YMCA To Expand Outdoor Youth Development Opportunities
YMCA expands outdoor adventure excursion program to broaden reach to diverse youth in grades 6-12
CHICAGO, May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- YMCA of the USA (Y- USA), the national resource office for the nation's YMCAs, has received a $500,000 grant to provide more youth in grades 6-12 with outdoor development opportunities through the expansion of the BOLD (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development) and GOLD (Girls Outdoor Leadership Development) programs.
The BOLD and GOLD programs are designed to get youth outdoors, help them build healthier lifestyles and create an appreciation for nature and ecological interdependence. Created by the YMCA of Greater Seattle in 2006 with a pilot expedition of five students, the program has expanded to serve more than 400 students on 48 different expeditions ranging from two-day snowshoeing trips to 14-day mountaineering odysseys.
The grant to Y- USA was made possible by the REI Foundation, the McKibben Merner Family Foundation, the Youth Outdoor Legacy Fund, and private donors: Matt Hyde and Lisa Beaudreau, and Doug and Maggie Walker. This funding will help to expand the program to six additional Ys over three years, with the goal of serving an additional 750 young people."We've seen first-hand the positive impact the BOLD/GOLD program has had on the teens and know the strength of the relationship between BOLD/GOLD youth and volunteer participants," stated Matt Hyde, Y- USA Board member and Executive Vice President for REI. "With the leadership and resources of Y- USA in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, we see this program as an ideal model to share and expand to other qualified Ys. I am proud and excited to support it." Added Neil Nicoll, President and CEO of Y- USA: "Programs like BOLD/GOLD help the Y provide so many of the assets kids need to become successful adults, such as a sense of belonging, supportive relationships with adults, opportunities to enhance decision-making and leadership skills, and a sense of safety. We are grateful to all of the foundations and individual donors who made this grant possible. Because of their generosity, we can connect hundreds of boys and girls to the great outdoors so they can learn, grow and thrive - both in nature and in life." A primary goal of BOLD/GOLD is to reduce and remove barriers for all youth and teens, regardless of socio-economic status, to organized trips and outings, access to to the outdoors, outdoor physical activities, and basic outdoor environmental education.
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