At-risk/low-income San Francisco youth living in dangerous/crime-ridden neighborhoods; help introduce our youth to the wilderness through positive innovative outdoor adventures.
The Wilderness Program introduces inner city youth to the wilderness. Sharing with police officers and adults who care enough to personally take and show them the wonders of the outdoor world around them. Kids who have never seen anything larger than a dog or rat suddenly encounter wildcats, raccoons and deer…to their wonder and delight. Officers report that more than one such child, who would not blink at the sound of gunfire in their neighborhood, huddle close to the officers while staring at a raccoon, deer or skunk.
One officer reported that on a particularly hot hike, all the kids and adults were exhausted and stopped for lunch. After lunch, reviving as only kids can, students started a water fight running and hiding behind the adults. But they all knew not to wet the adults. However, when one of the parents decided to wet the students, 5 min later the parent was wet from head to toe…cooled off and surrounded by happy kids.
On a later sail on San Francisco Bay, staring at the dolphins near the boat, another inner city student said, "They're real, I mean they're real. No one put them here." He was only four miles from his dangerous and tense neighborhood. He said in wonder, "Wild animals. Right here. All the time. I never knew." He could not stop smiling; staring around at a world that was so close to his home…but never knew existed. And he will never be the same.
Lee D Stimmel