Outdoor Outreach

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Connecting Youth...
to the transformative power of the outdoors.
We use the outdoors to inspire youth to see possibility and opportunity
in their lives and realize the positive attitude and behavioral changes
that help them becomehappy, healthy, and successful adults.
The Experience, The Relationship, The Change.
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Outdoor Outreach

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Mission and Vision

Outdoor Outreach connects young people to the transformative power of nature and the outdoors and helps them realize the positive attitude and behavioral changes that enable them to become happy, healthy, and successful adults. Youth everywhere will be inspired by the outdoors to play, learn, serve and share.

Outdoor Outreach believes in building on the natural strengths that young people already possess. They make sure that participation is always by choice and presented in a fun, safe and respectful environment. They believe in caring for youth without an agenda and they believe in seeing the potential in people and situations, and in the power of new outdoor experiences. Outdoor Outreach sets the highest standards for quality and safety in everything they do.

The majority of the young people in the programs come from low-income communities and they have very few opportunities to experience natural parks and open-space areas before joining the Outdoor Outreach programs.


Connecting Youth to the Transformative Power of the Outdoors

Car Donation to Charity Outdoor Outreach

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

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A World of Possibility from the Outside

Program Overview

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.

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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.

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Partner Program

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.

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Military Program

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.

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Leadership Program

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.

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Youth Development

Outdoor experiences form the foundation of our youth development programs.

Outdoor Outreach provides comprehensive, year-round outdoor programming for youth in San Diego. By introducing participants to the outdoors through exciting and joy-filled activities, OO inspires undeserved youth to see possibility and opportunity in their lives, and realize various positive attitude and behavioral changes that help them become successful adults.

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Environmental Stewardship

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.

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Civic Engagement

Outdoor Voices Youth Leadership Initiative is a component of the Leadership Program that seeks to educate, train, and mobilize San Diego youth as advocates for improving park and outdoor access for all Californians.

With support from our youth advocates, Outdoor Outreach strives to inform local and state decision makers on the barriers some communities face to accessing outdoor spaces, and encourage them to make policy decisions that support opportunities for all communities to get outside.

Outdoor Outreach Outdoor Voices participants have the opportunity to partake in 25 advocacy trainings and events each year to inform decision makers about the importance of connecting all communities with the outdoors. For many, it is their first opportunity to speak with elected and agency officials and advocate for their communities.

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Job Training

Through Outdoor Outreach’s Leadership Program, 8 participants each year have the opportunity to develop leadership skills through professional outdoor education that can position them for new career possibilities.

With support from our youth advocates, Outdoor Outreach strives to inform local and state decision makers on the barriers some communities face to accessing outdoor spaces, and encourage them to make policy decisions that support opportunities for all communities to get outside.

Outdoor Outreach Outdoor Voices participants have the opportunity to partake in 25 advocacy trainings and events each year to inform decision makers about the importance of connecting all communities with the outdoors. For many, it is their first opportunity to speak with elected and agency officials and advocate for their communities.


Their Stories

Abby

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Abby grew up isolated from her peers because of her family’s economic and immigration status. “I grew up knowing I didn’t have the same opportunities as others. I had never experienced jumping in a wave, or building a sandcastle, or what a sunburn felt like. While Continue Reading…

Pedro

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Pedro grew up in Southeast San Diego and experienced gang violence for the first time when he was just 5 years old. “I tried to cope with trauma by ignoring it and not talking about it. But sooner or later, it would catch up to me. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I would Continue Reading…

Ivonne

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Ivonne’s life has been colored by her undocumented status. She was constantly told no, that she had to stay indoors. “I would hear my friends making plans for the weekend knowing I couldn’t go along. I would also hear how excited they were to visit their families but Continue Reading…

Refrain

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Refrain was in his sophomore year of high school, looking for his authentic self, when he found Outdoor Outreach’s Crawford High School Adventure Club. “I didn’t have a lot of friends, and I didn’t know who I was or who I should be. I became isolated, and I lost hope Continue Reading…


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.