T3 Founders Win L.L.Bean Outdoor Heroes Award
Our founders, Carol & Bob Leone, were awarded L.L.Bean's Outdoor Heroes Award 2011. The L.L.Bean Outdoor Heroes® program was developed to thank those who have dedicated their time to help conserve, educate and honor the outdoors. These are people who may not make the front-page news, but who change the world around us for the better. The Leones received thousands of votes nationwide.
Read their story & watch their short video on L.L.Bean's website.
The Leones moved to Maine 20 years ago to spend every weekend exploring outdoors with their two daughters. They lost their younger daughter Sara in a car accident in 2005. Teens To Trails grew from that tragedy. See photos of Carol & Bob working on T3 & Leone family photos on Flickr.
“Losing Sara was devastating” shares Carol Leone. “It felt important all of a sudden to put our energy into something worthwhile - to try to make a difference. Teens To Trails grew from our concern over the growing disconnect between young people & nature. Sara's love of life, her passion and compassion stemmed from her many outdoor experiences. Bob & I found strength in our own ties to the natural world & we are constantly boosted by wonderful memories of family time spent outdoors. Teens need these outdoor experiences to provide roots to this world and to see them through the hard times.”
“Of course, it’s not just the two of us,” says Bob Leone, “but a dedicated group of volunteers including experienced Outing Club Leaders, teachers & parents who have developed this Teens To Trails initiative.”
T3 has developed a variety of programs that promote and support Outing Clubs across the State. Through fundraising efforts, Teens To Trails has provided grants to assist over 40 high schools with their Outing Club programs. The T3 biennial spring “Life Happens Outside!” Conference events have brought outdoor experts together with hundreds of teens to inspire interest in the outdoors. Teens To Trails has partnered with the National Park Service to co-sponsor a weekend rendezvous for Maine Outing Clubs to camp and cook and explore the trails in Acadia National Park. Eleven high schools are already signed up to participate in the second Acadia Rendezvous planned for next October. Teens To Trails is making a difference.
“Teens need outdoor experiences. Their health and happiness depend on it,” explains the Leone couple. “We dedicate all our efforts on Teens To Trails to Sara and those special people willing to share with teens their passion for the outdoors.”