University News

SUU Students get Local Teens Outside, and Climbing

Published: December 05, 2008 | Category: Community Outreach

Throughout this closing fall semester, SUU students have helped local Cedar City teens participate in the National Recreation and Parks Association's (NRPA), Teens Outside program. The national initiative, first piloted in 2007, has now expanded to some 29 communities. SUU is the lone recipient in Utah of the prestigious outreach, and joins the ranks of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the County of San Diego as selected recipients.

Teens Outside introduces youth ages 10 to 19 to outdoor recreation with sustained, season-long experiences in hiking, camping, climbing, biking, paddling and other activities with the goal of fostering a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

Considering SUU's recent initiatives to capitalize upon the University's prime outdoor location through educational partnerships with Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks and the Cedar Breaks and Pipe Spring National Monuments, Teens Outside could not find a more suitable home in Utah's schools.

This semester's Teens Outside project at SUU focused on a weekly climbing club, open to all Cedar City area teens.

The club meets every Thursday evening, and in addition to providing a new entertainment and recreation opportunity for local teens, has allowed SUU students to "use the outdoor leadership skills they discuss in class to real people and projects within the community," said Briget Eastep, an Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation at SUU, who is also directing the program.

Teens Outside's local success is a fruition of partnership between the university's Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism program and the Cedar City Parks and Recreation.

"This has really worked out great," added Eastep, who conveyed her hope for the long-term success of the program, "Ultimately, I believe we can offer Teens Outside as an important and permanent fixture in our community, and in so doing, create lasting relationships for teens with the outdoors, while giving our students opportunities to develop meaningful leadership skills."

The SUU-based program has plans to hire a student coordinator in January to more fully develop the program and to incorporate the University's Outdoor Recreation Center.

Piloted in 2007 with 20 local park and recreation agencies across the country, The Outdoor Foundation and NRPA renewed their commitment to the Teens Outside program and expanded participation to 29 communities in 2008. With the recent endorsement from the National Forum on Children and Nature, the Teens Outside program hopes to continue expanding in 2009 and beyond.

Those parents and educators interested in getting their own teens involved in future Teens Outside initiatives should contact SUU's Briget Eastep at 435.586.7829.

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