Introducing the A4

Article Published: Feb. 3, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

In conjunction with the popular Banff Mountain Film Festival, and to help celebrate the 15th annual screening of the World Tour, Appalachian State University Outdoor Programs is announcing the inaugural Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award, or A4.

The A4 was created to identify and celebrate the High Country's mountain young sports stars and role models. The A4 initiative will recognize 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 under, and 18 to 24 years old (as of March 18, 2011).

The A4 initiative and getting youth outdoors is important from health and wellness, economic and environmental perspectives.

Through the A4, organizers are trying to positively inspire more youth to adopt a healthy, supportive and active outdoor lifestyle, for their current and future wellbeing. Organizers also want to acknowledge young people and their passion and pursuits so that the local community can celebrate them, while inspiring others to join them in living active, healthy and adventurous lives.

"We wanted to find a way to celebrate young people who are doing great things in our mountain community, so we created this award," said Rich Campbell, associate director of ASU Outdoor Programs. "Once again, we found inspiration from the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture who developed the World Tour, which has become so popular in our community. They created a Mountain Idol award for young people in their community, and we loved the idea. 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 ... was very supportive of our efforts and noted that they are not aware of any other community who is doing anything like it."

There is a simple online form to nominate someone and it does not cost anything to nominate.

Nominees must currently reside or attend school in the counties of Watauga, Avery and Ashe. Individuals can be nominated over successive years, but can only receive the A4 for their age category once.

A4 winners will receive a generous prize package from project sponsors and will be formally recognized at the Boone screenings of the Banff Film Festival on April 1 and 2. Organizers will recognize the 17 and under A4 winner on April 1 and the 18 to 24 year old A4 winner on April 2.

Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is a presenting partner for the 2011 A4 and Appalachian Ski Mountain and Misty Mountain Threadworks are sponsors for this event.

"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."

Dr. Scott St. Clair of Blue Ridge Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is excited that his practice is the presenting partner for the inaugural A4 award.

"This award promotes the importance of outdoor recreation, leadership skills and community involvement," he said. "These are the same values that we hope to encourage in our patients."

For more information about the A4, to nominate someone, or for more information about the Banff Film Festival, click to

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