Team Wilderness: Taking Kids Off City Streets to Learn Teamwork on Mountain Peaks
Team Wilderness is a not-for-profit summer program that uses an experiential educational model to teach Jersey City’s high school-aged youth teamwork, leadership, and character. The program helps to promote confidence in youth, consideration for their peers, passion for the world they live in, and resilience both as an individual and a group. Facing physical and social challenges, they learn to adapt and develop real-life problem-solving skills while at the same time overcoming fears and obstacles.
“Everyone took their experiences and molded it into something extraordinary. For me, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and become a leader.”
– Kristine, student
Team Wilderness is the only outdoor experiential education program focused specifically on Jersey City and inclusive of the city’s most disadvantaged. Our program is affordable for all income levels; as it caters to the youth from the Jersey City community it therefore helps positively impact the community itself. Team Wilderness hopes to ensure that all the neighborhoods in Jersey City can participate in the city’s current renaissance.
Team Wilderness allows youth to experience hiking, backpacking and numerous outdoor activities during both single-day and overnight trips. These trips require the commitment and collaboration of the entire team. The students understand that and embrace it. The Team’s adult leaders, and the trip experiences themselves, will cultivate reflection to unearth newfound self-confidence, undiscovered interests and unexplored opportunities.
Once the funds are raised we will be able to buy equipment such as backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags. These sustainable purchases will allow us to not only conduct programs for the summer of 2016, but future summers as well. Additionally, the funds will allow us to hire Junior Leaders. These recent alumni, now in college and beginning their careers, will serve as mentors to our students. The funds will also allow us to pay for insurance, facilities, transportation, and permits.
why we’re doing it
Participating in an outdoor adventure program that stresses character growth can cost up to $1,000, pricing out many teens in Jersey City. While Jersey City is currently enjoying a renaissance, that renaissance is slow to spread to many neighborhoods. Additionally, youth are often choosing to restrict themselves to their own neighborhood, limiting their exposure to new and different opportunities, and restricting their ability to interact with people from other backgrounds. Team Wilderness strives to alleviate all of these problems by allowing youth from every neighborhood to experience outdoor adventure and character growth together.