Time spent in nature is often the best medicine. Combine nature with mentorship, and get ready for positive change. Austin-area parents and guardians should expect this combination through a local program called Explore Austin. This nonprofit is helping Austin youth make positive choices, develop healthy relationships, and perform better in school.
What Is Explore Austin?
Mentees, or what Explore Austin likes to call “Explorers,” learn valuable life skills that shape and mold their personalities. They are also taken on amazing outdoor adventures to provide healthy challenges and individual growth. Youth from KIPP Austin Public Schools are eligible for this program.
Outdoor Adventures and Mentorship
Participants in Explore Austin don’t just get to explore Austin. They take annual trips to nearby states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. There they participate in a range of activities, including:
- Rock climbing
These adventures are challenging, educational, and a lot of fun. Explorers are encouraged to make many decisions throughout the adventure in order to learn leadership skills.
Explore Austin uses the ACES Framework. ACES stands for Action-Oriented, Courageous, Excellent Teammate, and Strong Communicator. By placing Explorers in unique environments, they develop problem-solving skills using this framework.
Want to Help?
Mentors commit to two years, minimum, with the program. Each group of Explorers are matched with five mentors. While two years is a big commitment, it understandably takes time and dedication to foster a positive mentorship relationship.
Explore Austin mentor duties include:
- Two- to six-year commitment
- Program participation one Saturday a month during the school year and one week in the summer
- Mentorship for 15 Explorers, alongside four co-mentors
- Willingness to go rock climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, backpacking, and hiking
- Austin residency
- Love for the outdoors
- Be committed and caring
- Experience working with youth
- Willingness to give back to the community
- Natural leadership skills
- Flexible and positive attitude
If you have experience in rock climbing, mountain biking, navigation, canoeing, hiking, or other outdoor adventures, Explore Austin is looking for you!
If you want to learn more about how you can be a part of this wonderful organization, visit the Explore Austin website.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite adventure activity?
The original version of this article was published on June 26, 2014.