CONTESTS

Excellence in Craft Contest

NOTE: The EIC contest site is now live! Click here for complete guidelines and to apply. 

OWAA’s annual Excellence in Craft (EIC) Contest allows the association’s members to enter their best works from the previous year. There are multiple categories for various media and subject matter and each category is judged by an independent and expert panel. Winners are announced during the annual conference, where certificates and cash prizes are awarded.

The entry process for the EIC Contest begins in mid-November and is managed by OWAA Supporting Group, Submittable.com.  The final book deadline is in early December, while all other media should submit by Jan. 10 (Jan. 31 is the absolute, final deadline for all other media). Click here for complete guidelines and to apply.

Two winners of the OWAA Excellence in Craft award pose with plaques
Photo by Lisa Densmore Ballard

Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards

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 undergraduates in college. 

Entries may be submitted beginning January 15 and must be submitted by March 1 via Submittable.com [that link will be posted soon].

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 previous calendar year (January 1 through December 31.)

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 January 1 of the year 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 the OWAA contest page [a link to which will be posted soon].

10.  Submissions must be made as a PDF document. The following format should be used for filenames: Contest division (H = high school, C = college), author’s first and last names and title. (Example: Jane Smith, age 17 and in high school, submits an essay titled “My First Hunt.” The filename should read H_Smith_Jane_My First Hunt.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 August 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.

18.  Questions are welcome and should be directed to info@owaa.org.

Prize structure:

1st – $200, OWAA Student membership ($25 value) inclusion in press release

2nd – $100, OWAA Student membership ($25 value) inclusion in press release

3rd – $50, OWAA Student membership ($25 value) inclusion in press release

CONTEST SPONSORSHIPS

Excellence in Craft Contests

Show your support and associate your company’s brand with excellence in outdoor communications. EIC awards are given in several media and subject categories and represent OWAA members’ very best work. Your benefits can include:

  • Podium time at the annual conference’s EIC Award Party (for full sponsors)
  • Company representative invited to attend, be acknowledged and present awards to contest winners at OWAA’s annual conference
  • Photo opportunities with contest winners at ceremony
  • Sponsor recognition in OWAA’s bimonthly magazine
  • Sponsor logo featured on the EIC page of the OWAA website
  • Sponsor inclusion in press releases announcing contest winners

Full sponsorship costs $4,400 while a multiple-brand co-sponsorship is $2,200.

For details and specific benefit levels, please review the OWAA Contest Sponsorship Information. Contact OWAA headquarters at info@owaa.org for current availability.

Two rows of winners of the OWAA Excellence in Craft award pose with plaques
A young girl fishes from an inflatable raft
Photo by Lisa Densmore Ballard

Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards

To encourage young writers in communicating the outdoor experience, annual cash awards are offered as part of the OWAA Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards. Sample benefits include:

  • Sponsor recognition in OWAA’s bimonthly magazine
  • Sponsor logo featured on the youth writing awards page of the OWAA website
  • Sponsor inclusion in press releases announcing contest winners

Full sponsorship costs $2,200 while a multiple-brand co-sponsorship is $1,100.

For details and specific benefit levels, please review the OWAA Contest Sponsorship Information. Contact OWAA headquarters at info@owaa.org for current availability.

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