BCM & the Foundation for Youth Investment have partnered for the past couple of years to put on a 10 week training program called the Outdoor Educator’s Institute.
The Outdoor Educators Institute develops the next generation of culturally relevant outdoor educators by building competencies and leadership skills in young adults from economically challenged urban communities, specifically those of racially and socio-economically diverse backgrounds. For youth, it provides a clear path to a profession through best-in-class trainings, standardized curriculum, and collaborative field partnership. For the industry, OEI establishes the method by which the next generation of racially and socio- economically diverse outdoor educators are prepared for service.
Here’s a story from one of our recent graduates:
Thank you OEI for opportunities that never reached my community before. For helping me pass barriers and knock down closed doors, because I live in a society that tells me if I make it to the age of 21 without a criminal background I am a success story and that in order to be successful I have to act like the community that I come from didn’t have an impact on me and help to mold me. The truth is I didn’t grow up with my parents my mother passed away when I was three and I didn’t meet my father until he was practically on his death bed and paralyzed on the whole left side of his body. I was raised by my grandmother who was to old to teach a young boy how to be a man especially when she also had to raise my big sister and my female cousins all on a social security check in a one bedroom apartment. She did the best she could. To help her was a host of my crack addicted uncles and aunties who envied the attention she did give me, so its
safe to say life wasn’t the best. Today at age 21 with no criminal background and alive, of course, I am what my neighborhood would call a success story. but that title does more harm than it does justice because everyday when I wake up I don’t feel like a success story, but thanks to OEI I can smile and feel confident that I have a direction to go in, instead of aimlessly wondering through life like I’ve been doing for the last 21 years.
Thank you, Outdoor Educators Institute, and everyone who made this possible.