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U.S. Interior Secretary Launches Youth Outdoor Initiative in Salt Lake City

Brian Grimmett
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell launches a youth initiative in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is now one of 50 cities that will participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel made the announcement from the banks of the Jordan River in Salt Lake City, where a group of young volunteers were busy removing weeds. The initiative will provide the YMCA of Northern Utah with enough money to create a community coordinator position for two years. That person will then work to increase participation in outdoor programs on all of Salt Lake City’s public lands. Jewell says too many kids don’t ever go outdoors, and she hopes this program will help inspire kids to do just that.

“This is about a continuum," she says. "And it starts with play. Just let ’em play. Let ‘em climb a tree. Let ‘em dig a hole. Let ‘em dam up a little river. Let ‘em have a good time. And that’s what the YMCA is really going to facilitate here in Salt Lake City.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says he’s excited that Salt Lake City is one of the first 25 cities to take place in this new initiative

“All of us who have had an opportunity to be outdoors and expose our kids to outdoors, know what a huge difference it makes in their lives as kids, but more importantly in their lives throughout their adult years,” he says.

The Let’s Move! Outside program is largely funded by a $5 million dollar donation from the American Express Foundation. 

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