At Wilderness Inquiry we’re always looking for more ways to connect families and youth to the outdoors. In an effort to expand outdoor access, we partnered with Tickets for Kids – a non-profit that provides free access for low-income and at-risk youth to attend cultural and educational events in their communities. Through partnerships with youth-serving organizations across the U.S., Tickets for Kids strives to make trips to museums, concerts, ball games, science centers, zoos, and more part of every youth’s childhood experience regardless of their background.
Wilderness Inquiry’s connection with Tickets for Kids began with an outreach about our virtual youth programming. We quickly discovered a synergy between the two organizations and opened our online Mississippi River Explorers program to Tickets for Kids groups and received great feedback from educators and students alike.
[Mississippi River Explorers] was very informative. The students had a lot of great questions, and the activities were interesting and kept the students and myself engaged…thank you for the experience!
After a successful first partnership, we broadened our virtual scope and offered access to our Boundary Waters virtual programming as well.
Thank you to the donors for providing me the opportunity to learn more about the Boundary Waters. The pictures of the area and educational information of this program were super exciting to experience. I have lived in MN for the major part of my life and didn’t know that BWCA stood for Boundary Water Canoe Area and found through the training that this is because the main way of traveling through the Boundary Waters is via canoe. I also learned about portaging the canoe between the waterways. So many of the views and landscapes were so beautiful and awe-inspiring and the feeling of peace and calm that comes from being there even if only through pictures was amazing. The size of the space there was hard to comprehend but the activity of placing in cities colored by their outlines was really helpful to put into a perspective how large it really is. Thanks again for your support in making these kinds of experiences available to the Kids N Kinship program. It really means a lot and without your generosity these learning adventures would be missed!
The students wished they could go to the BWCA and are now dreaming of doing so in the future! It was fun to do the activities outside of the school and pretend we were portaging a canoe. They have talked about it nonstop and really appreciated the opportunities.
After reading testimonials from youth about how they hoped to go to the BWCA after learning about it, we approached Tickets for Kids to partner for our in-person programming as well.
We started small with a few families joining us on St. Croix Base Camp and Paddling Adventures in June. These kinds of immersive adventures provide an introduction to the outdoors and help build confidence and connection for families.
My son had a great time camping. What he was most excited about was learning how to cook and helping cook the meals. The trip guide taught him how to properly cut things and cook certain foods and that inspired him to start cooking at home. He also had a great time learning how to fish! I don’t know how to do that so I couldn’t teach him. The guide taught him how and he caught several fish. I have a Traumatic Brain Injury so going on a trip like this really helped me, with Wilderness Inquiry planning and packing everything. Thank you so much!
In July we branched a bit further from the Twin Cities and hosted a group of students in the Boundary Waters, bringing their learning journey full circle into the outdoor spaces they learned about virtually this past spring.
We are so grateful for the opportunity that Tickets for Kids gave our family and the teenagers that we brought with us. No one in our group had been canoeing or to the Boundary Waters and we all learned so much and had so much fun. A Forest Service Ranger explained the history of the National Forest System and explained all that goes into protecting the Boundary Waters. We all learned how to canoe safely and enjoyed gorgeous days on Crescent Lake and a hike to Carlton Peak with beautiful views of Lake Superior. Tickets for Kids gave us the opportunity to get to know the teenagers we brought with us and mentor them in a way we never could have afforded.
Wilderness Inquiry is excited to continue this partnership in 2022 and beyond. We have plans to engage with youth and families in a progression of experiences through day trips, overnight camping, and extended adventures that help foster connection to the outdoors while building life skills and self confidence.