The King Tides around new years remind us of the high water marks of the past year, and they invite us to reflect on the low times. We hope we treat low times like tide pools- worthy of investigating, possibly holding treasures.
Here are some reflections on the past year for Wilderness Youth Project:
- “Better than before”- 2022 was our biggest year ever, at least measured by number of kids served (1,238, with 65% on scholarship). We did that by:
- Getting “back to school” and reconvening with the Bridge to Nature school-day programs that had been modified during pandemic restrictions
- And keeping Bridge to Nature community based programs that evolved as pandemic adaptations but turn out to be a great way to keep connecting kids to nature
- You: more kids in nature requires more caring mentors, which means our budget goes up, which happens only because of YOU. It’s only thanks to generous supporters that young people have those “best days ever” in nature
- New HQ: we’re settling into our beautiful new office but we’re grateful every single day to have a productive place to work and a view of the mountains, town, and ocean. If you haven’t stopped by, please do!
- The Outdoor Equity coalition didn’t receive funding through California’s Outdoor Equity Grant (but we deepened our relationships with each other and received input from over 180 community members about how to provide equitable nature connection)
- Cost of living: as is true for everyone living and working in this region, the increasing costs of living here make life challenging for our staff (who are 100% of our ability to deliver on the mission)
- Children in America are in the midst of a mental health crisis, struggling with anxiety and depression at unprecedented levels.
“Wilderness Youth Project has been an amazing experience for our family. Children deserve the opportunity to feel welcome, included and fall in love with nature and WYP has offered this and more to our child. It is great to hear the wonderful stories from our daughter after a day of exploring the beauty of nature with WYP when she comes home. She is always excited to go back each day and enjoy more adventures. Our daughter has also benefited from gaining more self confidence and learning through exploration and play in a way that she cherishes and embraces.”