Interior Department Selects Omaha as Priority City to Connect Youth to the Outdoors

Part of nationwide Let’s Move! Outside movement inspiring youth to play, learn, serve and work on public lands

Last edited 09/29/2021

Date: August 3, 2016
Carrie Murphy (City of Omaha),
Angela Eastlund (YMCA of Greater Omaha),

OMAHA, NEB. – The U.S. Department of the Interior is leading First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors. Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined City of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha Chris Tointon to announce the selection of Omaha as one of 50 cities to participate in the nationwide movement. Learn how some of the first cities are already making a difference in kids’ lives

Let’s Move! Outside, funded through a $2.5 million grant by the American Express Foundation, will provide two years of funding for the YMCA of Greater Omaha to help coordinate efforts, facilitate collaboration, grow resources and increase participation in outdoor programs on all public lands – from local parks to federal lands and waters. Secretary Jewell joined about 70 local youth to participate in a service project picking up trash, planting milkweed plants for pollinators and installing bluebird and bat boxes at Fontenelle Park.

“Giving young people an opportunity to play in and care for parks and public lands helps create lifelong connections to nature in their backyards and beyond,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “The critical work young volunteers perform on public lands opens doors to new career opportunities, creating the next generation of environmental stewards while also benefitting the quality of life in local communities.”

“As Mayor, a mother and a trained nurse, Let's Move is a message we all want to share with our children. Healthy families and healthy children are important assets to Omaha and we are thrilled to be selected as a priority community,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Omaha is so fortunate to have more than 200 City parks that provide year-round opportunities for children and families to play, exercise and explore. I encourage all Omaha families to participate in Let's Move and set a good example for other communities.”

“Many people in our urban neighborhoods don't always have the chance to experience all that our public lands in and around the city have to offer,” said President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha Chris Tointon. “This initiative will help us bring together leaders in conservation, education, recreation and service to provide opportunities for children and families to have fun, deepen connections to the city’s natural and historic sites, develop important skills, and engage in activities where they can give back and strengthen our community.”

“Community service and historic preservation have a long heritage at American Express,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Since our founding more than 160 years ago, American Express has seen how America's parks and public lands contribute to our sense of national and local identity, and we are proud to lead an effort to mobilize a new generation of volunteers to protect, conserve and revitalize America's public lands and treasured national parks.”

In March 2015, Secretary Jewell announced this partnership with the American Express Foundation and kicked-off the first cities across the country to be a part of this movement. Twenty-six cities were announced in 2015 and the remaining cities were announced this year, with Omaha as the 50th that will participate in the initiative. For more information about the initiative, visit:

This program is part an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to connect young people to the outdoors. Other efforts include the Every Kid in A Park program to provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. These complement the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign celebrating this year’s centennial of the National Park System. 

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