Gov. Inslee announces $1.3 million grant to help kids experience outdoors

Gov. Inslee announces $1.3 million grant to help kids experience outdoors

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday announced $1.3 million in funding will be awarded to help kids experience the outdoors.

The No Child Left Inside grants, awarded by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, focus on programs that provide outdoor education and recreation to kids who would otherwise not be able to.

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"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," Inslee said in a news release.

The grants will help kids participate in activities like hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.

"State Parks is excited about this grant program that gets young people outdoors for healthy recreation and environmental education," said Don Hoch, State Parks director.

The No Child Left Inside program is in its fourth cycle and had 173 applications, a 44 percent increase compared to the previous cycle.

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"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, which administers the grants.

According to officials, recipients of the grants will be matching the state funding and are contributing nearly $3 million in donations, equipment, labor and other resources.

Funding for the program comes from the state general fund.

Successful applicants will begin their projects starting as early as this month, officials said.

Projects are expected to be finalized in June 2021 and the Recreation and Conservation Office said they will likely accept new applications in September 2020.

Find detailed breakdowns of how the grants will be used below: