WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Outdoor Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and NC Recreation and Park Association announced the winners of the 2013 GO NC! Health Challenge Grants. The challenge grants support projects and initiatives that increase physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles in North Carolina.

“Outdoor Nation invests in projects to create healthy, active communities,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Thanks to support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the NC Recreation and Park Association, the Outdoor Foundation is able to bring innovative ideas to life that benefit communities across North Carolina.”

Through the four-year GO NC! initiative, BCBSNC is offering new opportunities to help North Carolinians get active, reduce obesity rates and rein in medical costs.

”These three organizations are leveraging our state’s outdoor assets in the fight against obesity and we’re excited to see them grow as GO NC! Health Challenge Grant winners,” said Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC vice president of corporate affairs. “Getting outside and becoming more active has proven benefits and these organizations are great examples of how North Carolinians are working together to set a new standard of living.”

“Through GO NC! we are encouraging North Carolina citizens to get outside more and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities in their communities”, said Michelle Wells, NCRPA executive director.  “The number and quality of grant applications received demonstrates the continued need for grant programs and support in our state.”

The 2013 GO NC! Health Challenge Grant winners are (name • location • project • amount):

  • Town of Benson • Benson, NC • DR PK Vyas MD Walking Track Fitness Stations • $7,500
    Description:  Benson will install fitness stations along a newly constructed walking track. The stations will provide opportunity for exercise and fitness for all ages.
  • Help Them L.A.S.T. • Greenville, NC • The Outdoor Experience • $7,500
    The Outdoor Experience provides at-risk, underserved and underprivileged youth and their families/guardians access to nature, outdoor activities and nutrition education. The organization will use grant money to buy bicycles and helmets, which will promote health and wellness and allow the organization to accommodate more participants.  
  • Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy • Hendersonville, NC • Cane Creek Greenway Health Challenge Trail • $7,500
    Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy will use its grant award to more fully utilize a new half-mile trail for public recreational use. Interpretive signage along the new trail will educate trail users about community health and wellness programs, the beneficial links between outdoor activity and health and tips for living active, healthy lifestyles.

Total amount granted: $22,500

The challenge grants continue the momentum started at Outdoor Nation’s Signature Summit on the outdoors held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on June 29th and 30th. Outdoor Nation, the signature program the Outdoor Foundation, gathered nearly 200 young people at the University of North Carolina and camped overnight at the 47,000-acre Jordan Lake State Recreation Area to brainstorm, collaborate and develop projects that get more people outdoors. BCBSNC and NCRPA were among the sponsors of this Summit.

The Outdoor Foundation is committed to increasing and expanding participation in outdoor recreation through entertainment, education, engagement and action in order to cultivate healthier, more active communities. During the past year, The Outdoor Foundation and Outdoor Nation have awarded more than $250,000 to youth for projects that reconnect young people with nature. For more information about Outdoor Foundation grants, visit outdoornation.org/grants.


About the Outdoor Foundation:
The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action oriented outreach, and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: OutdoorFoundation.org and OutdoorNation.org.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.74 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For generations, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012 and 2013. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About NCRPA:
Founded in 1944, the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) is the premier nonprofit education and advocacy organization, dedicated to the advancement of the park, recreation and leisure professions in our state. NCRPA empowers park and recreation professionals and citizen board members through educational opportunities that enhance their ability to change lives and impact communities on a daily basis for the citizens of North Carolina. For an overview of the programs and services offered by the organization, visit ncrpa.net.