OutGrown's 10 Park Challenge Media Kit

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Image of cover page for 10 Park Challenge media kit

What does the word “park” mean to you? It’s different for everyone—but parks, no matter their definition, make a huge impact in our communities.

You can help individuals and families everywhere discover and advocate for greenspaces by promoting our annual “10 Park Challenge” virtual event.

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Reflecting on Hike it Baby becoming OutGrown: an essay from Board Member, Blaine
I have been connected with “We Are OutGrown” (formerly known as "Hike it Baby") for more than 2 years because I see the amazing work it does to empower families with young children to step outside and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of growing up in nature. OutGrown’s mission is to “empower families with babies and young children to step outside and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of growing up in nature.”  I am excited about the next step for this unique organization. Its recent rebranding to “OutGrown” better reflects its true purpose and serves as an umbrella name to encompass three program pillars:  Turn the Blues Green - which supports new parents in going outside with their newborns which can be a powerful tool for overcoming postpartum depression. Bring it Outside - a program to help families build a habit of getting outside and overcome challenges such as accessibility Hike it Baby - focused on community-led events such as hikes Together, these programs are helping families grow up outside, becoming OutGrown. Turn The Blues Green Program The first reason that I was drawn to this amazing organization (at that time called Hike it Baby) was because of the importance of hiking with both my children was to me during my paternity leave with them. Both of them were born in the winter, and one was born immediately before the Covid pandemic began. This meant there was a lot of isolation and my mental health wasn’t where I wanted it to be.  One of the most effective ways that I compensated and dealt with this was hiking with them in a carrier throughout D.C. I hiked so much during one month of leave that our entire family hiked every single mile of every single trail of Rock Creek National Park (close to 40 miles).  The Turn The Blues Green Program is a pioneering maternal mental health program. It is our tool, our solution, to help new parents combat the Baby Blues, to reduce that feeling of isolation many new moms face, and to nurture relationships with the natural world from the very beginning.  As one supporter said, "Venturing out on a stroller walk with our newborn was an incredibly freeing experience. It was like we had collectively been holding our breath since becoming new parents, and getting out into nature allowed us to finally exhale and realize we could manage this new parent thing!"   Bring it Outside Program One of the issues I have seen over and over again in my professional work defending public lands is the lack of accessibility and diversity for those enjoying our public lands. One of We Are Outgrown’s pillars of work is The Bring it Outside (BiO) program—which meets families where they are and supports them in getting outside in the ways that work best for their families.  Experiencing the benefits of being outside doesn’t need to be about climbing the biggest mountain or hiking the Appalachian Trail, it needs to be about whatever works for you. BiO develops tools and activities and hosts workshops and events for families year-round. This helps break down accessibility issues and gives them opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in whatever way works for them. Hike it Baby Program Hiking clubs are ubiquitous in our country, but what is far more rare is a nationwide hiking club that is focused on hiking with young children, and provides the infrastructure and support to volunteer leaders to make it easy and welcoming.  That’s exactly what the Hike it Baby program does— it specifically works to help families build a habit of getting outside, despite challenges such as accessibility. OutGrown was started as a small hiking club in Portland, Oregon, but now exists in more than 270 communities.  If you are looking for a family-oriented hiking club, I would highly encourage you to join. And whether you are looking for a hiking club or not, if there is a way for you to support this organization, please do! https://hikeitbaby.networkforgood.com/
Meet Bring it Outside, one of OutGrown’s core community programs
CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR FRIENDS AT L.L.BEAN Time spent together outdoors as a family and with community is the focus for OutGrown’s “Bring it Outside” program. We encourage and support parents in getting outside with their children by providing pathways and nurturing relationships that lead to a life-long love of nature. It all began with a hike—a venture outdoors that was much more than a breath of fresh air and stretching of legs with babies in tow. It was the start of a supportive community and an opportunity to overcome the isolation that new parents often experience. Making friends and finding judgment-free environments and low-pressure spaces in which to breathe fresh air are integral in helping new families build connections and habits of spending time together outside. It’s the power of community building in action—something we witnessed as our organization grew—but we realized that those who may need this community the most were challenged by accessibility or lack of support. As an organization, we knew that getting outside was beneficial for children and parents alike—but there was something missing So, we set out to find ways to bridge those gaps. Bridging the Gap Our organization started with community-led hike events that any family could lead, and every family was welcome to join. Thousands of adults, babies, and young children have joined an average of 1,200 hike events each month across North America.  And yet, we see a gap in who shows up.  We realized that families who might need us most—families experiencing higher rates of stress, more isolation, with less support, and fewer resources due to cultural, physical, socio-economic, language, and other barriers integral to their identities—were not showing up and joining our events.  We asked why and began to understand the gaps in our programming that made it difficult. Some of these gaps include language barriers, transportation issues, homes where both parents work full-time jobs, lack of exposure or experience with getting outside as a healthy opportunity, a sense that going outside was either not safe or not welcoming for their particular family due to historical exclusion, social interactions that felt unsafe, or other experiences that didn’t build positive relationships with the idea of going outside.  That’s when we built the “Bring it Outside” program.  Bring it Outside offers a solution, led by community We began working with community organizations that provide resources to these families so we could learn how to best serve them. We connected with community partners that support families in the local area, from early learning hubs to hospitals, land managers, and everything in between. Including other organizations in our programming helps weave a more robust network of support that can last beyond a single encounter with a family. Then we built a workshop series and facilitator training to offer hands-on learning opportunities that answered questions about the basics of getting outside. We applied for grants and worked with outdoor brands to get funding and gear donations. We hired facilitators that represented the communities we were trying to serve, spoke the languages of the families we wanted to connect with, and who could directly identify with the challenges families face—and importantly—who also wanted to share their love and passion for getting outside. Bring it Outside’s ultimate goal Our ultimate goal is to get more families into the outdoors together—for little ones to grow up with a positive connection to nature, for parents to feel comfortable and support each other getting outside, and to help them build community and empower them to host regular outdoor events and activities. The result: a long-lasting and self-sustained OutGrown community hub.  Today, our Bring it Outside program offers a series of facilitated workshops to the families we look to serve.    Each workshop has a how-to component, a hands-on activity or engagement, and a community-building element. We aim to host workshops in the same place and time in nearby nature spaces that are accessible for the community we are serving.  Printed materials, curriculum, and conversation are  offered in different languages based on the needs of our participants and surrounding community. We also provide support in the form of transportation,  gear, materials, supplies, and snacks. We ensure our facilitators are ready to answer questions, help, and generally make each workshop a fun, low-barrier opportunity for families to connect, bond, and build confidence.  At the end of the program series, we offer a one-day family festival that brings together the families in the program, extends an invitation to  other families in the community, and have local organizations bring tables and activities to share about their services while engaging families in a fun day outside.  Beyond our workshops, our facilitators host regular hike events in their local community. They use the same Hike it Baby/OutGrown framework of “hike” being a loose term that includes park and plays, urban strolls, and more traditional trail hikes.  It’s amazing to see what we have become as an organization and community. We can’t do it alone It requires much hard work to find funding, build and support community relationships, and identify, train, and support the local facilitators who make this program possible. However, we are seeing great success so far and have an overwhelming request to keep it going where we have started it and spread it to more communities.  Partnerships and support from those like L.L.Bean has allowed us to help Latinx and immigrant families, rural families in southern Oregon, refugee families in the Portland Metro area, and Latina women in Elizabeth, NJ.  If you would like to learn more about Bring it Outside and how to get involved nationally or in your local community, please contact us at [email protected].  Click below to play our Bring it Outside Video. Video:    Photographs by Jenn Canjar ABOUT OUTGROWN OutGrown is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to create a world where everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of spending time outside. We are focused on creating opportunities and removing barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. We believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 as Hike it Baby, OutGrown is a growing community of 280,000 families and over 300 volunteers. You can find additional information on all of our programs at WeAreOutGrown.org   EDITOR’S NOTE: We're thrilled that you are reading this article from OutGrown. Our team is dedicated to bringing you valuable content and resources that inform, inspire, and entertain. However, creating quality content comes with its costs. It's the result of the dedication and hard work of our writers, editors, and volunteers who truly believe in the mission of connecting families with young children to nature and fostering community.   As a non-profit organization, we rely on the support of our amazing community. If you are in a position to help, we kindly ask for your contribution to help us expand our reach and continue providing valuable content for everyone. No matter the amount, every contribution counts and allows us to keep growing and making a difference together.