Creating Opportunities for All Youth to Access Nature
Young people are not meant to spend all day indoors, staring at screens. But over the past year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is what most Canadian youth have done, often with a lack of meaningful engagement with other young people or with nature. This has had an adverse effect on their social and emotional development as well as on their mental and physical wellbeing.
Outward Bound wants to get more youth outside so that they can experience the beauty of nature and develop socially and emotionally. Given the significant impact of COVID-19, these formative experiences are needed more than ever, and Outward Bound wants to ensure youth from all socio-economic backgrounds can benefit. Recognizing that many Canadians lack the financial resources to engage with camps or outdoor activities, Outward Bound created its Youth Access Fund to provide financial assistance for those who require additional support.
“Outward Bound is committed to providing greater access for youth from diverse backgrounds to experience our transformational outdoor programming, regardless of their financial circumstances,” says Andrew Young, Executive Director. “This is why we developed our Youth Access Fund with the support of our donors and partners. The Youth Access Fund is a grant that subsidizes the cost of an Outward Bound course, based on financial need and a ‘pay what you can’ approach.”
This summer, Outward Bound is offering wilderness expeditions for youth in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, as well as day camps in Toronto and the Rouge Valley. Most courses include options for financial assistance. We are also offering tailored programs for Indigenous participants and for 2SLGBTQ+ youth.
“As we look toward the summer, Outward Bound is excited to offer programs in multiple regions to get youth off their screens, out into nature and making new friends while adhering to our COVID-19 health protocols,” says Young. “While our courses are filling up fast, we want to ensure that eligible youth who are eligible for financial assistance and funded programming are aware of these opportunities.”