The Sierra Club Inner City Outings Youth Program provides hikes and exposure to the natural environment for inner city youth and others. These outings promote individual growth through environmental activities and outdoor skills education.
In June 2013, Sierra Club held a kids event near the Los Angeles River. When local residents think about the LA River, they often think of its cement walls and graffiti. This event gave area youngsters and their families a new appreciation of the LA River by showing them a more natural, unpaved section of the river and newly opened park with native planting and hiking trails.
Little hikers joined their parents on a hike through native planting and along the LA River. These junior explorers saw great blue heron roosting and Canada geese flying overhead. Their day included a nature scavenger hunt and a chance to spin the Water Wheel to answer questions about water conservation and water quality to win a prize. Every participant left with a coloring book, stickers and a smile.
The Sierra Club Inner City Outings Youth Program enables inner city youth and others to visit and develop an appreciation for our natural environment. ICO outings promote individual growth through group activities and environmental and outdoor skills education.
In December 2012, Inner City Outings participated in a yearly Sierra Club urban hike. In the spirit of giving for the holiday season, youngsters and families joined the annual midnight hike to give food and clothing to the homeless living on the streets. Hiking approximately 6 miles in Los Angeles' Skid Row district, ICO participants helpeddistribute socks, clothing and blankets. The annual Angeles Christmas by Night Hike provided an opportunity to give back to those in most need.
The Sierra Club Inner City Outings Youth Program serves as a bridge that enables inner city youth, disabled individuals, and others to visit and develop an appreciation for our natural environment. We work with schools, community groups, and other agencies to create safe and enjoyable outdoor experiences for persons who might not otherwise have them. ICO outings promote individual growth through group activities and environmental and outdoor skills education.
In addition to the hikes and outdoor education events throughout the year, the Sierra Club was involved in a special Earth Day 2012 event. Inner City Outings volunteers were involved in activities at two transitional housing facilities for homeless families. During the program, our volunteers provided environmental education about conservation, nature and the Sierra Club. The program benefited at-risk youth from low income families and helped to provide the youngsters with a positive atmosphere to learn about environmental conservation and nature.
Read a great account of the work by college student Rebecca Niemlec as she designed curicula and took students outdoors with the Inner City Outings youth program of the Sierra Club in a recent Southern Sierran article: http://angeles2.sierraclub.org/news/blog/2012/05/dear_becky_you_know_everything_about_nature.
During her internship with Inner City Outings, Rebecca helped students experience the outdoors in places they had never seen before. One young boy told her, “It’s so beautiful here. I want to wake up somewhere like here every morning. I had never thought before about what I actually want to do… like I can do what I want to do.”
As Rebecca completed her internship, she remarked, "In my work with ICO, I began to realize that this is the most dangerous thing that poverty does: It tells you that you are nothing. And this is exactly why Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings exists, to let students imagine life another way. It lets students know, by taking them on outdoor trips, that there is a group of people who think that they are indeed someone. By doing something outside their urban neighborhoods, they began to realize, like my students during their solo reflections, that maybe their dreams and realities can co-exist."
Support for the Inner City Outings Youth Program helps continue to introduce urban youth to outdoor adventures and to help expand their horizons.
The Inner City Outings Youth Program provided a variety of outdoor adventures from the mountains to the sea. Students were able to participate on spectacular hikes through Solstice Canyon affording views of never-before-seen native vistas, experience the excitement of actually seeing live whales along the California coast, and learning the art of sailing at the Long Beach Marina.
For many of the students who participate in the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Inner City Outings Youth Program, these trips provide their first experience of natural habitats. Our outings leaders often hear exclamations of amazement such as "I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
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