Governor Inslee announces $1.3 million grant to get kids outdoors

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Courtesy: Yoshi Takekawa
The beautiful outdoors are within reach for the disadvantaged youth in Washington.

On Monday, Governor Jay Inslee announced that $1.3 million of funding will be provided for the No Child Left Inside grant.

According to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, this will give over 14,000 children the chance to explore Washington parks, forest, and outdoor recreational places across the state.

The funding for the grant was awarded by the state’s Parks and Recreation Commission, and will focus on outdoor educational and recreational programs for youths in low-income families. It will help kids spend over 1 million hours outside, doing activities like hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.

Jay Inslee issued the following statement:

This is about investing in our kids and making sure they have equal access to the outdoors. We know that kids who spend time outdoors do better in school, are less stressed and get more exercise and social interaction. Some of my best childhood memories happened outdoors, and this funding is a big part of making sure these opportunities–to learn, grow and discover the world around us–are open to everyone.

The No Child Left Behind grant has been around since 2008, and is currently in its fourth grant cycle. It’s seeing its highest demand ever — 173 applications, a 44% increase compared to its last cycle.

“That kind of growth shows an unparalleled level of support for this program and what it means for kids’ health, emotional development, attention spans, understanding and overall happiness,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. “With only enough funding for about 16% of the $8 million requested, it also represents how critical the need is in communities across Washington.”

The grant will be broken down and given to Washington’s counties:

Benton County — $25,000
Chelan County — $4,200
Clark County — $15,100
Cowlitz County — $24,998
Grays Harbor — $9,160
Jefferson County — $49,980
King County — $446,970
Mason County — $136,490
Pierce County — $144,962
San Juan County — $24,963
Skagit County — $25,000
Snohomish County — $20,958
Spokane County — $104,580
Thurston County — $149,931
Whatcom County — $124,200
Yakima County — $43,510

Applicants will begin there projects as early as this month, wrapping up in June 2021, though the Recreation and Conservation Office will likely accept new project applications through September 2020.

The No Child Left Inside grant was designed to find ways to increase participation in outdoor recreation, which has many social and economic benefits.