MISSOULA, Mont. – Three young outdoorspeople will have help getting outdoors thanks to scholarships provided by Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Aidan Long Outdoors for All scholarship.
Established in early 2022, BHA’s Outdoors for All scholarship assists young people with disabilities access outdoors experiences by providing adaptive equipment or outdoor education. The scholarship, open to anyone ages 10-20, mitigates the expense of outdoor recreation and conservation education and expands experiences and opportunities for people with disabilities.
The 2022 awardees include the following:
- a young paddler from Idaho who is using Outdoors for All scholarship funds to purchase a tandem kayak so he can paddle with his parents
- a senior in high school from British Columbia who will be able to access trails this summer thanks to her new tandem bicycle purchased with scholarship funds
- an enthusiastic aspiring outdoorsman from Idaho who will be able to spend his first night camping in a tent far away from home thanks to a solar powered battery charger for his ventilator
The Outdoors for All scholarship was established through a generous donation by MeatEater and friends and family of Aidan Long. In the months following its formation, it generated more than $30,000 in funds. In 2022, a total of $2,000 was disbursed.
Ryan Callaghan, conservation director at MeatEater and a member of BHA’s North American board of directors, stated, “On behalf of MeatEater, we are humbled to help seed the Aidan Long Youth scholarship that will help so many grow in the outdoors.”
Aidan Nichols Long, 2004-2021, loved life and nature every day. Growing up in Montana his best times included camping, canoeing and fishing with his mom and dad, Karen Nichols and Ben Long. Despite catastrophic epilepsy, Aidan remained a joyful explorer of the natural world. The Outdoors for All Scholarship is a tribute to his joy by leveling the playing field for young people to enjoy exploring the outdoors.
“While Karen and I remain heartbroken over the loss of Aidan, we are gratified to see other young people enjoying the outdoors as much as he did,” said Ben Long, a former co-chair of BHA’s board and recipient of BHA’s Mike Beagle Award. “Everyone deserves to spend time outdoors, and we thank BHA and donors for helping young people with disabilities live their fullest lives.”
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