This project will combine the resources of the Maxwell Middle School Outdoor Club, the TUSD Educational Enrichment Foundation and the Sierra Club Inner City Outings Program to provide the participants with a positive, enriching local wilderness experience.
The Maxwell Middle School Outdoor Club was established in 2005 for the purpose of exposing the students with the outdoors and encouraging exercise through hiking. The Sierra Club Inner City Outings program is "a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that provides low-income, inner city youth with trips to wilderness"..."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"..."Sierra Club ICO volunteers are certified and trained in recreational, outdoor, and safety skills as well as environmental education"....for additional information see http://www.sierraclub.org/ico.
This grant from the Do Something Foundation will provide matching funds with our local Tucson Inner City Outings Program for the purpose outlined above. As proposed, this grant will provide the necessary resources for matching contributions for anywhere from four to eight outings depending on participation levels. The benefits to our participants are obvious. A guided wilderness and environmental education experience in vivid contrast to the urban setting of the participants daily lives. The Maxwell MS Outdoor Club has already been on several outings with the Tucson Inner City Outings program and the response has been overwhelmingly positive...there is always a waiting list for our next adventure! With the financial help of the Do something Foundation we hope to continue and expand this valuable and exciting activity.
For the last 2 years the club has taken students on hikes in the Tucson Mountains, climbed to the top of Wasson Peak, and worked on the Arizona Trail with other volunteers. They have participated with other students from Doolen, University of Arizona and Sunnyside. Our Somali refugee students were able to go to Mt. Lemmon with other Somali families through a trip sponsored with ICO and Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS). After these trips these students have discovered in themselves the determination to complete a goal (make it to the top of a mountain, working hard to make a trail that many people will use forever) while making new friends and enjoying the outdoors. We hope they instill this appreciation to their families and make it a family activity. Our goal is to take a group out at least once a month. We hope with more time and money we can increase that to 2 trips a month. Up to now we have asked the students to bring their lunch. We hope to provide lunches and snacks so more students will feel comfortable going on these trips.
ICO also has the opportunity to work with Outdoor Adventures and 4-H that is affiliated with the University. A combined goal is to take a group of students on an overnight camping trip that will be linked to a science unit on the environment. The students will do activities related to the area we are camping in. Outdoor Adventures has promised help and materials to assist us with trips with the students. University students that work at Outdoor Adventures are all trained to take university students on intense outdoor trips. Many of the leaders are involved in science fields. They are very excited to have the opportunity to work with our younger students and we are very fortunate to be able to participate in cooperative trips with Outdoor Adventures. With their help and guidance we will have many more choices of where we can take the students.