MEC launches a national movement to help young Canadians change the way we live

VANCOUVER, Sept. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is putting young Canadians in charge of changing our nation's activity levels with the launch of MEC Outdoor Nation. MEC Outdoor Nation's Leadership Council and 450 delegates will be creating programs to inspire young people to get outside and be active at a stage in their lives when activity levels typically decrease substantially.

Stats Canada reports that in 2013 almost two-thirds (60%) of 20-34 year olds were considered only moderately active during leisure time, while more than a third (40%) were considered completely inactive. That's a drop from 71% of 12-19 year olds who were considered moderately active and 29% who were considered inactive. 

"MEC has inspired and enabled Canadians to lead active outdoor lives for over forty years," says MEC CEO David Labistour. "MEC Outdoor Nation addresses the need for a new generation of leaders who are committed to ensuring the outdoors can be experienced and enjoyed by all." 

MEC Outdoor Nation will launch with three inaugural weekend summits in Vancouver (September 2014), Toronto (June 2015) and Montreal (Summer 2015), hosting 450 delegates between the ages of 18 to 27. Facilitated in part by the MEC Outdoor Nation's Leadership council, these delegates will be challenged to dream big, propose innovative programs and launch MEC-funded projects that address the barriers to getting young adults outside and active. 

The top three projects at each summit (as voted on by delegates) will receive funding from MEC. With $30,000 in total project grants, MEC will help these committed young adults introduce new ideas, identify a generation of leaders and build community engagement. Summits and working sessions will be interspersed with outdoor activities, hands-on workshops and inspiring speakers.

"As an Olympic kayaker, the outdoors is my place of work, but it's also where I go to recharge and relieve the stress that comes from everyday life," explains Hugues Fournel, 26 year old MEC Outdoor Nation Leadership Council member and Canadian Olympic sprint kayaker. "MEC Outdoor Nation reminds us that being active outside delivers benefits that extend well past the physical."

MEC Outdoor Nation summits are free to delegates, thanks to MEC's commitment to 1% for the Planet and our sponsors. Participants will get the chance to camp overnight with gear, food, entertainment and transportation provided by MEC and sponsors. Evening highlights include live music, socializing and sleeping under the stars.

About MEC Outdoor Nation 
MEC Outdoor Nation is a national movement to inspire young people to live and play outside. At three weekend summits in Vancouver 2014, Toronto 2015 and Montreal 2015, 450 people age 18 – 27 will come together to dream big, innovate solutions and create launch-ready, MEC-funded projects that address the barriers to getting young adults outside and active.

Outdoor Nation was founded in the US by the Outdoor Foundation. The first summit took place in 2010, gathering more than 500 young leaders from all 50 states in New York's Central Park. Over the past three years, Outdoor Nation has invested in more than 250 projects that are expected to connect 25,000 youth to the outdoors.

About MEC
Canada's leading outdoor retailer and a member-owned co-operative, MEC is passionate about inspiring and enabling everyone to lead active outdoor lifestyles. From city streets and yoga studios to backcountry trails and pristine waterways, MEC matches people with expertise, experience, enthusiasm, clothing and gear for camping, snowsports, watersports, cycling, climbing, hiking, running and fitness. Through our commitment to 1% for the Planet, every year members' purchases allow us to donate one percent of sales ($3.1 million in 2013) to Canadian non-profit organizations that help conserve ecologically and recreationally important areas. MEC has over 3.75 million members across Canada.

SOURCE: Mountain Equipment Co-op

For further information: Johnny Santilly, Media Profile, 416-342-1841, johnny.santilly@mediaprofile.com

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