St. George Outdoors, part of the City of St. George’s recreation division within the Leisure Services Department, was recently awarded a matching $5,000 grant by the Utah Children’s Outdoor Recreation and Education (UCORE). The grant is distributed by the Governor's Office of Economic Development and is intended to go toward equipment, supplies, wages and youth scholarships.

The UCORE grant will help St George Outdoors provide high-quality, outdoor-focused, hands-on learning experiences for children ages 6 to 18. These programs help youth learn the physical skills that can make outdoor recreation part of a healthy, safe and active lifestyle.

“We live in a prime location where outdoor recreation is on our front porch. We want to provide the youth in our community the opportunities to enjoy these outdoor locations while taking stewardship of the land we recreate on,” said Cody Schmitt, Deputy Director of Leisure Services in charge of Recreation. “Our goal is to get more kids outside to learn skills that build confidence in themselves while enjoying the outdoors. I want every youth to see, experience, and feel the joy of recreating Southern Utah.”

St. George Outdoors has been operating for five years, offering mountain biking, bouldering, kayaking and paddle boarding instruction to youth 11 and older. Weeklong summer camps will continue through July. Month-long classes that meet once a week resume in September.

“Michael Swartz, our Outdoor recreation supervisor, wrote this grant with the vision of growing the outdoor recreation program and helping the youth in our community have opportunities to get outdoors,” Schmitt added. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained through his 15 years in the field.” 

St. George Outdoors is one of 23 organizations that was awarded funding for outdoor recreational programming.

“We will be using a portion of this grant to offer scholarships to those who receive free or discounted lunches through the Washington County School District,” Swartz said. “Our hope is to help remove the financial barriers that could be limiting outdoors accessibility to some in our community.”

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