TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. - The North Face has awarded an Explore Fund grant to SkiDUCK (Skiing and Snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids). The Explore Fund's mission is to inspire and enable the next generation of explorers by funding nonprofit organizations working to re-connect children with nature. By encouraging an active healthy lifestyle and protection of our natural landscapes, a stronger connection of youth to the outdoors can be nurtured.
SkiDUCK was selected from more than 900 applications submitted for the first of two grant cycles in 2012 due to their exemplary work and efficiency in introducing disadvantaged and at-risk youth to the mountains and the joys of skiing and snowboarding. As an entirely volunteer-based nonprofit organization, all grant and donation funds go directly to SkiDUCK's youth programs. Since The North Face Explore Fund was initiated in 2010, The North Face has provided more than $1 million in grants to nonprofits worldwide working to connect youth to the outdoors, with more than three quarters of that going to programs in the United States.
"We very excited and appreciative to be selected as one of the few Explore Fund grant recipients" said SkiDUCK Founder and Executive Director Clint Lunde. "With our growing volunteer chapters across the country and with other youth organizations, we're making a meaningful difference in kids' lives by introducing them to an amazing, yet exclusive, slice of the great outdoors that they may otherwise never have an opportunity to experience. Every weekend we've got new kids coming up who've never even seen snow before, and within an hour they're making free turns down the slopes of the top ski resorts in the country."
SkiDUCK was established in 2009 to introduce disadvantaged youth in Northern California and Nevada to the slopes of Lake Tahoe. During the past three years they've expanded their volunteer-based, grassroots model to nearly 20 ski resorts and 40 youth organizations across nine states from coast to coast.
At their first event of the 2012/13 season at Squaw Valley, SkiDUCK hosted 120 youths, as many as their entire first season combined. Squaw Valley and other participating resorts provide SkiDUCK participants with free lift tickets, rentals and lessons to help defray the costs of the program. With the support of ski resorts, volunteers, grants and individual donations, SkiDUCK looks to provide more than 2,000 free youth ski and snowboard visits this season.
"There can be so many barriers to getting kids outdoors, whether it be a disability, health resources or simply a lack of access. A large percentage of the grants went toward funding organizations that are addressing these issues by providing access and education," said Ann Krcik, director of Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. "We believe that if you can get kids to love the outdoors, not only will they develop skills that will help them throughout life, but they will grow up to care about their natural world, protecting and conserving the wild places they explore."
To learn more about SkiDUCK, getting involved or supporting their cause visit www.SkiDUCK.org or email info@SkiDUCK.org. For more information about The North Face Explore Fund visit www.explorefund.org.
About The North Face
The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor, Inc., was founded in 1968. Headquartered in San Leandro, Calif., the company offers the most technically advanced products in the market to accomplished climbers, mountaineers, snowsport athletes, endurance athletes, and explorers. The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running, and snowsport retailers, premium-sporting goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.