Blue Sky Fund will bring over 400 participants together to hike along the James River on
October 26th for the Dominion Energy Hike For Kids event with a goal of raising $50,000 to directly support programs that provide transformational experiences in nature for over 3,000 Richmond students from low-income neighborhoods.
“We are privileged to support such a worthwhile cause,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, President of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “Blue Sky Fund makes a meaningful impact in such a unique and important way for many kids across the Richmond community.”
The James River Park System has become a main Richmond attraction, boasting some of the best urban trails in the country – however, many of the students served by Blue Sky Fund have never even seen the river despite living within a few miles. For the event, hikers will enjoy the James River with a 3-, 8- or 14-mile loop, departing from the Virginia War Memorial and returning to a family-friendly post-hike celebration with food, live music, and lawn games. Väsen Brewing Company is collaborating with Blue Sky Fund to create an exclusive beer for the month of October that will be featured at the event, with a portion of all sales benefitting the organization.
Online registration is now live for the event – hikers can enjoy special summer rates now until August 31st!
Event participants can hike up their support in getting Richmond’s youth outside by recruiting colleagues to participate as a corporate team, or volunteering to individually raise funds and spread the word about Blue Sky Fund programs in their community, earning outdoor gear prizes along the way. The hike is Blue Sky Fund’s biggest fundraising event of the year, with a goal of raising $50,000, a 42% growth over last year’s event – these funds are essential to the organization expanding its core program from eight to
14 Richmond City Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year. Last year, Hike For Kids raised $35,000 to provide outdoor education programming to almost 2,000 students across Richmond during the 2018-2019 school year.
“We love Blue Sky because it gives our students opportunities to get out to places that they’ve never experienced before. I absolutely love going to Pony Pasture, because the kids get the chance to actually get on the river bank, do a little exploring in the water, take nature hikes – they get a feel for the James River and how mighty it is,” said Tracey Smith, a Chimborazo Elementary School Teacher.
Studies reveal that children are spending half as much time outside today as they did 20 years ago, with just four to seven minutes a day playing freely outside. The outdoors should be a part of every child’s life, as time spent in nature is proven to support positive youth development for urban at-risk children with enhanced cooperation and conflict resolution skills, and increases in self-esteem, problem-solving, and motivation to
“My favorite outdoor activity is hiking by the river, I love going down to Belle Isle and rock hopping and such – I just like being outside and love the way the river sounds. Nature makes me feel so much more relaxed and I become the best version of myself,” said Hannah, a graduate of Blue Sky’s Outdoor Leadership Institute.
The Dominion Energy Hike For Kids is supported by the generous contributions of individual donors and community sponsors, including title sponsor Dominion Energy, along with Capital One, Genworth Financial, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, One Digital, Outdoor Access, Riverside Outfitters, and Vasen Brewing Company.
About Blue Sky Fund
Blue Sky Fund is a non-profit organization providing transformational experiences to Richmond’s urban youth through outdoor education, and aims to give every young person in Richmond the opportunity to discover themselves by actively engaging the natural world. Founded in 2008, Blue Sky Fund has evolved to offer school-based, after-school, weekend, and summer outdoor programming that meets the following goals: help children achieve academic success, especially in the sciences, through active outdoor education that is
appropriate for their current science curriculum; and develop character and leadership through outdoor experiences that expand horizons, increase confidence, and build collaboration skills.
Contact Colvin Hedgepeth, Development Director, for more information at email@example.com or (804) 410-4265.