New Report from The Outdoor Foundation Examines Youth Participation

The Outdoor Foundation® today released a Special Report on Youth—a new research report detailing youth participation in outdoor recreation.
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New Report from The Outdoor Foundation Examines Youth Participation in Outdoor Recreation in the U.S.

Boulder, CO, February 3, 2010 — The Outdoor Foundation® today released a Special Report on Youth—a new research report detailing youth participation in outdoor recreation. Focusing on youth ages 6–24, the report reveals, among other findings, the most popular outdoor activities among youth, the frequency of youth participation in outdoor activities, the motivations and barriers of young outdoor participants and the most underrepresented demographics in youth outdoor participation.

“Today’s young hikers, campers, climbers and paddlers are tomorrow’s adult outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists, but sadly fewer and fewer youth are heading outdoors each year,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “The United States is now facing an unprecedented public health and conservation problem. Reconnecting youth with the outdoors has become critical to the health of future generations and the health of our natural landscapes.”

With the vital new information detailed within the Special Report on Youth, The Outdoor Foundation seeks to provide youth organizations, public agencies, businesses and non-profits with insights needed to get youth outside. The report dives deep into youth participation in outdoor activities—from detailing the demographics and geography of youth outdoor participation to reporting the youth participation rate and median age of over 30 different outdoor activities.

The Special Report on Youth is based on extended analysis of data collected for the foundation’s Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, produced annually by The Outdoor Foundation. The report draws on the responses of over 40,000 Americans ages 6 and older captured in an online survey covering 114 different activities. The survey is the largest of its type examining participation in sports and outdoor activities.

A few of the key findings in this report include:

Total Participation — Nearly 60 percent of American youth ages 6–24 participate in outdoor recreation. In recent years, participation has fallen each year.

Frequency of Participation — American youth made an estimated 4.26 billion outdoor excursions in 2008.

Gender Disparities — Males of all ages participate at a higher rate than females. Fifty-six percent of youth outdoor participants ages 6–24 are male.

Ethnic Participation — Minority populations are underrepresented in outdoor recreation. Seventy-nine percent of youth outdoor participants are Caucasian.

Top Activities — Running, bicycling, fishing, camping and hiking are the most popular outdoor activities among youth.

Youngest Activities — Skateboarding, BMX bicycling, snowboarding, climbing and triathlon have the highest percentage of youth participants and lowest percentage of adults.

Motivations — Parents, friends and family introduce the most youth to the outdoors. Most youth enjoy the fun, relaxation and exercise of outdoor activities most.

Barriers — A lack of interest and a lack of time are the top barriers keeping youth non-participants in outdoor recreation indoors.

Adults with Children in Their Household — Adults 18 and older with children, s 1–17, in their household participate in outdoor recreation at higher levels than adults without children in their household.

To download a copy of the Special Report on Youth and other recent research reports from The Outdoor Foundation, visit www.outdoorfoundation.org/research.

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About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation® is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through ground-breaking research, action-oriented convening and outreach and education programs, The Foundation is working with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. For more information visit www.outdoorfoundation.org.

®The Outdoor Foundation is a registered trademark of The Outdoor Foundation.

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