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A4 open for nominations



Article Published: Feb. 20 | Modified: Feb. 20
A4 open for nominations


In conjunction with the popular Banff Mountain Film Festival and to help celebrate the 18th annual screening of its world tour stop in Boone, Appalachian State University Outdoor Programs has announced the third annual Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award, otherwise known as A4.

According to Rich Campbell, associate director for ASU Outdoor Programs, “The A4 was created to identify and celebrate the High Country’s talented mountain sports athletes and role models.”

As such, Campbell said, the A4 initiative recognizes individuals who excel in their mountain sport (skiing, snowboarding, climbing, cross country or trail running, biking, kayaking, mountaineering/backpacking, adventure racing, etc.), are elevating the status of their sport in the High Country community, exemplify the outdoor lifestyle, are valued role models and/or mentors, contribute to social or environmental awareness of the area and are excellent ambassadors to some aspect of the High Country outdoor community.

Individuals may be nominated in one of two age categories: 17 and younger and 18 to 24 years old (as of March 30). Nominations are due by March 7.

“The A4 initiative and getting youth outdoors is important from health and wellness, economic and environmental perspectives,” Campbell said. “The trend toward a growing separation from nature is not only unhealthy from a physical perspective, it’s also unhealthy from a mental and spiritual standpoint. If our future decision-makers have no physical connection to our natural resources, they will be unprepared to make wise policy and budget decisions about them.”

A4 attempts to positively inspire more youth to adopt a healthy, supportive and active outdoor lifestyle, Campbell said, for their current and future wellbeing. “We also want to acknowledge young people and their passion and pursuits so that our community can celebrate them while inspiring others to join them in living active, healthy and adventurous lives,” Campbell said.

The award was inspired by the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, which presents the Banff Mountain Film Festival and its subsequent world tour.

“They created a Mountain Idol award for young people in their community, and we loved the idea,” Campbell said. “After talking with their award coordinators, we came up with our own version specific to young people here in the High Country. The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture was very supportive of our efforts and noted that they are not aware of any other community who is doing anything like it.”

The 2012 winners of the A4 were Levi Marland in the 17 and younger category and Zach Silberman in the 18- to 24-year-old category.

There is a simple online form to nominate someone, and nominations are free of charge. Nominees must currently reside or attend school in the geographic area known as the High Country of North Carolina (Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties). Individuals can be nominated over successive years, but can only receive the A4 for their age category once. A4 winners will receive a prize package from project sponsors and will be formally recognized at the Boone screenings of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour on March 28 and 29.

Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is the presenting partner for the 2014 A4, and Outdoor Research is a lead sponsor for the event. Additional supporters include Appalachian Ski Mountain, Earth Fare and Misty Mountain Threadworks.

“Due to the generosity of these local businesses, we will have very generous prize packages for the A4 winners in each respective category,” Campbell said. “We are also working with other businesses and organizations to help publicize this initiative and add to the already existing packages for these young people.”

For more information about the A4, to nominate someone and for more information about Banff, visit http://www.op.appstate.edu.

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