Our Inspiring Connections Outdoors youth program celebrates 50 years

By Linda De Young, Andrew Young, Peggy Hall and Dave Boitano

Do you remember your first exciting trip to the wilderness? What about all the outdoor trips that followed that had a big impact on your life? Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) program has been offering this experience to underprivileged urban youth all year round for 50 years!

In 2019 alone, the SF Bay ICO took 42 trips with 16 community and school groups totaling 865 youth days and 305 adult outing days. Along with many local day hikes, some adventure highlights included camping at a beach in Mendocino, snow excursions at Hutchinson Lodge, field studies in Yosemite, and hiking the Skyline Trail. -to-the-Sea. ICO volunteers help develop the skills and confidence of young people in the outdoors and together we share the special magic that only a redwood forest or an alpine lake can offer.

In the Bay Area we are surrounded by parks, but many townspeople do not have the opportunity to explore these natural areas. Barriers can be as simple as lack of transportation, but they can also be cultural or systemic. Getting to know nature is what brings us back to it and allows us to be healed by it.

A snapshot of an ICO output.ICO partners with community and school groups looking for an outdoor program. Together, we choose exciting and educational destinations, and ICO provides trip planning, equipment, transportation and financing as needed. The goal is to make all outdoor activities, whether it’s a simple day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, accessible even for busy teachers.

But this wonderful program cannot work without your help.. We need you to share your outdoor skills and knowledge, keep our hiking and camping gear in good condition, and help with planning, shopping and transportation.

In return, you will share the joy and wonder of our youth as you hike to the top of Angel Island, catch a hermit crab, see snow for the first time and much more.


Looking for volunteers passionate about the link between urban youth and nature

  • Come hike, camp, backpack and explore nature with us!
  • Share your outdoor skills and knowledge of nature
  • Keep our camping and hiking gear in good condition
  • Help with trip planning, shopping, transportation and volunteer events

Learn more at sfbayico.org

A snapshot of an ICO output.

Linda De Young, Andrew Young and Peggy Hall are the SF Bay Chapter ICO program leaders and Dave Boitano is a Chapter member.

Photo credits: Snapshots of ICO trips, courtesy of the ICO Travel Leaders.

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