MISSION / VISION / VALUES
WYLD – Wilderness Youth Leadership Diversity
To connect urban youth with wilderness education experiences that foster personal growth.
WYLD operates in Los Angeles. Our iconic palm-lined urban sprawl, once known as “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula,” or… “The town of our lady queen of the angels on the Porciuncula River” harbors all things eclectic: International and multicultural food, people, and experiences; artistic experimentation; top-ranking universities; and the anomaly that arguably makes us the most unique city anywhere: the San Andreas fault – the only visible transform plate boundary in the world! This 800-mile boundary between the Pacific tectonic plate and the North American plate gives us some of the best views, waterfalls, vistas, scientific universities, and yes, hiking trails. There are over 300 trails in the San Gabriel mountains just northeast of downtown, and roughly 4 million people in the county. About 1 million people reside in urban south Los Angeles, an area that is nearly 55% people of color, struggling working class, many of whom don’t have easy access to recreational activities that can enhance self-confidence, learning, and connection to the environment.
WYLD wants to help create a better Los Angeles
By acting upon our values– Wilderness, Youth, Leadership, and Diversity– we aim to connect youth and veterans to different paths. We emphasize experiential education, mentorship, service-learning, and connecting individuals cross-culturally, working primarily alongside youth and veterans.
- WILDERNESS – Sustainability– We are united by the shared responsibility to foster environmental stewardship and to create alternative, healing experiences outside the normal urban context.Through nature, WYLD seeks to promote opportunity for the examination and exposure of new places (internally and externally) to discover and to create realizations through direct experiences and understanding
- YOUTH – WYLDrecognizes that each youth and veteran maintains inherent potential and capability to attain and maintain a thriving life. And that youth is not just a stage in life, but also a mentality of play, health, empathy, inclusion, and fun. We seek to develop a confident understanding of who they are and what they are capable of achieving.
- LEADERSHIP– we believe that leadership carries a significant civic engagement component and is service focused, being other-focused. We believe that youth prosper in meaningful mentor relationships that value leadership, instill compassion, inspire hope and provide a positive role-model for support, guidance, and to help students achieve their personal and academic best.
- DIVERSITY – WYLD desires to facilitate positive community connections in the neighborhoods where we live and through the development of cultural awareness. To provide experiences that show the world, events, and actions to be interrelated and interdependent.
WYLD envisions a city where every youth and returning U.S. Military Veteran is given an opportunity to explore, connect, and discover through nature.
Explore: to examine carefully; to travel to new places (internally and externally)
Connect: to provide experiences that show the world, events, and actions to be interrelated and interdependent.
Discover: to create realizations through direct experiences and understanding.
Explore, connect and discover….
- Themselves: to develop a confident understanding of who they are and what they are capable of achieving.
- Mentors: to maintain a positive role-model to provide support and guidance.
- Nature: to create an alternative, healing experiences outside the normal urban environment.
- Community: to facilitate meaningful changes in the neighborhoods where we live.
WYLD understands that nature provides a powerful classroom for students to come to know themselves, each other, and the greater world. WYLD strives to create a bridge between the urban settings we serve and the wilderness areas in and around Los Angeles and California. WYLD works to help youth successfully progress through secondary and into post-secondary education. WYLD achieves this by providing a Catapult™ program beginning in 6th grade that combines wilderness experiences, service opportunities, and mentorships to youth over the long term. WYLD aims to awaken each child’s potential and capacity to become a successful, beneficial and productive community member.