Some believe the key to a lifetime of good health is getting outside into nature. Realizing that not everyone has equal access to the outdoors, lawmakers in Washington created the No Child Left Inside grant program.
"I can't say enough great things about it," said Kyle Guzlas, Grant Services Manager for the Recreation and Conservation Office.
Guzlas says the goal of 'No Child Left Inside' is to 'provide under-served youth with quality opportunities to experience the natural world.' After a renewed boost in funding in 2015, Guzlas says the program is going strong, and is now accepting applications for 2019.
"Right now what we know is the biggest thing keeping kids inside is probably screens," said Guzlas. "Kids are spending on average about 40 hours per week doing something with an electronic, whether it's YouTube, social media or video games, as opposed to only 6 hours spending outside."
In the last year the 'No Child Left Inside' program has funded 39 projects across the state and helped get 20,000 kids outside doing a variety of different activities. Options include backpacking, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, hunting, orienteering, outdoor cooking and rock climbing.
'No Child Left Inside' is a state parks program, administered by the state Recreation and Conservation Office. This year they're expecting to have 1.5 million in grant funds available to get kids outside and into nature.
Organizations that benefit youth in Washington State are encouraged to apply. Those eligible include public agencies, Native American tribes, non-profit organizations, formal school programs, information after school programs, community-based programs in Washington, veteran organizations and private entities including individuals like teachers and businesses.
The pre-application due date for the program is March 1st, with final applications due April 1st.