Stewardship Council Awards $225,000 to Organizations Dedicated to Getting Youth Outdoors

San Mateo, California, June 27, 2011 – A Richmond organization connects urban youth to overnight rural farm experiences, an Auburn program for Native teens encourages environmental stewardship and leadership, and a Central Valley initiative helps improve teen literacy within outdoor adventure – these are just a few of the projects recently awarded Impact Fund grants by the Stewardship Council.

The Stewardship Council awarded $225,000 through the Impact Fund to support the efforts of nine organizations that make outdoor spaces accessible and safe for youth and families. The Impact Fund provides support for more established organizations, whose annual operating budgets are over $250,000, with the resources they need to get underserved youth connected to the outdoors.

The Stewardship Council is in its sixth year of grant funding. During this time, the Council has awarded more than $10 million to 223 organizations. Stewardship Council funds have helped more than 250,000 youths. By providing funds to youth development organizations and programs, the Council is committed to connecting youth to the outdoors and hopes to positively transform young people academically, personally, and socially.

The following is a list of the 2011 Impact Fund Round One awards:

Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) (Central Valley) was awarded $30,000 to connect underserved Merced County youth to outdoor opportunities. Using best practices in youth development and outdoor education, ARC will train a diverse group of UC Merced undergrads to mentor participants from similar backgrounds in a year-round program of outdoor adventure and literacy. The program’s goal is to build the skills and confidence youth need for high school graduation, college success, environmental stewardship, and civic engagement.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) (San Francisco) was awarded $25,000 to help youth develop healthy lifestyles that include experiencing nature. BGCSF owns and operates Camp Mendocino, a place for urban youth to explore the wonders of the natural world in a coastal redwood forest. The camp is also the site of the Leaders in Training (LIT) program, which gives low income teens opportunities to develop mentoring and leadership skills.

California Community Partners for Youth (CCPY) (San Jose) was awarded $20,000 for its Step-Up/Ahead Outdoor Education, which takes inner-city youths out of their neighborhoods and into nature. Once outdoors, participants develop and deepen their trust and teamwork, foundations for the in-school/in-city components. The program engages teens through peer-led nature hikes, winter camp, and monthly enrichment outings.

California State Parks Foundation (Multiple Cities) was awarded $30,000 for its Outdoor Youth Connection (OYC) program. The program helps nonprofit partners connect California’s most disadvantaged youth with nature by making resources, access, and information easily accesible. OYC empowers youth to use what they learn outdoors as tools to address issues within their daily lives and communities.

Girls Incorporated of Alameda County (San Leandro/Oakland) was awarded $20,000 for its Eureka! Teen Achievement Program, designed to inspire girls from under-served communities and under-performing schools to pursue education and careers in the sciences. Through Eureka! Environmental Adventures, girls explore the environment, take positive risks, learn new skills, and develop their self-confidence through hands-on, minds-on activities in outdoor spaces throughout Northern California.

Native Alliance of the Sierra Nevada Foothills (Auburn) was awarded $25,000 for their Native Youth Conservation Project (NYCP), which addresses the social, cultural, economic, and environmental engagement needs of Native American youth in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The year-long environmental internship program trains youth in environmental restoration, advocacy, education, and leadership.

Real Options for City Kids (ROCK) (San Francisco) was awarded $20,000 to help break the cycle of poverty and violence in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood. Through a combination of outdoor adventures, community service, and leadership training, and by implementing best youth development practices, the organization empowers its participants with the tools and experiences necessary to become successful, productive adults.

Urban Tilth (Richmond) was awarded $35,000 for their Homegrown Experts initiative to engage 30 teens in a six-week summer apprenticeship that connects low-income, urban youth with farms. The program offers 100 hours of paid, hands-on urban agriculture education, vocational training, community service, and employment. Apprentices also spend two weekends working (and camping) on organic local farms owned by farmers of color.

Youth Enrichment Strategies (YES) (Richmond) was awarded $20,000 to strengthen community through connections with nature in Richmond, California. YES’ Camp-to-Community program utilizes positive youth development practices to empower teens in developing leadership skills and translating these skills to the community and world of work. Supported by YES staff, Camp-to-Community youth serve as leaders at local “green” agencies and in YES’ overnight summer camps, family camps and day outings.

The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council is a private, nonprofit foundation. Established in 2004, its mission is to protect and enhance more than 140,000 acres of watershed lands and invest in efforts to improve the lives of young Californians through connections with the outdoors. The Stewardship Council brings together the expertise of leading conservation, natural resource management, business, and public officials to undertake this historic conservation effort for California. Unique and collaborative, the Stewardship Council’s Board of Directors unites a broad range of interests to guide the development and execution of the Land Conservation Program and Youth Investment Program to benefit current and future generations of Californians. Our core values are collaboration, stewardship, discovery, sustainability and leadership. For more information about the Stewardship Council please visit the web site: