Youth Programs

Our vision is to help San Diego's youth program providers integrate nature programming into their numerous programs. Youth program providers encompass after-school programs, youth clubs, camps, scouting, faith-based youth groups, and more

Elementary and Middle School Youth

The San Diego Youth Programs Community Asset Inventory was completed in June 2010 to describe the organized youth program providers in San Diego County that offer programming beyond the traditional school day. Programs are categorized as extended school day, camp, scouting, youth clubs, classes, and alternative youth services. Key organizations were identified based on the population of youth served, their broad reach to the county, and the organizational structure This report highlights six organizations that, when combined, reach 45% of the county’s youth and displays the greatest potential for collaboration with the Collaborative.

High School Youth

The San Diego High Schools Community Asset Inventory was completed in June 2010 to describe opportunities for the Collaborative to create liaisons with over 104 high schools and 13 colleges within San Diego County The overall goal was to identify ways to identify community resources to increase opportunities for nature awareness and activism for the targeted age group of teens to early twenties Although the initial research focused on high school and college environmental clubs and programs, the scope broadened to include experiential outdoor activities, school gardens, job experience, internship possibilities, and nature-based field trips that link to existing academic curriculums

Up to this point, youth are under-recognized participants in the local Children and Nature movement, and there are many unrealized opportunities to engage San Diego’s youth in the Collaborative These were identified by local attendees at the national Children & Nature Network gathering in September: 

  • Engage the power of teenagers, recruit them to spread messages, invite their time, energy and spirit.
  • Participate in educating high school students, who can become active and understand what’s at risk for conservation, ecological services, closing state parks, and other issues.
  • Establish a corps of Natural Leaders in San Diego and invite them to come up with youth activities.
  • Draw on Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, high school students, Outdoor Outreach, Ocean Discovery Institute, and youth we already know.
  • Participate in the Green Student Forum and other events already being organized.
  • Engage high school youth in eco-clubs and region-wide eco-council, learning about native ecosystems in “nearby nature,” community service, restoration projects in their neighborhood canyons and open space, citizen science using technology-based applications, and advocacy for local issues.
  • Engage community college and university youth as interns, trained naturalist guides, advisors to high school groups, and community organizers for local nature issues.

Nature-based Inquiry and Learning in After-school Settings

Nature-based Inquiry and Learning in After-school Settings, workshop presented at STEMpower conference, March 1, 2013, San Diego County Office of Education. Presentation materials: Slides in color.