Thirty-eight mothers and their children from the local chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc. will take to the Mississippi River in canoes on Saturday, October 2, as part of the first annual Thrive Outside Day celebration in St. Louis.

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is an organization of mothers dedicated to raising the next generation of African-American leaders while enhancing the lives of all children.

Thrive Outside is a national program funded by the Outdoor Industry Association Outdoor Foundation that’s focused on reversing the declining trend of outdoor engagement by working at the grassroots level, empowering communities to make outdoor recreation an accessible lifestyle for all.

In May 2021, St. Louis became one of just eight US cities to receive a multiyear grant from the Thrive Outside Initiative.

This generous grant will support and expand operations of River City Outdoors (RCO), a new program creating a vibrant outdoor culture and brand in the Greater St. Louis region by connecting the community to the outdoors. RCO has begun building The Thrive Outside St. Louis network, a collaborative network of community stakeholders dedicated to making outdoor recreational opportunities more accessible and equitable.

“We’re excited to celebrate Thrive Outside Day with the St.Louis chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc.,” said Rachel Bartels, founding advisor of Thrive Outside St. Louis. “This Is just the first of many events that will allow us to collaborate with and support other great organizations that help connect St. Louisans with our incredible local rivers, lakes, trails, and parks.”

The inaugural Thrive Outside Day celebration will span nine river miles, beginning at the Chain of Rocks and finishing at the Gateway Arch National Park.

For more information about Thrive Outside Day and Thrive Outside St. Louis, email