This year more than 1,800 Americans will be inspired to explore the great outdoors, thanks to prAna Explorer Grants: a new grant program supported by prAna and administered by the Outdoor Foundation. Through the program, 12 community-based projects will receive $5,000 each – a total of $60,000 – to connect young people to ongoing outdoor experiences.
INSPIRING KIDS TO GET OUTSIDE
With this funding, the 12 non-profit organizations will bring their projects to life and build partnerships that ensure sustainable outdoor recreation program offerings for this community of young people. Through these projects, we hope to engage underserved youth with positive and consistent exposure to the outdoors to help them become more comfortable with and aware of local outdoor play opportunities while learning how to self-organize outdoor outings in the future.
Stay tuned for more from the prAna Explorer Grant Recipients as they put their grants to use and kick their projects off. Learn more about each organization and their project below.
2017 prAna Explorer Grant Recipients
- Betties 3Sixty| Betties4Life After-school Program
- California State University, Northridge Foundation | Re/Connecting People with Parks
- City of Dreams | Outdoor Programming
- Climbing for Life | Climbing for Life
- Environmental Charter High School | Paddle Method SUPKids Camp for Environmental Charter Middle School
- Mount St. Helens Institute | Geo-Girls: Empowering Careers in Field-based Science
- Outdoor Outreach | Outdoor Outreach Adventure Clubs
- Promises2Kids | Camp Connect - Bringing Foster Siblings Together in the Outdoors
- Seven Tepees Youth Program | Seven Tepees Get Outside!
- The Loppet Foundation | Junior Loppet Program
- Three Rivers Park District Foundation | Girls Outdoor Adventure Camp
- Women's Wilderness Institute | Girls Lead for Life
Learn More About Our prAna Explorer Grant Recipients
Read more below for additional info on the organizations and the proposed programs. Be sure to stay tuned for more from these organizations as they put their plans into action.
Betties360 inspires confidence, wellbeing, and community among girls through action sports, outdoor adventures, and life-skills education. Urban middle-school girls attend classes and outings that challenge them to step outside of their comfort zones, take risks in settings structured for success, and redefine what they think they are capable of accomplishing.
BETTIES4LIFE AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM
The prAna Explorer Grant will help fund the fall term of Betties4Life, a free after-school program that enables girls from Title I schools to plan for, prepare for, and engage in sports and outdoor adventures.
100 participants, including 50 youth
Partner: The Circuit Bouldering Gym
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, NORTHRIDGE FOUNDATION
The Re/Connecting People with Parks program facilitates outdoor recreation activities for minorities and under-resourced youth. Monthly programming introduces youth to a variety of water-based activities, such as paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking; and land-based activities, including hiking and camping. Through these outdoor activities, participants get an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while interacting with their peers, their community, and the surrounding natural wonders. These experiences develop participants’ leadership skills and enhance their overall well-being.
RE/CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH PARKS
Thanks to the prAna Explorer Grant, the Re/Connecting People program is helping inspire or re-inspire outdoor enthusiasts, stewards, advocates, and leaders.
150 participants, including 30 youth
Partner: Woodland Hills and Northridge REI
CITY OF DREAMS
San Francisco, CACity of Dreams provides the right mix of innovation, support, and research-backed methods to support youth from challenged neighborhoods and help them realize their potential. They accomplish this by expanding kids’ perspectives and building their developmental assets to help them identify healthy choices and stay away from risky behaviors that keep them from achieving their potential.
In City of Dreams, young people learn and discover by doing, and along the way they acquire a toolkit for solving problems, identifying dreams, setting goals, and resolving conflicts nonviolently. They leave the program as confident, positive young people who can think for themselves and contribute to their own lives and to their communities with practical skills and inspiration.
Thanks to the prAna Explorer Grant, City of Dreams is providing regular outdoor experiential learning events for youth, ages nine to 17, living in public housing in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Community. The learning events range from fishing to hiking, camping to sea kayaking. They are taught by older youth to help create an atmosphere of mentoring and relevancy. Each event focuses on 12 life lessons, such as resilience and integrity. Learning events are offered simultaneously with after-school and summer programming, personal development classes and urban agriculture workforce development seminars. The outdoor experiences reinforce lessons participants learn in these programs while expanding their exposure to new opportunities and establishing a sense of ownership of public lands.
40 participants, including 30 youth
Partners: Touchstone Climbing & Berkeley Ironworks
CLIMBING FOR LIFE
Climbing for Life is a volunteer-run non-profit organization that provides rock climbing experiences for underserved youth. Last year, Climbing for Life enhanced an existing after-school program by adding a five-week climbing course for 30 students.
CLIMBING FOR LIFE AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
This year, with help from a prAna Explorer Grant, Climbing for Life is running after-school climbing programs at five high-need Denver Public Schools. The climbing programs help incentivize students to attend tutoring sessions while promoting teamwork, self-confidence, perseverance, and a capacity to overcome life’s obstacles. Students participate in progressive programming each week to build a foundation of skills at the school sites. Then, they progress to a climbing gym and finally to outdoor climbing sessions at various locations on the Front Range.
90 participants, all youth
Partner: Earth Treks Indoor Climbing Gym
ENVIRONMENTAL CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
The Environmental Charter Middle School is a free, public middle school offering students a small, caring environment that supports their transition from elementary school to high school and promotes environmental awareness. The school believes that when kids fall in love with an ocean sport, they fall in love with the ocean and ultimately, the outdoors. And, kids who love their ocean become ambassadors for taking care of it.
PADDLE METHOD SUP KIDS CAMP
In support of their mission, the Environmental Charter Middle School has partnered with the Paddle Method SUP School to host the SUP Kids Camp, an outdoor education program that teaches kids water safety and environmental education through stand up paddleboarding. Thanks in part to a prAnaEXPLORER grant, 125 middle schools students are attending SUP Kids Camp.
150 participants, including 125 youth
Partners: Manhattan Beach prAna store / Action Water Sports
MOUNT ST. HELENS INSTITUTE
Mount St. Helens Institute is breaking down barriers and empowering girls to pursue outdoor careers in science, technology, education, and math (STEM). The organization’s Geo-Girls program is a week-long geology and technology field camp for middle school girls. The camp provides multi-level interactions with high school females interested in science, female undergraduate and graduate science majors, female middle school science teachers, and professional female researchers. These connections enable girls to increase confidence in their ability to conduct science, and the activities they engage in, like camping and hiking, thus increasing their confidence in the outdoors. Through the experience, campers also learn about careers in geo-sciences, and the opportunities that await them in this field.
GEO-GIRLS: EMPOWERING CAREERS IN FIELD-BASED SCIENCE
With the prAna Explorer Grant, Mount St. Helens Institute will be able to support even more Geo-Girls and inspire outdoor adventures.
56 participants, including 37 youth
Partner: Portland REI
San Diego, CA
From adventure-based outdoors activities to out-of-school time enrichment programs, Outdoor Outreach is creating a space to build positive relationships with peers and mentors; opportunities for participants to be physically active; and the skills, competencies, and coping strategies teens need to be stronger, healthier and more resilient.
OUTDOOR OUTREACH ADVENTURE CLUBS
Thanks to the prAna Explorer Grant, Outdoor Outreach is engaging 250 diverse students from underserved communities through year-round Adventure Club programs at four Title I schools in San Diego, California. Over the impact period from June 1 to November 30, these Adventure Clubs will provide more than 80 opportunities for students to surf, climb, paddle, and more, to promote a strong sense of self, belonging, and resilience within their community and the outdoors.
250 participants, all youth
Partner: Adventure 16
PROMISES2KIDS & CAMP CONNECT
San Diego, CA
Camp Connect, held each summer in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest, helps kids in foster care re-establish sibling bonds in an outdoor learning environment. All too often, when youth enter foster care, they are placed in separate foster homes from their siblings, away from any remnant of a support system. Camp Connect reunites these siblings to explore and learn about each other and the outdoors. On the 161-acre camp, siblings enjoy four days of activities, like horseback riding, swimming, yoga, and zip lining. The natural, active, fun setting helps campers repair and strengthen their relationships, and offers them a chance to bond with positive and supportive adult role models. In addition, youth connect with nature in an enduring way by forming happy memories through the opportunities the camp provides.
CAMP CONNECT - BRINGING FOSTER SIBLINGS TOGETHER IN THE OUTDOORS
The prAna Explorer Grant will help provide access to camp for underserved kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend the camp, and helps get kids who live predominantly in urban environments out into nature.
700 participants, including 450 youth
Partner: Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga Studios
SEVEN TEPEES YOUTH PROGRAM
San Francisco, CA
Seven Tepees’ Get Outside! program creates a meaningful connection between underserved youth and their natural environment through various outdoor outings. For nearly every participant, ages sixth grade and beyond, trips provided by the organization are the first time they are exposed to both outdoor activities and national parks. Through these trips, youth participants build a sense of belonging in the outdoors and have an increased awareness of environmental stewardship, ultimately inspiring a new generation of explorers with a passion for the outdoors.
SEVEN TEPEES GET OUTSIDE!
This year, Seven Tepees’ Get Outside! program is offering 16 day and overnight outdoor trips that include activities like camping, hiking, skiing, kayaking, surfing, and community service learning projects in both state and national parks. With help from a prAna Explorer Grant, these trips and activities are offered at no-cost to youth or their families. Activities and outings take a scaffolded approach, giving each student new experiences each year.
250 participants, all youth
Partner: Sports Basement
THE LOPPET FOUNDATION
The Loppet Foundation’s mission is to create a shared passion for outdoor adventure in the Minneapolis area, especially among under-served youth and families.
JUNIOR LOPPET PROGRAMA
prAna Explorer Grant is supporting the Loppet Foundation’s “Junior Loppet” program, which empowers underserved middle school youth through year-round outdoor activities, such as trail running, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, paddling, and orienteering. Participants are given all of the equipment needed, weather-appropriate clothing, coaching, transportation, and meals. Each Junior Loppet team of 20 to 30 students is led by two trained adult coaches who model hard work and cooperation. This creates a supportive, and fun environment in which youth challenge themselves, gain self-confidence and work together. Through the Junior Loppet program, youth increase their health and fitness; develop as lifelong outdoor enthusiasts; build strong social networks; and cultivate critical skills that promote success in other areas of their lives.
75 participants, all youth
Partners: Gear West Cross Country Ski & Run / Gear West Alpine
THREE RIVERS PARK DISTRICT FOUNDATION
Youth who experience reading challenges in school may endure a more tumultuous journey towards finding self-confidence. Through outdoor adventure and skill-building specifically suited to their innate strengths, young campers gain confidence as they enter a new school year knowing they have the skills to succeed. Given the under-representation of low-income students of color in outdoor programming, this camp is also an opportunity for these students to engage in natural environments that may otherwise be inaccessible.
GIRLS OUTDOOR ADVENTURE CAMP
With help from a prAna Explorer Grant, girls who come from low-income households or those who are reading below grade level are invited to a Girls Outdoor Adventure Camp in the Three Rivers Park District near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The girls, ages eight to 12, enjoy a week-long day camp that includes one overnight and a mix of outdoor recreation, nature exploration, and environmental art projects.
25 participants, all youth
Partner: Edina prAna store
WOMEN'S WILDERNESS INSTITUTE
Girls can face challenges in the transition from childhood to adolescence, and they participate in outdoor recreation at lower rates than their male counterparts. To help combat this trend, the Women’s Wilderness Institute is starting Girls Lead for Life, a new program designed to build girls’ courage, confidence and leadership skills through recreational activities. The program includes ten after-school climbing and yoga sessions, a weekend overnight camping trip and an event where the girls take the lead in organizing and teaching a class to the public with prAna ambassador Olivia Hsu.
GIRLS LEAD FOR LIFE
The Girls Lead for Life program, funded by a prAna Explorer Grant, is an addition to the existing award-winning Girls’ Wilderness Adventure Program. Fifteen low-income middle-school girls participate, and no girl is ever turned away for financial reasons. Girls Lead for Life is building a world of strong girls, who grow into strong women, to lead us to a more just and equitable future.
22 participants, including 15 youth
Partner: Earth Treks Indoor Climbing Gym
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