L.L.Bean Ups Commitment to Get Kids, Families Outdoors with Donations, Tips and New Courses

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, this year L.L.Bean will launch over 40 new course offerings through its popular Outdoor Discovery Schools to help get kids and families outside. Ranging from multiday expeditions to free clinics in the store, all programs are designed to help families discover new outdoor activities and learn fresh skills in outdoor recreation. With activities from geocaching, day hikes and stargazing to overnight kayaking excursions and programs for corporate and private groups, Outdoor Discovery Schools courses have been enhanced to celebrate the company’s 100-year legacy with the outdoors.

According to a recent survey from L.L.Bean and the National Park Foundation, 60 percent of parents say their children spend less than an hour a day outdoors.

“Getting your children outside does not have to mean going for a long hike or needing expensive equipment, it can often be as simple as pitching a tent in your own backyard,” says Rob Hutchison, L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School Instructor. “By engaging your kids in the outdoors and making activities both educational and fun, they are more apt to develop a love of the outdoors and a desire to stay active.”

Families can enjoy the outdoors – together – in more ways than before. L.L.Bean offers the following tips for several popular springtime activities that will help your family have more fun the next time you venture outdoors:

* The Sunny Day Rule Now that the weather allows, encourage the “sunny day rule.” When the sun is shining, unplug. This will get kids (and parents) away from the television, computer and video games and into the backyard.
* Clouding and Stargazing These activities can be done from your own backyard with no equipment required. Pique your children’s interest in weather, the atmosphere and space by creating a game identifying the various types of clouds and going out into the night to gaze at the stars and constellations overhead.
* Birding Turn your backyard into a bird-friendly habitat. Birding is a fun family activity for those living in the city, suburbs or country. Backyards are ideal for creating a safe place for birds to feed and nest. In addition to getting your family outdoors and identifying the various birding species, the maintenance aspect of this activity, including cleaning out feeders and nesting boxes, provides a good lesson in responsibility for children.
* Biking Fun, not fitness, should set the pace for family cycling. Teach good road habits and hand signals in an empty parking lot. Play follow-the-leader on the painted lines to practice accurate steering, control and balance. And, always remember to wear a helmet.
* Family Camping It’s important to involve children early in your plans for family camping, giving them the opportunity to explore different destinations, as well as participate in the trip prep process. Practice setting up a campsite in your backyard and teach the importance of Leave No Trace® principles.
* Discover the National Parks The U.S. National Park Service’s National Park Week is April 21-29. During this week, more than 350 national parks offer free admission, all week long. L.L.Bean’s ParkFinder is a great tool that allows you to search thousands of national and state parks across the US to find the one that’s the right for your family’s next outdoor adventure.

L.L.Bean offers a great opportunity for children and families to participate in a wide range of outdoor recreation with its Outdoor Discovery Schools. Expert guides provide instruction at all levels, providing an easy and affordable way to learn more about a favorite activity or to try something for the first time. Opportunities to learn new outdoor skills are also available – for free – at L.L.Bean retail store locations every week through in-store clinics. Knowledgeable experts are on hand to share helpful tips and techniques to prepare families for their own adventures in the great outdoors. Check the calendar for a full monthly schedule at L.L.Bean store locations.

L.L.Bean is on a yearlong mission to re-ignite America’s love of the outdoors during 2012, its 100th anniversary year. To help encourage families to explore the outdoors together this spring, L.L.Bean is giving away more than $100,000 in outdoor gear and Outdoor Discovery Schools experiences through the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway. As part of the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, for every day in 2012, a deserving group or individual will be selected to receive L.L.Bean gear or an Outdoor Discovery Schools experience (valued up to $500).

In addition to the Get Out(fitted) Gear Giveaway, L.L.Bean is donating $1 million to the National Park Foundation through its Million Moment Mission – a yearlong campaign designed to encourage individuals to share their outdoor “moments” with L.L.Bean. For each moment shared, L.L.Bean will donate $1 to the National Park Foundation up to $1 million.

For more information on ways to get your family outside this spring, visit www.llbean.com/100.

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