Introducing under-served local youth to the great outdoors
All of us at Human Outreach Project and World Wide Trekking have a strong connection to Utah’s mountains. They have greatly enriched our lives, challenged us, and inspired us. However, through economic and social factors, these mountains that are so much a part of our daily life are inaccessible to thousands of children in the Salt Lake valley. HOP Outdoors seeks to create the means for these kids to get outdoors, learn about the environment, stay healthy, and feel inspired by nature. In partnership with local schools, we run multiple trips a week in the summer to bring local children to Snowbird for outdoor education and leadership training programs. These trips have been incredibly meaningful, fun, and rewarding for all involved.
It was a dream materialized to utilize HOP in creating a program in Utah, to help local youth experience the outdoors. Starting in June of 2017, HOP Outdoors began bringing youth in the Greater Salt Lake Valley hiking at Snowbird. With sponsorships from Snowbird, Utah Food Services, The North Face, and Clif Bar, plus the help of many dedicated volunteers, HOP Outdoors expanded to running three weekly trips all summer long. These students had the chance to ride the tram at Snowbird, go on guided hikes, and meet with outdoor professionals to learn about environmental stewardship, leadership, possible careers in the outdoors, and to become familiar with the beautiful environment at their doorstep.
In 2018, the summer program more than doubled in size. We continued expansion by offering our first series of after-school spring trips. On these trips, groups of students hiked through Millcreek Canyon and learned about plants, wildlife, and how to be prepared in nature. Two special spring trips brought groups to Momentum Climbing Gym, where they learned the ropes – literally! – of rock climbing.
Those who have participated in outdoor activities as youth are much more likely to continue such participation into adulthood. We are proud to help create the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts through no-cost hiking trips for underserved youth.
We are working to establish more local partnerships, such as with refugee communities, to expand positive impact to as many children as possible. We are also looking to incorporate winter outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing, into HOP Outdoors’ programming. We would like to have this be a program that runs year-round, supporting the children and enabling them to access the outdoors every day!