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Natural Leaders Network Ramping up for Third Annual Legacy Camp

C&NN – July 17, 2014
By Natural Leaders Network

Natural Leaders Network Ramping up for Third Annual Legacy Camp

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV (JULY 17, 2014) – The Natural Leaders Network, an initiative of the Children & Nature Network, is convening their Third Annual Legacy Camp, an intensive four-day retreat that trains young, diverse leaders (ages 18-29) in community leadership development and skills training for leading nature-based outings. The Natural Leaders Network supports these leaders as they return to create change in their communities and makes a commitment to investing in these leaders for a lifetime.

The Legacy Camp, which serves as a centerpiece of the Natural Leaders Network, will take place July 20 – July 25, and is made possible by the support of The REI Foundation, The North Face, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This year, 53 young leaders from more than 50 communities across the country will travel to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

““The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center is excited to welcome back to campus the 2014 Legacy Camp Natural leaders” said Steve Chase, Chief, Division of Education & Outreach at
National Conservation Training Center for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We see these extraordinary young people as our future conservation leaders, who have the vision and drive to guide the next generation to reconnect with nature and the outdoors.”

The selection process included assessing each applicant’s passion for the mission of the Natural Leaders Network, leadership qualities, outdoor and environmental organization experience, strength of their references, and potential for the applicant’s strengths and abilities to benefit the Natural Leaders Network.

“We’re excited to empower the next generation of outdoor explorers through the Natural Leaders Legacy Camp as they learn how to lead by example in their communities and inspire more people to get outside,” said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration for The North Face. “At The North Face, we believe that once you get someone outside they will develop a passion for the outdoors, and ultimately they’ll be more likely to protect the wild places we all play.”

The vision of the Natural Leaders Network is to engage a diverse set of young leaders in the effort to empower communities to curb Nature-Deficit Disorder. While not a medical diagnosis, this refers to the phrase coined by best-selling author Richard Louv to serve as a description of the human costs of today’s alienation from nature. Louv, a founder of The Children & Nature Network, states, “The Natural Leaders Network shows the opportunity that young people have to impact all of our communities in engaging a new generation with the outdoors”

The Legacy Camp utilizes past participants, who serve as trainers for the new crop of attendees. This helps to expand C&NN’s scope and mission, building a worldwide youth movement to strengthen the bond between people and nature. “Each year it is exciting to see a new group of young leaders emerge from the Legacy Camp, building our reach with passionate Natural Leaders committed to making a difference in their community,” said Juan Martinez, Director of the Natural Leaders Network. “We are harnessing this passion by providing them with the tools they need to become leaders -- not for tomorrow, but for today.”

The Natural Leaders Network was created to systematically train youth from across the U.S. in community leadership and engagement. Core goals include raising awareness about the systemic ramifications of children’s loss of contact with nature, including health risks such as diabetes and heart disease, poorer performance in school, and decreased support for parks and outdoor recreation activities. Ultimately, these young leaders learn to mobilize their communities to action in connecting people to the outdoors.

About The Children & Nature Network: Since it’s founding in 2006, the Children & Nature Network has been advocating for children, their families and communities to enhance their health and well-being through direct experiences in nature. C&NN’s vision is a world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives. The Children & Nature Network is leading the movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership. C&NN provides a wide range of research and user-friendly tools, including those to enhance positive family bonding and access to fun, friendly nature-based activities. For more information, visit http://www.childrenandnature.org.
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As part of our ongoing efforts to build the movement, the Children & Nature Network has published these resources for leaders, organizers, and participants at the local, national, and international levels:

2010 C&NN Report
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Children and Nature 2009: A Report on the Movement to Reconnect Children to the Natural World
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C&NN Community Action Guide: Building the Children & Nature Movement from the Ground Up
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