Merrell “The Pack Project” Awards Third Cycle of Grants to Get More People Outside


Passionate about its goal to get more people outside, Merrell® announces five new grant recipients in its third selection round of The Pack Project. The Pack Project chooses and funds programs and ideas that inspire an increase in outdoor participation. Learn more at:

This third round brings The Pack Project’s total number of recipients to fifteen organizations awarded grants of $2500. The intent of the grants is to provide the resources and funding necessary for non-profit groups and charitable organizations to bring their ideas for increased outdoor physical activity to life. Data from the first cycle of grant recipients shows results of nearly 2,000 people that spent over 77,000 hours outside connecting to their world. Cycle two grant recipients’ “get outside” programs have just begun. Types of outdoor recreation encouraged by these programs include: hiking, biking, paddling, running and general outdoor play.

“The goal of The Pack Project is to fund amazing programs created out of a passion for getting people of all ages outside,” said Meg Hammond, director global marketing at Merrell. “As we witness these programs come to life and motivate kids, adults and families to make a healthy impact on their lives by simply getting outside, we can’t wait to see the impact the next recipients will make. We also encourage new, inspiring programs to apply to our next round that opens on September 15.”

Below are descriptions of Merrell® The Pack Project’s Third Round Grant Recipients:

Western Youth Network: “Project Venture”

Based in Boone, North Carolina, the Western Youth Network Project Venture Substance Abuse Prevention program is an evidenced-based, intensive year-round prevention program serving high-risk middle school students using a strength-based experiential approach. Based on the National Indian Youth Leadership program and adapted for relevancy to Appalachian culture and environment, this year’s program will serve high-risk middle school students at two public schools, one charter school, two community based afterschool sites and one summer day camp. Rurally based students will participate in six adventure activities to build skills that will last a lifetime, including biking down the Virginia Creeper Trail, climbing Chimney Rock and kayaking down the New River.

University of Notre Dame Rock Climbing Club: “Triple C! (Camping, Climbing and Cameras)”

The Triple C program of South Bend, Indiana is a new part of the Rock Climbing Club of the University of Notre Dame that will provide rock climbing courses and trips to local high school students from low-income areas with limited access to outdoor recreation opportunities. Throughout the program, participants will learn basic camping and nature photography skills, as well as gain knowledge on monitoring ecological changes. Youth will be exposed to various ways to engage with and appreciate natural resources, while the photography aspect will help the participants to document and remember their experiences. Through an online photo journal, the youth will share their achievements and encourage others to get outdoors.

Community Hiking Club: “At-Risk to Champions”

The At-Risk to Champions program will give kids affiliated with the Newhall Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita, California opportunities to be outdoors and experience nature. Building upon several hiking events of the past, the Community Hiking Club will host weekend camping trips, where the kids will learn about camping, cooking, Native American crafts and survival techniques. The kids will also learn about the importance of stewardship of the outdoors, participating in trail maintenance, graffiti removal, and non-native invasive species removal at six local canyons and river beds. These activities will teach the students about the regional flora and fauna, including the California condor. Kids will have outdoor mentors who can answer outstanding questions and reinforce the benefits of being outdoors.

Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership: “Connect to the Columbia Outdoor Education Program

The Connect to the Columbia program will provide education and outdoor recreation experiences to 550 students from lower Columbia River communities of Portland, Oregon, providing students with meaningful connections to local natural areas. The project area includes 45 school districts along the lower 146 miles of the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington. Teachers who are otherwise unable to transport their students to local outdoor spaces will be able to overcome that obstacle through this program, which will include pre and post classroom lessons that will include Animal Signs & Observations, Food Webs, Introduction to Local Birds, Native and Invasive Plants and River Processes. On the water, students will ride in 34-foot canoes as they put their classroom knowledge to use.

Outdoor Outreach: “Juvenile Court and Community School Outdoor Education Program”

This San Diego-based program is a 12-month partnership between Outdoor Outreach, Juvenile Court and the Community School of North County that will offer outdoor education experiences for foster youth, pregnant and parenting teens as well as students who have been suspended or expelled.

The program incorporates the outdoor outings, environmentally focused community service activities, along with proven strength-based youth development methods geared to improve teenagers’ ability to succeed personally and academically despite difficult challenges. Students will go on four outdoor outings, including an overnight camping trip, and will also participate in an environmental stewardship activity at the El Forest Recreational Preserves to foster their appreciation for nature.

About Merrell (

Merrell® is an outside athletic brand who believes in encouraging everyone to get outside, be active and have fun. With over 30 years of experience in the outdoors, Merrell considers the outside more than a place. It is our history and our inspiration for the future. As gear testers and enthusiasts ourselves, we understand the benefits of connecting with the outside. Merrell shoes and performance outdoor clothing range from minimal outside athletic designs to casual lifestyle products that represent an outdoor life. Merrell aims to increase outdoor participation and re-connect people with each other and socialize through an outside perspective through causes like Outdoor Nation, The Pack Project and national events like the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run Series. Through its focus on outside athletics, the brand is inspiring and motivating people to “Connect to Your World.” Facebook: Twitter: @merrelloutside (#connection). Pinterest:

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, Millennial engagement and charitable investment, 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 people to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: and