The non-profit hopes to create new avenues for support, enabling them to connect more young people with the transformative power of the outdoors.
SAN DIEGO, Cal (May 3, 2021) – In celebration of National Great Outdoors Month, Outdoor Outreach – the San Diego-based non-profit that introduces youth from under-resourced communities to the transformative power of the outdoors – is proud to announce its inaugural national #OUTDOORSFORALL campaign. The social media campaign aims to bring attention to the key issues the organization addresses with their work – that outdoor access is a critical resource for physical and mental health, and everyone has the right to experience and benefit from outdoor recreation.
Throughout the month of June, the Outdoor Outreach community – including past/present program participants, leaders, athletes, and brand partners – will share personal stories regarding the positive impact the outdoors has had in their life, and the importance of removing the various barriers to entry for youth, particularly those from Southeast San Diego, CA. A survey of Outdoor Outreach participants found that 44% were unaware of green spaces near their home prior to joining the organization, illustrating the barriers to entry for outdoor recreation vary, but many are attainable to overcome.
“For the kids we work with—who have been affected by things like poverty, homelessness, neighborhood violence, substance abuse, and more—connection to outdoor spaces can be transformational.” said Annie Sawyer, Senior Director of Development at Outdoor Outreach. “Every chance to bike, surf, kayak, or climb with Outdoor Outreach is so much more than a fun day outside with their friends. It’s a chance to explore their world and discover new strengths they didn’t know they were capable of. For some, it’s a chance to get away from the very adult responsibilities or trauma they face at home, and just be a kid for a while. Most importantly, it’s a chance to connect with a community of friends and reliable adult mentors who believe in them and show them that they matter.”
“I remember my very first trip with Outdoor Outreach to Mount San Jacinto,” recalled program participant, Ivonne. “I was shy, and didn’t know anyone on the trip. On the ride up, I told myself I wasn’t going to talk to anyone. That plan changed when I arrived and saw snow for the first time. I was in shock. It was an unbelievable experience that required stepping out of my comfort zone. Returning to the van, I realized I had talked to almost everyone. That felt good.”
“Outdoor Outreach is changing the way young people connect to the outdoors through a hyper-inclusive, empathy-driven and youth-centered approach,” said Hannah Abuzaineh, Senior Manager, Social Impact & The Explore Fund at The North Face. “Their community of young leaders inspire youth to challenge the unspoken narrative that outdoor spaces are not for “people like me” and to find their own personal meaning through exploration. We’re proud of our over decade-long partnership with Outdoor Outreach and grateful to share in a vision of exploration for more young people in the outdoors.”
“Our goal with this campaign is to create national awareness about Outdoor Outreach and create new avenues for support so we can connect more young people to the power of the outdoors,” said Sawyer. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of outdoor access as a critical resource for mental and physical health and the inequities across racial and socio-economic groups, so reaching more kids through these programs is more important than ever.”
Outdoor Outreach encourages everyone in the outdoor community to participate in the campaign by sharing their own stories of how the outdoors has positively impacted their life on social media, using the hashtag #OUTDOORSFORALL and tagging @OutdoorOutreach.
For more information, please contact Maro LaBlance at [email protected].
ABOUT OUTDOOR OUTREACH
Since 1999, Outdoor Outreach has provided opportunities for more than 16,000 young people to explore their world, challenge themselves, and discover what they’re capable of. From the high cost of gear and a lack of green spaces in their neighborhoods, to a general feeling that they don’t belong, under-resourced communities have long faced barriers to meaningful outdoor access. Outdoor Outreach removes those barriers for thousands of young people each year, inviting youth from under-resourced communities to find meaning, and healing, in outdoor spaces. Learn more at outdooroutreach.org.