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Youth Potential - Let's Move! Outside


Children and youth today are spending less time outdoors than any generation in human history. In an attempt to reverse the growing disconnect, the YMCA has joined forces with the Department of the Interior, with support from American Express, to grow Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Outside Initiative. The initiative aims to bridge the gap by connecting youth and families with green space, local parks and public lands within their communities. Participants in the let's move program learn new skills, engage with others and develop dedication to the great outdoors through service projects, recreation and environmental education.

Play, Learn, Serve, Work

By engaging more people in recreational and volunteer opportunities, Let’s Move! Outside is helping to inspire and foster a love for nature. The initiative is designed around four pillars:


Play– engage children in outdoor recreation;

Learn – engross children in environmental education programs;

Serve – involve volunteers in caring for public lands; and

Work – provide employment opportunities for young adults.

Charlotte was selected as a priority city for the initiative in 2016. Since then, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has convened the following community partners to coordinate efforts to nurture nature lovers for life:

  • Catawba Lands Conservancy
  • Chimney Rock Management
  • Girls on the Run
  • Girl Scouts Hornets Nest
  • Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont
  • Healthy Charlotte
  • National Park Service North
  • Carolina State Parks
  • Trees Charlotte