WYLD formed out of a vision of founding members who wanted to bring accessible, affordable, and meaningful wilderness education to the youth of Los Angeles. Beginning in the summer of 2013, the founders began meeting regularly to form a vision and strategy to create an innovative model organization that would serve Los Angeles youth through a sister school program combined with veteran mentors.
Working with Carver Middle School in Los Angeles, WYLD began offering day-trip and extended trips to middle school youth. In our first year, we served 42 students through our programs. And we took our first group of 15 students camping in Mono Lake in the Sierras in the summer of 2014. Our work with Carver Middle School laid a preliminary foundation for WYLD programming in Los Angeles.
WYLD is governed by our Board of Directors. On July 16, 2014, WYLD received its formal federal tax exemption status as a 501(c)3 organization. Our status provides the fiscal momentum necessary to move forward with our vision to serve Los Angeles youth through wilderness experiences.
In 2015, WYLD served 78 participants throughout the year. 25 of them came on our summer expeditions, they came through our afterschool program 106 times, they came through our day hikes 167 times and we averaged 10 youth a week in our afterschool program. We ran 26 total courses with over 37 course/program days. WYLD served 492 participant program days (the number of duplicated participants multiplied by days on the course (trips/after-school)).
Other 2015 accomplishments include:
Launched a weekly after-school program at Carver Middle School from January 2015 – June 2015 that served 10 students a week and also took the students on day hikes.
Prepared for a January 2016 in-school garden program at Carver to serve 65 students a week.
Developed a relationship with a recovery program within the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration and began to take the vets out on hikes.
Established Vendor Status with Los Angeles Unified School District, in order to work directly on campuses.
Retained 18 students in our program from the previous year.
Took 12 returning students to Mono Lake Association for 5 days.
Partnered with a charter school agency for our first customized program, a backpacking expedition with 10 students. This expedition to the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada Mountains successfully launched our first backcountry trip.