WASHINGTON, DC (July 22, 2013) – Today Outdoor Nation, a national initiative that reconnects millennials to the outdoors, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) and NC Recreation and Park Association announced the 2013 GO NC! Health Challenge Grants. The challenge grants will support innovative, millennial-led projects and initiatives that increase physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles in North Carolina and are a part of BCBSNC’s on-going Get Outside North Carolina! (GO NC!) initiative.

“Outdoor Nation believes in empowering millennial leaders to create change,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation, the organization that started the Outdoor Nation movement. “Thanks to support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the NC Recreation and Park Association, we are investing in youth-led projects that will increase outdoor participation and ultimately create healthier, more active communities.”

Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded to the top project idea from the eastern, central and western parts of North Carolina. Winning projects will promote North Carolina’s greenway systems, increase access to public bicycles and/or promote outdoor physical activity. Projects must be based in North Carolina and use outdoor recreation as a way to address health concerns. To apply, click here and submit your proposal by August 30, 2013. After a rigorous review and selection process, the awardees will be announced on September 18, 2013.

“Since 2012, our GO NC! initiative has worked with organizations across the state to increase access to greenways and public bicycles. We’re thrilled to expand this work to support creative and passionate youth who are keyed into new and exciting ways to promote healthy lifestyles in our state,” said Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC vice president of corporate affairs.

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.

The challenge grants will continue the momentum from Outdoor Nation’s Signature Summit on the Outdoors held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on June 29 and 30 and sponsored in part by BCBSNC and the NC Recreation and Park Association. Nearly 200 young people gathered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and camped overnight at the 47,000-acre Jordan Lake State Recreation Area to brainstorm, collaborate and develop projects that get more people outdoors.

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


About Outdoor Nation and The Outdoor Foundation
Outdoor Nation was launched in 2010 by a partnership of The Outdoor Foundation, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, The REI Foundation, National Park Service and The North Face. Its mission is to increase youth participation in outdoor activities, especially among urban communities, promote healthy lives and develop a new generation of environmental activists. For more information visit outdoorfoundation.org or outdornation.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
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.

Founded in 1944, the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization, dedicated to the advancement of the park, recreation and leisure professions in North Carolina. 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 www.ncrpa.net.