Outdoor Education at the Presidio Y
Youth often spend their days in a classroom and their evenings indoors, rarely venturing to neighborhood parks and open spaces. This lack of connection with the natural world leads to a sense of intimidation, a lack of knowledge about, and a perception of inaccessibility regarding the outdoors. Many underserved youth in San Francisco have never seen the Golden Gate Bridge or even walked on a beach. The Presidio Y’s Outdoor Programs aim to get youth outside and connected to nature.
Earth Service Corps
At the Y, we believe we are part of a global community with global responsibilities. In 2007, we launched Earth Service Corps (ESC), a free program that empowers students to become global citizens by providing opportunities for leadership development, environmental education, and cross-cultural awareness. Historically, ESC has successfully existed in public middle schools. We have expanded our reach to include elementary schools throughout the city. We combine afterschool clubs and school-based activities with weekend service-learning projects important life skills and become life-long, stewards of the environment.
The YMCA of SF is partnering with the Department of the Interior, National League of Cities (NLC) and YMCA of the USA to bridge the growing disconnect between young people and the great outdoors by creating meaningful connections to nature. This program focuses on recreation, education, volunteerism and employment programs in YMCA summer camps, highlighting natural, cultural, historical and recreational resources.
During summer 2015, Y Rangers (formerly called "Play Learn Serve Work") served 500 youth, 20 teens, and 50 young adults through recreational, educational, volunteerism and employment programs in YMCA summer camps. Highlights of this summer:
* Play: Hiking, beach play, group games, horseback riding, crabbing
* Learn: Jr. Ranger program, naturalist-led hikes, map-reading
* Service: Habitat restoration Wednesdays, beach cleanups
* Work: Conversations with partners, high school/college intern panels
Point of Inquiry
We at the Y believe deeply that all youth deserve access to the Presidio. To that end, in 2009 we began partnering with the National Parks Service to provide a free field trip to the Presidio for 4th grade classes of underserved schools in the southern part of the city. Entitled “Point of Inquiry” and aligned with the CA Dept. of Education’s curriculum, our program educates students about the history of Fort Point and introduces them to the natural and recreational assets of the park, all in service to increasing their knowledge and ownership of this beautiful resource.
Each year more than 300 youth see the Presidio for the first time and understand that it belongs to all of us and that we all have a responsibility to steward it.