Four Strategic Priorities
Tuition Assistant Program - Making sure every student, regardless of their ability to pay, can attend Outdoor Lab. Making Outdoor Lab low or no cost to as many students in Jeffco as possible. The Foundation will specifically allocate funds based on each school's free and reduced lunch populations and the associated tuition gaps each school faces as a result.
- During the 20-21 school year, the Foundation directed over $215,000 in grants to 36 neighborhood schools. These gifts fully supported 1,400 sixth-grade students who qualify for free and reduced lunch to attend Outdoor Lab. In addition, the Foundation supported 590 students who do not qualify for free and reduced lunch, making the total number of students directly served through the Tuition Assistance Program 1,990. The funding allowed local schools to direct their limited budgets to ensure every child in their care could attend. In total, nearly 5,000 students experienced Outdoor Lab in the 2020-2021 school year.
Intern Stipend Program - Intern Stipend Program - Easing the burden of the Outdoor Lab Sites by increasing intern pay to make the internship experience more attractive and relevant for more students.
- Interns are the backbone of the program, guiding students in stewardship of themselves, their community, and the environment. Each year 40 young adults serve as interns – ten per site per semester. Some interns even return for a second semester and serve as senior leaders. Being an intern comes with many responsibilities, all aimed at preparing students with hands-on experience to set them up for future success. Interns instruct classes of 6th-grade students, often co-teaching with classroom teachers and high school leaders. In addition, they manage daily operations at the sites, maintain facilities, lead flag ceremonies, and do many other important tasks. Each year, the Outdoor Lab Foundation commits $20,000 to fund 20 stipends for interns. Moreover, we work with Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) to ensure that each student earns 3 credit hours in their Outdoor Education Program.
High School Leaders Program - Investing in the caring young adult mentors who are vital to executing curriculum in the field. Supporting their efforts to earn scholarships and academic credit while taking part in a meaningful professional development experience.
- Every Outdoor Lab experience incorporates an important mentorship component and requires the time and talents of many High School Leaders. In fact, over 1,000 High School Leaders are recruited each year. The High School Leader Program is foundational to the Outdoor Lab experience as we rely on the passion and dedication of these young adults to work in small groups with students to deeply engage in the curriculum and support them through the challenges of a first-time wilderness experience. We strive to outfit our High School Leaders with hoodies and other important outerwear to feel recognized and thanked for their volunteerism. In addition, we invite every High School Leader to apply for one of three, $2,000 college scholarships to advance their post-secondary education goals.
Site Support Program - Ensuring the teachers have the materials and supplies to implement fun and impactful programming, and that Clinics have the outerwear and resources they need to keep every student warm, dry, safe, and feeling welcome on site.
- Providing appropriate outerwear and gear is one of the biggest hurdles to getting our students out and enjoying Outdoor Lab. If a student is cold, or wet, or sunburned, they are not going to want to engage in the curriculum so supplying the gear, materials, and supplies to maximize a student's physical and emotional safety is key. We garner donations of clothing, boots, and other important equipment from our supporters and the outdoor industry so that every child has what they need. Moreover, the Foundation purchases materials and supplies for teachers to impart lessons in the field, pays for important maintenance projects to buildings and facilities and engages in master planning processes to realize new capital construction projects on the sites.