Monday was such a beautiful day, and we couldn’t help but smile when opening an email from our friends at Northwest Maritime Center.

You might recall that NMC is the outfit that created and organized the Race To Alaska, the non-motor, no-support watercraft competition between Washington state and Ketchikan that, like so many things during the pandemic, was canceled in 2020 and 2021.

But NMC is involved in a variety of other maritime endeavors — including working as a partner in Seattle’s new Maritime High School. And its email highlighted that the State of Washington had provided grant funding for five-day sailing and science expeditions for the Maritime High School’s incoming class of ninth graders. Great opportunity for what sounds to be a great program.

So what brought the smile? The name of Washington state’s grant program: No Child Left Inside.

What a terrific phrase to see on a blue-sky day in Ketchikan. School’s out for the summer, we reside in a place with tremendous outdoor recreation potential, and few places are as beautiful — especially when the sun’s shining. It’s terrific to see Ketchikan youth out enjoying the outdoors. We’d like to see even more.

We’re grateful for the organized sports, scouting and other outdoor opportunities that are available. Over time, we’ve enjoyed hearing about Native culture camps, kayak training, and the many folks who participate in recreational boating and fishing activities that involve youth. It’s great to see kids at the skate park, on the trails, shooting hoops in the driveways and riding bikes in the neighborhoods. A chalked-up hopscotch grid is sidewalk art.

It’s marvelous that Washington state’s No Child Left Inside grant program provides “under-served youth with quality opportunities to experience the natural world.” We know Alaska is having budget difficulties, but a funding opportunity with a similar spirit could be put to beneficial use in this state and in our community. We appreciate the entities that already involved in this manner.

Ultimately, our youth can benefit from getting outside, playing in and learning about the world just beyond the door. May the summer of 2021 be one in which no child is left inside.