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Building Friendships Through Philanthropy

Outdoor Outreach -- $32,000
Outdoor Outreach Leadership Program

Program Description:

Outdoor Outreach’s Leadership Program provides nature-based job training, early employment, and youth-led advocacy opportunities for young adults from low-income communities and communities that have been historically impacted by social inequities. This program addresses the challenges of youth unemployment, mental health and resilience, and park equity. Our objectives for the 2020-21 year included the following: 

  • Provide 3,000 hours of job training for 24 new participants, including 2,500+ hours for our Summer 2021 cohort (12 participants) and 500+ hours for our Fall 2021 cohort (12 participants specifically impacted by the foster care system);
  • Sustain 16 paid positions at Outdoor Outreach for graduates of the Leadership Program as outdoor instructors and peer mentors for at least 600 youth; and
  • Provide 6 youth-led civic engagement opportunities for participants and graduates of the program. 

 

Results:

Funding from the RSFWF enabled Outdoor Outreach to provide 20 young adults with 300+ hours and a combined 20-weeks of nature-based job training, civic engagement, and early-work experience. Participants developed critical career skills, like communication, leadership, advocacy, and decision making. In addition, support from the RSFWF also allowed us to mobilize 35 youth as outdoor champions through 10 advocacy opportunities across California. 80% of our 2021 Leadership Program participants reported they experienced growth in resilience, with a significant increase in participants’ agreements with following statements between pre- and post-surveys: “I feel proud that I have accomplished things in my life.” “I am friends with myself.” “My life has meaning.” We have also recently hired 5 graduates from the intensive Summer cohort, and 2 graduates from the Fall cohort as Instructors at Outdoor Outreach, thereby helping us to sustain 20 paid positions at Outdoor Outreach for graduates of our Leadership Program. 

Future Plans:

Based on feedback from participants and the community alike, we have decided to shift the Fall 12-week cohort to align with the full 9-month school year. youth. Finally, rather than hosting one cohort specifically for system-impacted and/or foster youth, we We believe that extending this program while utilizing an afterschool and weekend schedule will increase our intended impact with will open up both cohorts to include this especially vulnerable population, to more effectively promote inclusion and community-building among all of the youth that we serve.