The Nantahala Racing Club and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation came out on top in an online voting contest from The North Face, winning $25,000 for special initiatives aimed at connecting youth with the outdoors.
The organizations were two of 10 nationwide selected to participate in the contest, which granted $25,000 to the top five vote-getters and $10,000 to the bottom five.
Nantahala Racing Club will use its money to fund the Young Rhinos Whitewater Discovery Project.
“Our project is very community-oriented, and it was rewarding to see the community rally around our cause,” said Zuzana Montagne, NRC executive director. “This money, which will be spent on youth equipment and transportation to local rivers, will make a huge impact on the quality of our programming and the number of kids we will be able to engage in the coming year.”
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation, meanwhile, will use its money to jumpstart its Great Outdoors University program. GoU works to reduce nature deficit in children and restore their bonds to nature. The initiative began in 2012, and since then more than 1,800 have participated. Kids are fishing, exploring streams and taking woods walks and boat rides. Some have pulled a bow, and others have simply eaten a sandwich in a field.
“Great Outdoors University makes possible a much needed chance for our youth to experience the wonders of the natural world in ways that can have a profound effect for years to come,” said Mary Bures, manager of the program for the Federation. “It offers a unique opportunity to learn ‘outdoors’ using an interesting experiential approach for teaching many valuable lessons.” For more on the Wildlife Federation project, go to www.ncwf.org/programs/gou/news-updates.
The Young Rhinos will launch Aug. 9 with the Whitewater Junior Olympics at Nantahala Outdoor Center. www.nantahalaracingclub.com/youth-programs/young-rhinos-whitewater-discovery.