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May 2017 Entry

Outdoor Adventures for Underserved Communities

Denny McFadden
Cincinnati · Ohio
What is your cause and how will it make the world kinder?

Our mission has always been to get more urban teens out into nature for healthy outdoor recreation, education, and conservation opportunities at no expense to participants. A growing body of research supports sustained interaction with the natural world as an integral component to the physical, mental, and developmental health of children. Unfortunately, youth in underserved communities do not enjoy the same access to outdoor experiences as their peers. Since 2012, our organization has worked to eliminate financial and logistical challenges associated with outdoor recreation and improve access to adventure for teens (grades 6-12) in the Greater Cincinnati region. Now, with a little extra help, we’re hoping to get their loved ones involved!

How will you use the $10k?

While most of our adventures cost less than $25 per participant, a typical month with 300 outdoor experiences adds up quickly. Additional funding would allow us to invite another 100 participants each month for a period of five months. These spaces would be reserved for the guests of club members, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the transformation of their young adventurer. Approximately $8,250 would cover activity fees, including equipment rental and venue admission, for new participants to bike, hike, kayak, rock climb, ski, snowboard, swim, and more. The remaining $1,750 would provide additional healthy meals. This all-inclusive approach to programming allows participants to focus on fun instead of funds.

What impact do you hope to make?

The outdoor opportunities available to youth in underserved communities are disproportionately influenced by financial limitations, logistical challenges, safety concerns, and access to suitable recreation sites. By partnering with schools whose populations are comprised primarily of low-income students or students of color, we are able to target those underserved communities and improve their access to outdoor recreation. Although we have already had a few years of success with our current mission, we believe including parents, guardians, older siblings, or adult mentors of club members will further reinforce the positive impact of the natural world on youth that adventure too often leaves behind.

Other Details

Our journey begins in January 2017, with the start of our spring adventure programming. New literature will be sent home with club members, inviting a guest to come along. Our staff will make arrangements to accommodate these larger groups. Over the course of the next four months, each participant and their guest will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a brand new way. Having recently surpassed our milestone of 5,000 adventures, our spring adventures will likely push our organization to nearly 8,000 adventures – well on our way to 10,000 adventures by the end of 2017. As we wrap up our spring programming at the end of May, we hope to have included a guest for every adventurer during at least one of our adventure weekends.

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