T3 & Outing Clubs
WHAT IS T3?
Teens To Trails® (also known as T3®) is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit dedicated solely to increasing the opportunities for teens to experience the out-of-doors. We know teens live healthier happier lives when connected to the natural world. It is our goal to establish an Outing Club in every high school to reach ALL teenagers at this critical time in their lives when they need positive healthy choices the most. T3 is actively supporting high school Outing Clubs across Maine and responding to requests from all over the country on how to start and support high school Outing Clubs.
WHAT'S AN OUTING CLUB?
High School Outing Clubs can be the most effective and efficient means for getting teens active outside. Sometimes called "outdoor clubs" or "outdoor adventure programs" and often lead by teachers, Outing Clubs introduce high schoolers to a variety of outdoor people-powered pursuits throughout the school year, such as hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking. These adventures enable students to acquire skills and confidence in outdoor settings, discovering the natural world while they learn about themselves. These teens gain a sense of independence and self-reliance that will follow them through life. Outing Clubs provide safe access to the outdoors to ALL students regardless of prior experience or financial need. WHY OUTDOOR TIME IS CRITICAL
WHY DO WE NEED T3?
Through the promotion of Outing Clubs, T3 is raising awareness that “unstructured” time spent in the out-of-doors is not just leisure time -- it’s an essential investment in our children’s health. Where high school Outing Clubs already exist, teens are enthusiastic participants and the school system provides an umbrella within which to operate. Increasingly, school communities are recognizing the benefits of introducing their students to healthy lifelong outdoor recreation. However, we hear concerns from potential Outing Club advisors that their comfort level in leading trips is low & they feel limited by their safety training. We hear from schools that transportation budgets are tight, students do not have proper clothing, or they lack the specialized gear sometimes required to support Outing Club activities. It is not surprising that teachers and school administrators hesitate to tackle these roadblocks on their own.
Since 2007, Teens To Trails has been building tools, resources and support programs to help start and sustain Outing Clubs. T3 also brings Outing Clubs and Outing Club leaders together for mutual support, allowing them to learn from each other while they identify & tackle common hurdles. OUR SUPPORT PROGRAMS
To supplement our programs, T3 has developed a statewide network of support through our T3 Partners. OUR T3 PARTNERS
With ever-changing school policies and the inevitable turnover of student leaders & adult advisors, high schools can look to Teens To Trails for stability and continuing assistance. We will build Outing Club numbers until outdoor experiences are built into school curriculums and outdoor adventure programs become institutionalized in high schools everywhere!