WILDERNESS YOUTH PROJECT INCORPORATED

Time in nature makes kids smarter, healthier and happier.

aka WYP   |   Santa Barbara, CA   |  www.wyp.org

Mission

Mission
The mission of Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) is to foster confidence, health, and a life-long love of learning for young people and families through active outdoor experiences and mentoring.

Vision
WYP envisions teaching the next generation of children to be peaceful, respectful and confident stewards of our world.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Dan Fontaine

Main address

5386 Hollister Ave. Ste D

Santa Barbara, CA 93111 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

77-0526117

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Today's children only spend 5-10% of their time outdoors and this can have a negative effect on their mental and physical development. Their lives are increasingly scheduled and structured indoors, and young people are feeling less connected with nature and the people around them. Time in nature provides myriad opportunities for children to explore, play, and learn.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Wilderness Youth Project School Day and Summer Programs

The Problem
A quiet crisis threatens the future of our children. In just two short generations, the entire landscape of childhood in America has changed. In the past, children spent all their free time outside building forts, hunting frogs, and playing hide-and-seek in the tall grass. Many researchers, including Yale Social Ecologist Stephen R. Kellert, conclude that children’s direct and regular experience of the natural world is an essential, irreplaceable dimension of healthy maturation and development. Yet today, American children, regardless of geographic region, spend 90 percent of their time inside. In the last 30 years, children of the digital age have become increasingly alienated from the natural world with disastrous implications, not only for physical fitness, but also for long-term mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Our Solution
In nature’s classroom, children always pay attention. Wilderness Youth Project’s outdoor programs reconnect children with the natural world. Research has shown that time in nature improves a child's cognitive flexibility, emotional stability, critical thinking, creativity, self-esteem, and self-discipline. It helps them, in short, to become smarter, more cooperative, happier, and healthier. Nature is the ideal learning environment because it is infinitely scalable, offering challenges that are just within reach. Our programs increase opportunities for success, at school and at home, for youth across the demographic spectrum. The improved outcomes we have noted for our participants include individual growth and self-confidence, interpersonal skills, physical competence, and an increased respect for the natural world.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goal is to provide nature connection to all children, not only those of a certain economic class, or culture, or set of abilities.

WYP provides scholarships for participants to join after-school and summer programs. We also partner with community organizations and schools that already serve low-income families to offer nature connection programs on a regular basis for their constituents.

Wilderness Youth Project has strong community support from teachers, partner organizations and foundations that advocate for the importance of childhood nature connection. We also have well-trained and passionate staff that mentor and build relationships with our participants.

Wilderness Youth Project currently mentors nearly 1,000 participants each year. By providing scholarships to low income families we are building a bridge to nature for participants who might not otherwise have such access. Programs with local elementary schools and other nonprofits are helping us build relationships with a diverse community of participants, and we plan to continue expanding those partnerships in the upcoming years.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    All children need nature. Not just the ones whose families have privilege and easy access to nature. Not only those of a certain race or economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or language or set of abilities. Every child and every family.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

WILDERNESS YOUTH PROJECT INCORPORATED
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

WILDERNESS YOUTH PROJECT INCORPORATED

Board of directors
as of 09/28/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kyra Rogers

Philanthropy Professional

Kyra Rogers

MSW

Amy Schneider

Independent Consultant

April Price

Santa Barbara County

Brook Eiler

Landscape Architect

Carrie Kappel

Research Scientist

Chris Ragland

Non-profit Professional

Graciela Cabello

Los Padres Forest Watch

Laura Russel

CPA

Lena Morán-Acereto

CEO/Consultant/Activist

Teresa Romero

Environmental Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Devon Azzam

Regional Director of the California Global Education Project at UCSB

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/17/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/11/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.