A win-win with profound benefits, exploring the outdoors gets kids off the couch and off the streets, serving to combat obesity, gang involvement, drug/alcohol use, and other unhealthy behaviors. We focus on serving low-income, predominantly minority, at-risk adolescents- those living in greater Chicago’s dangerous, high need, disadvantaged communities; those without positive parental/family support; those without educational/extra-curricular opportunities; and those struggling in some way. Our intent is to not only expose inner-city youth to the natural world around them, but to guide them on their journey to productive adulthood.
Engaging youth in experiential activities such as rock climbing, canoeing, biking, caving, backpacking and more, teaches them the importance of teamwork, of acting responsibly, and of communicating respectfully. Many participating youth have never been out on the water - let alone, actively paddled in a canoe. We work with each teen to confront their fears, embrace a challenging and strenuous activity, accept and work with their peers, and ultimately, feel an extraordinary sense of pride, growth and accomplishment - things that you simply can’t put a price tag on.