategies, priorities and partnerships.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s efforts will help leverage resources and support the goals of President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative that was launched in February that will provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. In the lead up to the 100th birthday of the National Park Service in 2016, the president’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative is a call to action to get all children to visit and enjoy America’s great outdoors.

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