Outdoor Industry Association began accepting nominations for the 2012 OIA Outdoor Inspiration Awards presented by Adidas Outdoor Thursday at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City.

With more people recreating closer to home and a continually expanding need to get Americas youth more engaged in outdoor activities, OIA created the Outdoor Inspiration Awards to recognize and champion those individuals, groups and companies whose efforts inspire others to participate in the great outdoors.

Last year, we received hundreds of nominations for people and groups doing amazing work, said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. We heard from educators, non-profits, retailers and many others who are making it possible for people to learn about and experience outdoor activities. And once again, with our partner adidas Outdoor, we look forward to recognizing a new group of winners.Winners will be selected by a panel of outdoor business and community leaders who will be looking for personal stories of achievement, encouragement and insight that truly stand above the crowd.

The awards celebration will take place January 20, 2012 during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, one of the largest annual gatherings of outdoor-involved companies, attracting thousands of participants from all over the globe.

Its a distinguished accomplishment to be recognized by others as an inspiration, said Greg Thomsen, managing director for adidas Outdoor US, the sponsor behind the OIA Outdoor Inspiration Awards. Though many of the nominees are not household names, their deeds speak volumes and were proud to help celebrate their success.

To submit nominations at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market attendees can stop by the OIA booth (#56000). Nominations can also be submitted online at outdoorindustry.org/inspire. Only those nominations that comply with the submission requirements will be considered.

Nominations are grouped as follows:

Person-employee, volunteer, customer, athlete, teacher, leader, etc. – one person who has motivated and inspired others to enjoy, participate in and support outdoor activities.
Group-community, school, fund raising group, guide service, product development team, sales force – two or more who have come together to get great things done, and get even better things started.
Company-companies can inspire us in much the same way as an individual or group through their dedication to outdoor efforts that have a commercial or business-oriented framework. All companies being considered need to be for-profit entities (i.e. retailer, manufacturer, supplier, etc.).
Individuals and companies selected for the 2012 celebration will join last years winners:

Martin Fox, Center for Global Leadership (Person) is considered to be one of the best leadership educators in the country, weaving the outdoors into a diverse curriculum that focuses on making a difference in the world.
First Descents (Group) is a non-profit group dedicated to giving young cancer survivors a taste of outdoor adventure that helps them look beyond what their bodies are doing to them.
•Mountain Mama (Company) Provides maternity clothing for outdoor recreation and was born from the belief that women who are pregnant or new mothers want to remain active in the outdoor pursuits that they love and want to foster in their children.
REI (Company) has built a successful business engaging consumers in the outdoors who, in turn, reinvest again and again working with REI team members all across the country to gear-up, get advice, experience new adventures, and even travel around the world with REI Adventures.
Nominations are being accepted at outdoorindustry.org/inspire until 6 pm (Mountain) on December 16, 2011.