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Through its Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards, the Outdoor Writers Association of America® rewards budding writers who communicate about the outdoors. Prizes are awarded to winners in grades 11-12 and in college.

Entries may be submitted beginning September 1 and must be submitted by January 31.

Norm Strung Youth Writing Contest Rules

1. By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules.

2. Entries must have been created during the calendar year (January 1 through December 31) preceding the submission deadline.

3. No entry fee is required, and copyrights to the work remain the property of the author. Winning works may be used by Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) to promote education and youth outdoor communication efforts. The author’s name will appear with any such use. By entering this competition, each entrant also grants OWAA the use of the entrants' names, headshots, and limited biographical information for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes. For individuals under 18 years old, the individual's parent or guardian must grant this permission. Winners will also be displayed on the OWAA website, in the Outdoors Unlimited magazine, other publications, and social media.

4. High School Category: During some or all of the calendar year prior to entering the Contest, the author must have been a student in grades 11-12 (including prep school) to enter the high school division. These are based on U.S. grade categories. Home schooled or international students who are unsure of their grade should choose an appropriate category based on where the student would be placed if attending public school in the United States. Students who are taking college classes concurrently as they are taking high school classes (dual enrolled) should enter the high school contest.

5. College Category: Participants must be currently enrolled in a two- or four-year college, community college, or university (full time or part time) to be eligible to enter the college category, and be under the age of 25 on the day they enter the contest. Students should not already possess a four-year degree or higher.

6. Students may enter one piece of writing between 500 and 1,000 words in length, typed, and double-spaced.

7. Any prose form is acceptable.

8. Each entry must be original work of the entrant, and have an outdoor theme. Examples of appropriate outdoor themes include: nature, ecology, hiking, camping, biking, surfing, boating, canoeing, fishing, hunting, etc. Organized athletics such as football and baseball are not eligible subject matters and will be grounds for disqualification.

9. Submissions will be made through https://owaa.submittable.com/submit/151845/owaa-norm-strung-youth-writing-awards

10. Submissions must be made as a PDF document. The following format should be used for filenames:

a. Contest division (H = high school, C = college)

b. Author’s first and last names

c. Title. (Example: Jane Smith, age 17 and in high school, submits an essay titled “My First Catch.” The filename should read H_Smith_Jane_My First Catch.pdf.)

11. Additional information will be required during the submission process, including: the author’s school, age, grade, mailing address, email address, telephone number, supervising teacher or professor, and name/date of the publication in which the work appeared or contest the work won, if applicable. Students will also be asked to upload a headshot of themselves.

12. All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.

13. Entries will be judged by professional outdoor writers. The decisions of the judges are entirely their own and are final and binding. Entries will be judged on effectiveness in communicating ideas, grammar, creativity, and originality relating to an outdoor theme as listed above.

14. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Inappropriate content as determined by the judges will result in disqualification.

15. Prize winners or entries from local and state outdoor writing contests are encouraged to submit their entries for the OWAA contests. Previously published work is encouraged if the entrant retained the copyright, but the entries must be amateur/unpaid efforts, with the exception of having won a prize in a different contest. The purpose of this contest is to encourage up-and-coming outdoor communicators, not to recognize professional efforts. Professional (paid) work may be entered in the separate Excellence in Craft contest, available to OWAA members.

16. OWAA will announce the winners by May 31. OWAA reserves the right to reprint the winning entries and photographs of authors in its publications, including Outdoors Unlimited®; on its website and on its social media accounts.

17. Winners of the contest will be given additional consideration when applying for the Bodie McDowell Scholarship and are highly encouraged to do so.

Prize structure:

· 1st - $200

· 2nd - $100

· 3rd - $50

Each winner will receive a yearlong OWAA Student Membership ($25 value), have their name included in a nationally distributed press release and have their story included in OWAA’s magazine Outdoors Unlimited.

Your first step is to create a FREE Submittable account, which allows you access to access the Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards application. Entries must be submitted on this form. Mail-in and email submissions are no longer accepted. (If you experience technical difficulties completing this form, please contact support@submittable.com or info@owaa.org.)

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.