The Wilderness Inner-city Leadership Development (WILD) Youth Program fosters environmental and civically engaged leadership among youth of color, ages 14-19. WILD develops leadership through outdoor service learning field trips, academic support, community projects with a social and environmental justice focus, and intergenerational programs with community elders. Since our inception in 1997, WILD has served over 800 primarily low-income, Asian and Pacific Islander (API) immigrant and refugee youth.
The WILD program follows a model that provides opportunities for wilderness and inner city environmental education and leadership skills development through three main program areas: community building, intergenerational engagement, and experiential learning.
● Community Building: WILD provides opportunities to participate in various community service projects that address community needs. Weekly youth groups meet to lead neighborhood projects related to environmental justice, neighborhood revitalization, food justice, public health, and more.
● Intergenerational Engagement: WILD nurtures positive relationships among elders and youth through multi-lingual and culturally responsive intergenerational outreach, field trips & programming. We have intergenerational field trips with community elders to national forests to provide non-English speaking elders with an accessible outdoor experience for which youth serve as interpreters and guides.
● Experiential Learning: WILD’s environmental education and outdoor field trips provide exposure to the natural environment for youth who ordinarily would not have the opportunity to explore regions outside of their local urban communities due to financial or cultural barriers. Our six week-long summer programs serve youth ages 14-15 and 16-19 respectively. Each program focuses on a particular environmental theme and includes camping trip(s) and opportunities for youth to serve as peer mentors and leaders.