The North Face/REI Announce 11-City Role Models Speaker Series to Get Kids Outside

Kids now have a chance to interact with role models to help them get outdoors.
In partnership with REI, The North Face/REI recently announced an 11-City Role Models Speaker Series designed to give parents the advice and inspiration they need to get outside and active with their kids…

Top athlete parents from The North Face, including ultrarunner Dean Karnazes, ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers, and world-renowned snowboarder Megs Pischke, will travel to select The North Face and REI stores in the summer months to share their first-hand experiences getting outside with their own kids, as well as challenges, tips and guides for parents with children of all ages.

“We teach our kids right from wrong, to try their best to practice kindness – always leading by example. We have a responsibility to be role models for them in the outdoors as well, because if they don’t learn a passion for exploration or an appreciation for the world’s wild places from us, who will they learn it from?” says DesLauriers, a mother of two. “We want these clinics to be a place for both kids and parents to learn, ask questions and get prepared for a big outdoor adventure this summer.”

The North Face and REI Role Models Speaker Series will be a two-day event, including a one-hour athlete presentation in-store on Friday followed by “Getting Outside with Kids” days for the whole family on Saturday in local parks. The Saturday events will include a guided hike or walk, a trail mix station, and clinics on the 10 essentials you need in your backpack and how to set up a tent. Each of The North Face athlete parents has their own unique perspective and incredible stories to tell:

TNF and REI arebanding together to get tykes and teens outside

Dean Karnazes has been described as “Superhuman” after running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days in 50 days. Dubbed “The Ultramarathon Man” and ranked among TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, his message to the world is, “Get off the couch, get healthy, hit the trails, and go the extra mile.” With that mantra in mind, and with a physiology adapted for endless running, he’s run 350 miles – nonstop—and completed ultramarathons across the world’s five great deserts: the Atacama, Gobi, Death Valley, Sahara, and Antarctic. In 2011, Karnazes brought fitness home to millions with his 3000-mile, 75-day, coast-to-coast Run Across America, with on Live! with Regis and Kelly. Karnazes has dedicated himself to getting more kids outside and active through the non-profit Action for Healthy Kids. His own kids, Nicholas and Alexandra, have been along for the entire ride, often accompanying him on his global running adventures.

Diane Van Deren spent ten years racked by epilepsy, but radical brain surgery gifted her with a seizure-free life and a super-human endurance for ultrarunning that has driven her to win grueling events like the 2009 Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430 mile foot race across a frozen wilderness. In 2010 she turned to mountaineering and climbed South America’s tallest peak, Aconcagua. This year, she is embarking on an expedition to set the time record for running the North Carolina Mountain to Sea Trail, more than 1,000 miles of mountains, rock, sand and swamp. Van Deren is a survivor, a peak performer, and a wife and mother of three.

Kit DesLauriers had a dream: to be the first person to climb and ski all of the Seven Summits, the highest peak on each continent. After attaining her goal with her ascent and descent of Everest, and after becoming a mother of two, DesLauriers turned to explore North America’s greatest wilderness, the eight million acre Arctic Refuge. DesLauriers’ will explore how she balances being a professional athlete and a mother to two young girls, and how to impart a passion for the world’s wild places to the next generation.

Mark Synnott has climbed the world’s most remote cliffs, taking him to the Arctic, Asia’s Karakoram Mountains amd Amazonian jungle. Exploring seldom-seen places is his specialty: most recently he explored the Ennedi desert of Chad in North Africa where he and his team of top-notch climbers made first ascents of surreal and other-worldly rock spires and arches. As a father, Synnott shares the challenges and lessons he has learned on how to safely travel with kids to remote places and instill in them a sense of exploration.

Megan “Megs” Pischke is a world-renowned rider with decades of snowboarding experience. She splits her time between Squamish, British Columbia, Vail, Colo. and Costa Rica with her professional snowboarder husband David Carrier Porcheron (DCP) and their two young children. Together, they’re committed to sharing their passion for the outdoors with the next generation of athletes, while also spending time on causes they find important. Pischke is also involved with Boarding for Breast Cancer, a nonprofit organization, now in memory of Monica Steward, that has raised more than $1 million for breast cancer awareness and research.

Pete Athans name has been synonymous with the exploration of Mt. Everest for nearly two decades. He has led or participated in many expeditions to the mountain and has summited seven times. He has also distinguished himself in the Himalaya with speed ascents of Annapurna South, Pumori, Ama Dablam and Cho Oyu. When he isn’t exploring his own objectives, he guides climbers to the highest points of all seven continents, often with his children in tow. Athans uses travel and exploration as an opportunity to teach his kids about world cultures and pass along an appreciation for conservation of our natural playgrounds.

Michael Wardian is an international shipbroker, father of two young boys and a world-renowned endurance runner. As a US Track & Field Team member, Wardian has won several medals on behalf of Team USA in the 50K World Championships, is a four-time US Olympic Team Trials Qualifier, has more than 30 marathon wins under his belt and has been named “Ultrarunner of the year” three separate times. Wardian can be seen running in the Washington, DC area with a jogging stroller in order to get in his training miles each week. He looks at every race and each new city as an opportunity for his boys to learn something new and explore the outdoors.

Hilaree O’Neill combines her passion for exploration, mountains and skiing, traveling to some of the most exotic mountain ranges on earth. Outside Magazine named her one of the most adventurous women in the world of sports. She’s skied from the Himalayan summit of Cho Oyu in Tibet and climbed and skied several high peaks in Bolivia and Argentina. Elsewhere, she’s cut turns on remote volcanoes in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, in Mongolia, Pakistan, Lebanon, as well as many first descents in the tight couloirs of Baffin Island. Hilaree is currently on expedition on Mt. Everest with The North Face, National Geographic and Montana State University. In addition to her travels as an athlete for The North Face, O’Neill is a mother to two young boys, and although they have changed her life dramatically, her passion for the mountains has not abated.

Greg Child is both a successful mountaineer and author, proudly conquering some of the highest peaks in the world: Mount Everest, K2, Northwest Ridge (Karakoram), Mount Combatant (Canada) and Mount Hunter (Alaska) among others, as well as publishing several highly-acclaimed books, including “Postcards from the Ledge.”

Juan Martinez grew up in South Central Los Angeles, but the opportunity to explore the Grand Teton in Montana shaped a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Although not a parent, as an ambassador for The North Face, a leader of the Children & Nature Networks Natural Leaders Initiative and a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, he inspires young people internationally to become leaders in the children and nature movement. Martinez is grateful for the opportunity he once received and is committed to sharing his passion for the outdoors with the next generation of urban youth leaders.


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