The Heart of WYP

The Heart of WYP: A Community Zine

Dear WYP Community,

At Wilderness Youth Project, we encourage gratitude in every facet of our work, whether it’s in a circle of kids on program or in our staff meetings. Giving thanks has become as natural to us as the rocky sandstone of the Santa Ynez Mountains or the sandy shores of Butterfly Beach.

However, when reflecting on the past few challenging and triumphant years as an organization, we recognize more and more the power of our gratitude toward who keeps us going: you. And although it seems like we have been thankful in all the ways we can, we have found one unique way that can adequately communicate our recognition of your role in getting kids out into nature.

The idea of doing a zine profoundly spoke to us. Zines have gained popularity as self-published, creative booklets that elevate specific communities, often in nontraditional or unexpected ways. Unlike anything we have previously done before, zines offer an outlet not just for written and photographic communication, but also for art, storytelling, and co-creation of material. In short, they provide a space for creativity, reflection, and collective imagination, just like WYP!

In The Heart of WYP: A Community Zine, we wanted to capture the voices, experiences, and stories of everyone that makes WYP, WYP, those who exemplify our core values of authenticity, community, and respect for our local environment. Over five months, we connected with all the amazing people we could find, making connections with everyone from staff and community partners to donors and educators.

From those interactions, we have cultivated a collection of children’s artwork, profile stories of staff and community members, as well as contributions like local resources and photos that speak to the heart of our work in nature connection. We hope that you can see a facet of yourselves represented within this piece, as this zine is our gift to you, you who have kept us thriving for the past 23 years, and hopefully many more to come. Happy reading!

With gratitude,

Your WYP Team

About the Zine Author & Designer

Julia Barrera (they/she) is a recent UCSB graduate with a Feminist Studies major and a Professional Writing minor with an emphasis in Civic Engagement. They served as Wilderness Youth Project’s community relations intern in Spring 2022, writing creative and promotional content for WYP, and they got to spend every Wednesday mentoring 2nd-5th graders at WYP’s Bridge to Nature after-school program at El Centro SB.


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