Feb. 20, 2014. In conjunction with the popular Banff Mountain Film Festival, and to help celebrate the 18th annual screening of the World Tour, ASU Outdoor Programs is announcing the third annual Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award or A4.
The A4 was created to identify and celebrate the High Country’s talented mountain sports athletes and role models. The A4 initiative will recognize individuals who excel in their mountain sport (skiing, snowboarding, climbing, cross country or trail running, biking, kayaking, mountaineering/backpacking, adventure racing, etc.), are elevating the status of their sport in the High Country community, exemplify the outdoor lifestyle, are valued role models and/or mentors, contribute to social or environmental awareness of the area, and are excellent ambassadors to some aspect of the High Country outdoor community. Individuals may be nominated in one of two age categories: 17 and under and 18 to 24 years old (as of March 30, 2014).
The A4 initiative and getting youth outdoors is important from health and wellness, economic, and environmental perspectives. The trend toward a growing separation from nature is not only unhealthy from a physical perspective; it’s also unhealthy from a mental and spiritual standpoint. If our future decision makers have no physical connection to our natural resources they will be unprepared to make wise policy and budget decisions about them. Through the A4, we are trying to positively inspire more youth to adopt a healthy, supportive and active outdoor lifestyle, for their current and future well being. We also want to acknowledge young people and their passion and pursuits so that our community can celebrate them while inspiring others to join them in living active, healthy, and adventurous lives.
“We wanted to find a way to celebrate young people who are doing great things in our mountain community, so we created this award” states Rich Campbell, Associate Director of ASU Outdoor Programs. “Once again, we found inspiration from the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture who developed the World Tour which has become so popular in our community. They created a Mountain Idol award for young people in their community, and we loved the idea. After talking with their award coordinators, we came up with our own version specific to young people here in the High Country. The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture was very supportive of our efforts and noted that they are not aware of any other community who is doing anything like it. The 2012 winners of the A4 were Levi Marland in the under 17 year old category and Zach Silberman in the 18-24 year old category. It was really exciting to present awards to these young people.”
There is a simple online form to nominate someone and it does not cost anything to nominate. Nominees must currently reside or attend school in the geographic area known as the High Country of North Carolina (the counties of Watauga, Avery, and Ashe.) Individuals can be nominated over successive years, but can only receive the A4 for their age category once. A4 winners will receive a generous prize package from project sponsors and will be formally recognized at the Boone, NC screenings of the Banff Film Festival on March 28 and 29, 2014.
Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is the Presenting Partner for the 2014 A4 and Outdoor Research is a lead sponsor for this event. Appalachian Ski Mountain, Earth Fare, and Misty Mountain Threadworks are supporters for this event. “Due to the generosity of these local businesses, we will have very generous prize packages for the A4 winners in each respective category. We are also working with other businesses and organizations to help publicize this initiative and add to the already existing packages for these young people” states Campbell.
Dr. Scott St.Clair of Blue Ridge Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is thrilled that his practice is the presenting partner once again for the A4 award. “This award promotes the importance of outdoor recreation, leadership skills and community involvement. These are the same values that we hope to encourage in our patients.”
For more information about the A4, to nominate someone, and for more information about the 18th annual Banff Film Festival here in Boone, go to www.op.appstate.edu .