Mission and Vision
Since 1999, Outdoor Outreach has connected more than 17,000 young people with the transformative power of the outdoors. With every opportunity to hike, bike, kayak, or climb, the youth in our programs gain two things that greatly increase their chances of success:
First, opportunities to share new experiences, explore their world, and discover what they’re capable of. And second, a meaningful connection with a support system of peers and mentors who believe in them and who show them that they matter.
2022 Highlight Video
20th Anniversary video
Connecting Youth to the Transformative Power of the Outdoors
We use the outdoors to inspire youth to see possibility and opportunity in their lives…
…to realize the positive attitude and behavioral changes that help them become happy, healthy, and successful adults.
Our Activities Include
A World of Possibility from the Outside
Outdoor Outreach operates four impactful programs: Adventure Club, Partner, Military, and Leadership.
These programs support youth in San Diego County who may not otherwise have the opportunities to experience outdoor recreation, environmental education, and stewardship activities.
Adventure Club Program
Outdoor Outreach facilitates after- school local Adventure Clubs at three Title I high schools.
Each club has approximately 50 members, and members have the opportunity to attend over 40 outdoor outings throughout the year.
The majority of participants in these clubs have little or no prior exposure to the outdoors; for many, these outings represent opportunities to try and accomplish things they never thought possible, like surfing their first wave in Coronado, or reaching new heights while rock climbing at Dixon Lake.
Outdoor Outreach is a resource to more than 30 schools and community-based organizations working with youth and their families.
We tailor our partnerships for maximum impact, customizing fee-for-service outings and programs to fit the needs of each group. With our partner programs, we invest in each participant’s development and growth.
The Military Program provides San Diego youth from active-duty military families with the opportunity to engage in safe, positive, and fun outdoor activities.
One youth shared his experience about his favorite part of their trip, “The fact that the instructors and volunteers got involved and actually participated with us. I loved making new friends and doing new things.”
Outdoor Outreach has provided 107 outdoor recreation, education and environmental stewardship activities for more than 330 individual military youth since 2012.
The Leadership Program is the cornerstone of our organization.
Through an application and interview process, we select promising teens from our other two programs to participate in an 8-week intensive summer program training that provides them with the skills necessary to instruct and mentor program participants. The program promotes each individual’s natural leadership strengths while providing tangible academic, emotional and social support. After completing their training, candidates teach and mentor their peers through a paid internship. We continue to monitor these young leaders as they balance their part-time jobs at Outdoor Outreach, college classes, financial independence and the challenges of moving into the world as working adults.
Positive Youth Development
Our overarching purpose is to support critical needs of youth from under-resourced communities through meaningful outdoor experiences and mentorship. Outdoor Outreach’s adventure-based program model provides youth with tools, support systems, and confidence to face down their unique challenges, thrive, and succeed.
We believe that with each chance to surf, bike, hike or kayak, we’re also giving youth a reason and opportunity to care about nature.
Leave No Trace helps reinforce our mission, reminding us to respect the places where we play so future generations can enjoy those places, too. We lead by example, teaching youth to respect themselves, others, and the environment by demonstrating that same respect in our words and actions. We embrace the core principles of Leave No Trace on every program we provide, allowing each young person to discover how those principles can be applied to the world around them.
Building on those stepping stones of engagement, we provide opportunities for hundreds of youth every year to participate in hands-on environmental education and stewardship during out-of-school time. Through projects like trail maintenance and native species planting, we’re providing opportunities for urban youth to find, appreciate and care for nature, and to make a difference in their communities and beyond.
Our intensive, nature-based job training program connects participants with pathways to employment in the outdoor industry and beyond. This type of early work experience has been shown to help young people graduate from high school, attain higher levels of education, avoid substance abuse, and develop a sense of self-efficacy and desire to succeed.
Outdoor Outreach youth advocates inform local, state, and federal decision makers on the barriers some youth face in accessing outdoor spaces, and encourages them to make policy decisions that support outdoor opportunities for all. Outdoor Outreach participants have the opportunity to partake in several advocacy trainings and events each year.
A World of Possibilities
The youth of Outdoor Outreach share what the program means to them and how they are now living out their dreams.
The Station Camp Winter Youth Summit Project
This project was made possible by a grant from Outdoor Nation. Under the leadership of Outdoor Nation Ambassador Juan H. Alvarez and Outdoor Outreach, 24 San Diego youth attended a four-day snow boarding and mini-youth summit at The Station Camp in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
Source: Some images, text and videos are the property and copyright of Outdoor Outreach.
*We only accept Car donations from California.