ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has selected Albuquerque as one of the first 50 cities to participate in first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Outside” initiative.
As a result, the American Express Foundation will provide two years of funding to the YMCA of Central New Mexico to create a community coordinator position in Albuquerque and increase participation in outdoor programs on public lands.
Assistant Secretary of Land Minerals Management Janice Schneider congratulated Mayor Richard Berry and the city of Albuquerque on the selection during a news conference Thursday morning.
“Because of your leadership and the work that this community has done to get young people outdoors and connected to nature, the secretary of the interior is proud to select Albuquerque as part of a national (movement) in preparing the next generation of outdoor stewards,” Schneider said.
President of the Central New Mexico YMCA Zizi Fritz also joined Berry and Schneider at the news conference.
All three individuals emphasized a collaboration at the local, state and national level as well as with nonprofit agencies and private businesses.
The Interior Department says it carries out the “Let’s Move! Outside” initiative by working with private groups and other government agencies. The mission of the initiative is to inspire millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work outdoors, according to its website.
“We’ve got tremendous partners in the community, we’ve got tremendous partners in the federal government, and we have tremendous partners on the state side,” Berry said.
In addition to the initiative funds, Schneider announced grants totaling $171,000 awarded to organizations throughout New Mexico by the Department of Interior.
Seven youth groups were present at the conference, including the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, the Bosque Youth Corps and the YMCA Teen Camp. The kids and teens immediately began to work on repairing the bosque area after the conference.