The North Face Explore Fund Helps Get Youth Into Our National Parks - You Can Too

We're excited to be a recipient of a 2016 Explore Fund grant from The North Face. This grant allows us to take youth in our Mountain Workshops to North Cascades National Park!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 29, 2016

We are thrilled to announce The Mountaineers is a recipient of a 2016 Explore Fund grant from The North Face. The North Face selected a total of 45 nonprofits - out of hundreds of applications - that engage their participants in opportunities to inspire a lifelong love of the outdoors.

Giving young people the opportunity to experience the benefits of an active, outdoor lifestyle regardless of background is core to the mission of our youth programs. The $15,000 Explore Fund Grant will benefit one of our partners in Mountain Workshops, our youth program that runs in partnership with other youth serving agencies. Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) provides mentorship and empowerment programs for immigrants and women of color, ages 13-18. Using the grant, we will be taking them to North Cascades National Park as part of their 2016/2017 Mountain Workshops program.

Many of the participants have grown up just a few hours from the National Park, but few, if any, have ever visited the park, let alone left the comfort of the city for outdoor exploration.

For this Mountain Workshop, Y-WE participants will engage in a series of outdoor activities that introduce new skills and abilities. Program days will include hiking, snowshoeing, climbing, a camping overnight and more while integrating Leave No Trace principles into each experience in North Cascades National Park and other outdoor locations.

In addition, in partnership with Mountaineers Books and the Burke Museum in Seattle, Y-WE youth will visit Wild Nearby, an immersive exhibit that allows visitors to experience the rich history of North Cascades National Park. Each youth will also receive a copy of Mountaineers Books’ Day Hiking in North Cascades by Craig Romano and The Adventure Gap by James Edward Mills, giving youth books to turn to during and at the end of their program.


Despite research proving the benefits to one's health and well-being brought on by leading a healthy, active lifestyle, research has also shown that the number of youth who experience the outdoors and the amount of time spent in it has dropped dramatically over the years.

In a recent op-ed in Outside Magazine, Todd Spalletto, CEO of The North Face wrote:

“In a typical week, only 6 percent of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own and kids 8 to 18 spend an overwhelming 53 hours a week using entertainment media. It is our responsibility—as parents, teachers, mentors, and leaders—to introduce more people to the outdoors so they will forge indelible bonds with their environment and, in turn, become protectors of our parks and wild spaces for generations to come.”

We couldn’t agree with this sentiment more! In 2010, we launched our youth programs to provide opportunities for youth, families and the underserved to have reoccurring experiences in the outdoors. Our programs are designed to introduce youth to outdoor activities including hiking, camping, kayaking and more while developing their skills in trust and confidence and deepening their appreciation toward our wild places.

Mountain Workshops youth from Middle College hike Rattlesnake, May 2015


In celebration of the National Parks Centennial, we’ve launched Our Parks | Your Adventure a choose-your-challenge fundraising event to inspire outdoor enthusiasts to take on adventures in our National Parks while raising funds to get youth outside. Your support in this effort will allow us to further the impact of the Explore Fund grant from The North Face by providing more youth in our programs with outdoor experiences in our National Parks! Through Our Parks | Your Adventure, we hope to raise $40,000 between July 1 and September 5, 2016! 


Since the launch of our Mountaineers’ youth programs, we’ve connected over 8,700 youth from all backgrounds (60% are kids who wouldn't otherwise have outdoor opportunities) to the outdoors to inspire a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle. We hope to cultivate this generation of stewards of our public lands and waterways. With your participation in Our Parks | Your Adventure, you will help us continue to connect thousands more kids to the outdoors and to the National Parks that belong to us all.

Click here to read the full press release announcing our partnership with The North Face for the Explore Fund Grant.

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Jill Armitage
Jill Armitage says:
Fri, Jul 1, 2016 9:56 AM

Congratulations on the North Face Explore Fund grant and partnering with Y-WE to increase your impact. Getting youth outside has such a high value in so many regards. Thank you for your efforts and keep up the good work!

Leone Kraus
Leone Kraus says:
Tue, Jul 5, 2016 10:28 AM

Thanks so much for commenting, Jill! We're really excited about this new partnership!