New Faces, Growing Capacity, More Take Me Outside Initiatives

The Take Me Outside team is growing and with that we are able to offer new initiatives for getting students outside.  New skills and expanded capacity = new TMO challenges and awesome new shirts; we’re excited to tell you all about it.

At the beginning of this year we put out a national call for new Directors and were overwhelmed by the interest, passion and skill that has come our way.  We added five new Directors for a total of nine with representation from across the country. We regret not being able to accommodate everyone that applied, but a Board of 30 would be unwieldy! Check out our stellar roster of new (+ the previous) Directors here.

Our expanded team of Directors gives us capacity in a bunch of new areas including communications, apparel, organizational development, programming and fundraising.  Right off the mark we added a Winter Take Me Outside Challenge for the latter part of February. And teachers/educators responded with enthusiasm!  Despite limited lead time, we still saw an estimated 20,000 students outside, participating in our Winter Challenge. Thank you for all the inspiring photos and messages about how you spent your hour (or more) outside in the snow, mud, woods, fields, etc. Next year we’ll be able to get the word out sooner and hope to have even more prizes to give away.

Outdoor Learning Challenge launching soon!

The other new initiative we are working on, which is a direct response to feedback and suggestions we received from educators across the country, is a year-long TMO for Learning Challenge. Teachers, principals and educators have been telling us that they are ready to up the ante on outdoor time during the school year, but need our support to help stay the course. We have designed the Learning Challenge to be simple and fun with tangible tools to help them do just that. The Challenge: take students outside for one session/hour per week throughout the school year.  We are currently soliciting prize partners to be able to offer participants sweet rewards. This program will launch officially in September 2019.

2019 Student Video Contest

We are also excited to be presenting our Student Video Contest for the 7th year in partnership with Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival. The theme is Canada’s Backyard.  We want to see how amazing Canada’s backyard is, wherever you live! Show us why we have one of the best backyards in the world and how you like spending time in it!  Individual students can enter or it can be a group/class project.

The Grand Prize is a 3 day trip to Banff National Park where the winning short film will be screened during the opening weekend of the Film Festival to a sold out audience. There are some great prizes from MEC as well – all aimed at getting students outside! A huge thanks to MEC and the Banff Centre for their support in this project. It truly is a remarkable Grand Prize to have the winner visit Canada’s first and oldest National Park! We also want to thank Caribou Properties and Banff Airporter for providing food and transportation to the winning student while in Banff. This community has truly supported this contest and is committed to engaging youth in exploring Canada’s amazing backyard.  Entry details are available here.

New TMO T-Shirt Designs

And finally, we’re super pleased to show off our newest t-shirt designs which are available at select MEC stores across Canada (thanks to MEC for being our super awesome retail partner!) and online at our shop. The apparel committee worked super hard through the winter to refresh the look of our signature shirts and we think they look fab! Look for them in your community and heed the message for a spring (and summer) outside!

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