The Grit Blog

Getting Kids Outside with After School Programs

By Jenny Sandbo, Y.E.T.I. Volunteer

Nate is learning a lot, but he’s not a student. He has been volunteering as an Outdoor Club Mentor at Glacier Middle School, taking youth on outdoor adventures after school.

With Y.E.T.I. he’s learning patience, problem-solving, and meeting kids where they are. He is reminded that early opportunities can have a significant impact on where you land later in life.

Y.E.T.I.’s afterschool program is simple in concept but complicated in practice. For example, it can be time-consuming to corral nine middle schoolers into the van. And Nate has mixed feelings about ever-present smart phones.

Nate says there is a sense of excitement and anticipation on the drive to a park, beach, or trail head.  The kids laugh, joke, and connect with each other.  There is joy when they arrive at their destination and begin exploring. Phones disappear into pockets as they run, roam, and discover new things. 

”The outdoors is closer than you think, even in the middle of the city!”

Nate has assisted Y.E.T.I.’s Program Coordinators on many after school and weekend adventures. Some of his favorites include:

Nate would like to help more kids discover the outdoors. At times, the after school program must turn kids away because Y.E.T.I. can only fit 11 people in the van. With more capacity in staff and equipment, Y.E.T.I. could serve many more kids in the south Seattle area.

You can support equitable outdoor adventures by donating or becoming a volunteer.

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