Exploring San DiegoCommunityStories for Change


San Diego non-profit connects underserved youth to outdoor activities

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 20:52:56-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Rock climbing, surfing, paddle boarding, mountain biking. The list of things to do in San Diego County seems never-ending. But in most instances, all those things require transportation, time, and money.

Things some young people just don't have. That's where Outdoor Outreach comes in.

"Anything you would need to go on a program outing we'll provide so all the way from mountain bikes, surfboards rock climbing and even boots, snacks and lunches water bottles," said Annie Sawyer, the non-profit's director of development.

Sawyer said since the organization was started back in 1999, it's helped more than 16,000 young people in under-resourced communities discover the outdoors.

In addition to providing transportation and all the equipment kids need, they also try to remove the mental barriers to doing something new.

"For young people from low-income communities and people of color it's really that they don't feel they belong in those spaces, don't see themselves there or they might not feel safe there," said Sawyer.

She says 75 percent of their field staff are program graduates — young people who make newcomers feel welcome and supported.

"Our primary goal is to help young people build resilience so they're overcoming challenges trying new things and most importantly building a support system of people who believe in them," Sawyer said.

To learn more about Outdoor Outreach, visit them online.