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We have learned alongside our Community Partners as they have faced challenges, overcome barriers, and achieved extraordinary successes. Find out more about each project and the outcomes below.







Explore Austin


Explore Austin

Explore Austin

Project Title:

Leadership, Mentoring, and Outdoor Access Program

Project Description:   

Through outdoor adventure and long-term mentorship, Explore Austin supports youth from communities historically lacking access to green space as they develop into confident adults. As youth gain a variety of outdoor skills and form close bonds with trusted peers and mentors, they develop the confidence, integrity, and courage to pursue their own versions of success.

The grant from Impact Austin will allow Explore Austin to grow their program to reach more vulnerable youth by expanding into new, underserved areas. Additionally, Explore Austin proposes to expand employment opportunities for Explorer alumni and their families and to add an evidence-based environmental curriculum to their program.

Grant Status:   

Impact Austin’s support helped Explore Austin stabilize youth participation in the wake of the pandemic. From 2022 to 2023, Explorer attendance at Saturday Challenges increased by 8%. Attendance at Summer Wilderness Trips increased by 13%. Explorer recruitment in 2023 was the strongest since 2019.

19 teams of Explorers and their Mentors completed their Summer Wilderness Trips (SWTs). In 2022, two teams traveled to California for capstone adventures. In 2023, two additional teams traveled to Colorado for their own capstone adventures. In addition to Texas, California, and Colorado, Explore Austin youth explored wild places in Arkansas, Idaho, New Mexico, and Utah. These trips challenged Explorers physically, mentally, and emotionally. They also were an opportunity for them to take a break from technology and focus on their well-being.

Through Saturday Challenges and Summer Wilderness Trips, Explorers spent on average 195 hours outdoors, reaping the many benefits of time in nature. 2022 surveys reported that:

  • 90% of Explorers reported feeling they belong at Explore Austin, are valued and respected by their teammates, can trust their Mentors, and can make a positive impact in their communities

  • 94% said they can see and appreciate the intelligence of other living things

  • 92% said they have a deep understanding of how their actions can affect nature

  • 86% reported that spending time in nature lowers their stress and improves their overall mood

  • 85% of our youth reported they can always manage to solve difficult problems if they try hard enough

  • 79% said they can remain calm in the face of difficulties because of their coping abilities

Explore Austin completed the Mentor recruitment process in the fall, when they interviewed and selected 12 new Mentors. They proactively conducted direct outreach to BIPOC institutions and organizations with the goal of reaching more prospective mentors of color.

For More Information:   

Related Reports:

Grant Outcomes Report
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