Inner City Outings connects kids from city neighborhoods with the outdoors -- something they rarely ever get to experience. For ICO leaders, just witnessing the kids' reaction to nature makes the program worthwhile. The proof is in the thank-you notes.
"It's amazing," says Roger Johnston, who currently chairs the Inner City Outings group in Los Angeles. "For kids, there's a natural attraction of the outdoors. These trips always end with them wanting to come back. The last outing, a bunch of them were writing down the name and address of the place we visited so that they could go with their parents."
Roger is one of many ICO volunteers across the country who run 50 ICO groups. Together, they conduct more than 800 outings each year, serving about 14,000 youth. Many of these kids have no outdoor experience and instead live in areas that struggle with crime and drugs. ICO outings provide a respite from that and connect kids to natural areas that they didn’t even know existed.