It all begins in the backyard, even when you don't have one of your own
Seattle, Wash., and Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Salt Lake City, Utah â€“ Discovering an unknown wilderness near a familiar urban environment and paddling a local waterway begins a path of discovery and stewardship for hundreds of young students in urban areas throughout the United States. Guided by adults who look or think like they do and who understand where the kids come from is the foundation of that meaningful link between kids new to the outdoors and their early wilderness experiences. The Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund's first-year grant awards in 2008 are focusing on the important connection and introduction that mentors make to kids who do not have the opportunity to learn about their own backyard and what is beyond it.
â€œSo many of us began our outdoor experience with someone we could relate to and who made that adventure seem real to us and for us. Those early mentors teach us not only where we can travel to new places outdoors, but often guide us to a new discovery within ourselves. Not only do we want our future generations to appreciate and protect our public lands, we are here to facilitate a journey of inner and outer landscapes to a new generation,â€ said Dennis Madsen, creator of the Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund.
As co-founder/women's designer of prAna clothing, YOLF board member Pam Theodosakis supports a mission of the inner and outer journey found in the climbing and yoga activities served by prAna. â€œJust as we need to climb in a playground and learn our limits vertically, we begin to learn how our life outdoors translates into meeting the urban challenges we face in our daily lives. An outdoor challenge in a mentored environment shares a positive experience beyond the adventures children and teens create for themselves at a computer game, in speeding cars, or trespassing vacant buildings. Channeling those energies into the character-building opportunities is why YOLF has chosen these organizations.â€
Three organizations are new to YOLF's funding cycle in 2008:
â€¢ Chicago Inner City Outings (Chicago, Ill.,) $6,000. Chicago Inner City Outings will receive a $6,000 grant to continue and improve its services to Chicago's African American and Latin urban youth living in the city's south and west sides. Chicago ICO's 2008 goal is to provide at least 20 outings with over 300 children and youth participants working with the Audubon Society, Chicago River Cleanup and outings to nearby forest preserve resources. YOLF funding will help ensure that children will continue to have the opportunity to participate in exciting and inspiring trips that get them outside, while increasing the range and number of trips offered. Funding will go towards food, clothing, equipment and transportation.
â€¢ Metrocenter YMCA/YBOYS Outdoor Adventure Program (Seattle, Wash.,) $12,500. Metrocenter YMCA received a $12,500 grant for its YBOYS Outdoor Adventure Program. For 2008, YBOYS Adventure is seeking to grow and run seven summer adventure expeditions and one spring break rock climbing expedition. YOLF funding is for food, trip supplies and transportation for youth in the Greater Seattle area and recruiting youth leaders from ethnically diverse background to serve as outdoor role models for the youth served in this program.
â€¢ Youth Conservation Corps (Waukegan, lll.,) $12,500. The YCC received a $12,500 grant to enable youth outreach to youth living in the low-income communities of Round Lake Heights, Round Lake Beach and Mundelein, Ill in north suburban Chicago. YOLF dollars would sponsor a crew of five who are residents of these areas, and provide these youth an opportunity they may not otherwise have access to in environmental education and the great outdoors. Additionally, this will increase the diversity of program participants to be more representative of Lake County, Ill.
In addition to reviewing and awarding youth outreach grants to programs with whom YOLF has begun a funding relationship, the YOLF board continues to monitor the effectiveness of grants awarded to programs in previous years. The following organizations continue to receive second- and third-year grants because of the effectiveness of their programs and how they improve with ongoing support from YOLF:
Second year grants are awarded to:
â€¢ Ebony Rose Ski Club (Portland, Ore.,) - $14,000 grant to introduce African American high school students to skiing and snowboarding as part of the youth outreach activities conducted by ERSC.
â€¢ KIT â€“ Kids in Training, Inc. (Cary, NC) - $15,000 grant to provide access to fitness and health programs
â€¢ Chattahoochee Nature Center (Atlanta, Ga.,) - The YOLF grants committee recommends awarding the Chattahoochee Nature Center $10,000 for the annual Paddle Georgia event, held by the Georgia River Network.
â€¢ Rocking the Boat (New York, NY) - The YOLF grants committee recommends awarding Rocking the Boat a $15,000 grant, to support its traditional wooden boatbuilding and on-water education programs
â€¢ Outdoor Outreach (San Diego, Calif.,) - $15,000 grant to continue its core programming work. Programs currently offered include: rock climbing, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking/backpacking, river rafting, camping, surfing and marine science education.
â€¢ Inner City Outings (Seattle, Wash.,) - $15,000 grant to provide outings to inner-city youth from 10 different schools or agencies, including food and transportation.
â€¢ Eden Mill Nature Center (Washington, DC area) - $10,000 grant, to support three programs: Kids in Kayaks, Canoe and Kayak Club, and Teacher and Mentor Training Days for Youth in the Outdoors.
â€¢ Trips for Kids â€“ Metro DC (Washington, DC) - $8,500 grant to continue its core youth nature and biking programs.
Third year grants are awarded to:
â€¢ Appalachian Mountain Club (Boston, Ma.,) - $15,000 for its Youth Opportunities Program (YOP)
â€¢ The Colorado Mountain Club (Denver, Colo.,) - $10,000 to support its Youth Education Program
â€¢ Outward Bound Adventures (Los Angeles, Calif.,) - $15,000 in support of expanding its Get Out and Learn (GOAL) Program
â€¢ Bay Area Wilderness Training (San Francisco, Calif,) - $15,000 to support its Wilderness Leadership Training Program
â€¢ Passages Northwest (Seattle, Wash.,) - $15,000 to support two core programs: Girls Wilderness and Girls Rock
The Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund begins its fourth year of effective outreach to programs around the United States and is supported by generous private donors as well as these outdoor industry leaders: Patagonia, Merrell, REI, Columbia Sportswear, prAna, WL Gore, YoungOne Corporation, Black Diamond, KEEN Footwear, and the VF Corporation. The fund is being administered through the Seattle Foundation (www.seattlefoundation.org), a highly respected and professionally managed community foundation. Grant making is overseen by the Youth Outdoors Legacy Fund advisory board. YOLF was created in 2005 with the vision to engage young people in outdoor recreation while at the same time preparing them to be our future outdoor advocates. To learn more about the foundation and the programs it supports, visit the website at www.youthoutdoorslegacyfund.com. To add your support to YOLF, ontact Dennis Madsen by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.713.1821. ###