Gary A. Kiedaisch, president and CEO of the Coleman Co., met with President Bush in the Oval Office on Monday (Oct. 16) to pledge the company’s and the outdoor industry’s support in connecting America’s youth with the great outdoors, and to express appreciation for the president’s support for recreation.
“Outdoor recreation gets us off the couch, out of our sedentary lifestyle, and back outside to enjoy all that nature has to offer,” Kiedaisch said in a press release. “Coleman would like to work with business and government to come up with sustainable solutions to getting Americans back outdoors and recreating.
“As the world’s largest outdoor company, we are already working with outdoor advocacy organizations to reach the public with the message that spending time with nature is the best way to revitalize mind, body and spirit. But there is much more that can be done.”
Coleman said that in 2002, the president issued an executive order that directed federal land managing agencies to work together to get the American public more physically active outdoors.
Resulting from that order, there is now a working group under the auspices of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. From that groundwork, Kiedaisch, who previously has served on public/private sector organizations including the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Ski Team Foundation, hopes to see the council’s mission expanded to include such lifetime outdoor activities as camping, hiking, climbing, biking and water sports.
“Attendance at national parks is down almost 10%, and young people are spending as much as six hours a day in front of their computers and TV screens, which cuts into the time they could be recreating outdoors,” Kiedaisch said. “Nature deficit is a real threat to the health of our children. Studies have shown that exposure to nature and being active outdoors may be just the right antidote to an epidemic of obesity and many other problems kids face today.”