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Roanoke Parks and Recreation Receives $20,000 Grant for Youth Outdoor Programs

Roanoke Parks and Recreation has received $20,000 from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Community Impact Grant to fund youth programing that encourages local youth to connect with the outdoors. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) chooses programs based on their promotion of social, economic, and land justice in southwestern Virginia.

The grant will fund the continuation of the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) and a new youth mountain biking program. The OAC is a partnership with Roanoke Parks and Recreation, Total Action for Progress (TAP), and the Roanoke Outside Foundation. This partnership helps local youth from single-parent and/or low-income households by taking them outside on monthly adventure outings.

Thus far, the program has provided over 2,400 hours of mentorship and quality outside time, and facilitated 20 outings all over the region. The new youth mountain biking program is an addition to the current PLAY After-School program. Program participants will receive 12 weeks of mountain bike education and practice at no additional cost to their parents. Both programs work to eliminate barriers to the outdoors and expose underserved youth to the gamut of outdoor sports possibilities.

Matt Allenbaugh, Environmental Education and Mill Mountain Park Supervisor said, “I’m thrilled that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy chose Roanoke Parks and Recreation to receive this grant to continue this program, as well as start our new Youth Mountain Bike program. We live in one of the most beautiful natural areas of the country and all children should have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature.”

Previous funding support has come from the Roanoke Outside Foundation, Wells Fargo, The North Face Explore Fund, The Keen Effect grant, and the Katie Svitek Memorial Foundation. The 2021 OAC will begin this April, and the new mountain biking program will begin as soon as bikes can be ordered.

For more information about the Community Impact Grant program,contact Jordan Bowman of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy at [email protected].

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