Chicago Inspiring Connections OutdoorsChicago Inspiring Connections Outdoors
Chicago Inspiring Connections Outdoors is part of the National Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), an outreach program of the Sierra Club. ICO offers hiking and camping trips, boating and skiing outings, environmental service projects and other out... Read more
Chicago Inspiring Connections Outdoors is part of the National Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), an outreach program of the Sierra Club. ICO offers hiking and camping trips, boating and skiing outings, environmental service projects and other outdoor adventures to young people who might not otherwise have access to these experiences.
T he Sierra Club San Francisco Bay chapter established the first ICO group in 1971. Today, a dedicated core of volunteer leaders located in approximately 50 cities across the United States work with local social service agencies and schools to provide wilderness experiences for people who otherwise might not have them.
With the guidance of ICO volunteer leaders, participants discover the beauty of wild lands and how to enjoy these places without harming them. Young people learn valuable survival skills and develop the ability to face challenges outside their urban environments. Interpersonal skills and self-esteem grow as a natural result of teamwork and an active relationship with the outdoors.
ICO does its own fundraising to provide these activities at little or no cost to the participants
ICO is a great group of volunteers who want to share a love of the outdoors with inner city youth. The volunteers are diverse in age and background, but they all find ICO outings enriching. I have only been to a couple of outings, but I saw kids who were shy at first, respectful, excited, interested, and grateful for the trip and the cameraderie with the volunteers. You can volunteer as little or as much as you like, they are very flexible. I highly recommend it!
I believe that the opportunities given to the ICO participants to explore areas beyond their neighborhoods, gives them well-rounded and memorable experiences, as well as the ability to learn new behaviors. It is a win-win for them since the outings are both educational and fun. The volunteers are a dedicated group of people who unselfishly give their time to make sure that this happens. And the group leaders, especially Colin Tysoe, work tirelessly to make the trips virtually seamless processes and a joy to participate in.