Duckie on the Arkansas River
White water rafting and duckies are also used by cityWILD to develop such things as risk management and teamwork in students. In 2011-2012, 86% understand there is risk associated with drinking alcohol.
Rock Climbing at Lookout Mountain
cityWILD uses outdoor activities as its median for youth and leadership development. In 2011-2012, 74% are confident expressing their opinions in front of a group.
While on Summer Expeditions and Weekend Adventures, cityWILD students take care of their own campsite/community, including cooking duties. In 2011-2012, 84% believe they can make a difference in their community.
cityWILD Mission & History
cityWILD is a bold effort to bring the typically exclusive world of outdoor experiential education to a broad non-traditional audience: low-income youth of color. Since 1998, cityWILD has been providing tuition-free, comprehensive experiential education programs for urban youth (6th-12th grades) in northeast Denver. Its mission is to provide low income, culturally diverse youth with outdoor and environmental service learning opportunities that promote developmental themes of personal empowerment, leadership and community participation.
cityWILD motivates participants to reach their potential at school, at home and in their communities – and they succeed:
cityWILD was founded in 1997 by Jere Lester, MSW, Lara Solomon, and Read McCulloch. The agency’s first outdoor adventure pilot trip was launched in the summer of 1998. Later that year, the organization began targeting young people in northeast Denver. Over the next nine months of all volunteered time, cityWILD founders wrote curriculum, developed community connections, and secured funding to more formally launch the cityWILD program. Since then, the organization has been operating successfully, slowly expanding services to meet demand. Using the outdoors as a classroom and laboratory for hands-on learning, cityWILD offers year-round, youth development programs which provide high risk students with challenging activities, opportunities for growth, healthy lifestyles, peer bonding, and supportive adults.
In early 2008, cityWILD merged with RiverReach, an organization charged with connecting Denver at-risk youth to their community through volunteering and urban environment. This union of RiverReach's rafting operations on the South Platte River with cityWILD's Arkansas River rafting operations and its Denver-based year-round Youth Programs allowed cityWILD to serve more youth, more effectively, with greater synergy.