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MY OUTDOOR COLORADO

My Outdoor Colorado – Westwood 
Nonprofit organizations have partnered to form the MY Outdoor Colorado (MOC) Westwood Coalition, which provides the neighborhood with access to nature education, outdoor recreation and skill-building opportunities. MOC’s goal is to create experiences that foster an appreciation of natural areas and build an ethic of stewardship while exposing participants to potential outdoor careers.

PROGRAMS: Westwood Neighborhood

Outdoor Education | Lincoln Hills Cares

Lincoln Hills Cares offers Outdoor Education, Recreation and STEAM-based programs for school groups of any age in the fall (Aug. – Oct.) and spring (May) seasons at their facility in Black Hawk, CO. Programs and curriculum include archery, botany, Colorado ecology, cultural history, equestrian skills, fly fishing, gold panning, horticulture, navigation, pollinators, survival skills, wetland, watershed and aquatic education, wildlife biology, wildlife tracking and more! Programs can be designed to complement topics being taught in the classroom. 

Register now!

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Learn to Ski & Ride | Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR)

DPR Outdoor Recreation offers annual Learn to Ski & Ride programs to 4th graders from Munroe, Knapp and Castro Elementary schools. These day trip programs are geared towards beginners and include transportation to and from Winter Park, plus all equipment rentals including skis/snowboards, boots, snow pants, gloves, goggles and helmets. Students are divided into small groups for ful-day lessons. Parents and teachers are welcome to chaperone if space allows. Registration is available through the school.

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Challenge Course Outings | DPR

Fifth graders from participating Westwood schools join DPR Outdoor Recreation staff at the Genesee Park Challenge Course for a full day of programming. Students spend the morning in small groups working on problem solving skills, communication and teambuilding. In the afternoon, participants have the opportunity to climb high into the trees while harness and rope safety systems test personal limits on elements, which may include: cargo net, balance beam, swinging and more! Transportation to and from the course is provided. Registration is available through the school.

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SPREE Excursions | The Greenway Foundation

Hands-on environmental education field trips are offered to elementary students in Denver's riverside parks. 

Register now!

Outdoor Adventure Club | Boys & Girls Club

Youth Outdoor Adventure Club includes experiences and field trips including: camping, rock climbing, archery, ice skating, snowshoeing, canoeing, paddle boarding, mountain biking, fishing, geocaching, hiking, backpacking and more! These activities take place in various locations including local, state, and national parks.

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Bicycle Maintenance | Boys & Girls Club

Youth spend six days learning basics of bicycle maintenance and get the opportunity to participate in mountain bike trips. Upon completion of the program, participants get to keep the bike along with a maintenance kit and helmet to support long term use and safety.

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Eco Explorers | The Kiva Center

The Kiva Center’s Eco-Explorers after school program is an outdoor-based class focused on nature connection.  Students explore outdoor spaces in their local community and participate in group activities that encourage friendship, health, community service and fun!  Seasonal activities include gardening, outdoor play, collaborative games, traditional arts and story telling. The program runs throughout the entire school year.

Location:  Castro Elementary School
Ages:  K-5
Visit The Kiva Center - My Outdoor Colorado to register!

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Kepner Prep After School | cityWILD

As a partner in My Outdoor Colorado - Westwood, cityWILD provides free after school programs for youth in the 6th-8th grades at Kepner STRIVE Prep Mon.-Thurs.; 3:45-5:45pm.  cityWILD engages youth in outdoor activities, leadership development and projects to improve their communities.

Download the flyer | Descargue el volante

Download the registration form (PDF) and submit to kim@citywild.org

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Outdoor Education | Lincoln Hills Cares

Outdoor Education, recreation and STEAM-based programs are offered to youth groups May-Oct. at Lincoln Hills Cares' facility in Black Hawk, CO. Programs offered Mon.-Sat. during the summer, on weekends and off-days during the school year. Programs and curriculum include archery, Colorado ecology, cultural history, equestrian skills, fly fishing, gold panning, horticulture, navigation, survival skills, aquatic education, wildlife biology, wildlife tracking and more! Register now!

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Nizhoni Equestrian | Lincoln Hills Cares

The Nizhoni Equestrian program provides youth and teen girls the opportunity to engage in equestrian training throughout the summer. The program encompasses weekly instructional sessions that provide participants with the opportunity to learn various horseback riding and equestrian care skills, with the goal of creating positive and empowering experiences. Register now!

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Youth Outdoor Adventure Excursions | Westwood Unidos

In collaboration with a number of partners, Westwood Unidos coordinates outdoor adventure excursions for Westwood youth who want to hike, backpack, camp, rock-climb, raft, snowshoe, and ski or snowboard.

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Fishing is Fun | Denver Parks & Recreation

Denver Park Rangers offer family programs that teach participants about fishing skills and best practices. Each event is free, drop-in, and includes equipment. All ages and skill levels are welcome.

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SPREE Summer Camp | The Greenway Foundation

A week-long environmental education day camp for elementary school children at Johnson Habitat Park.

Register now!

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Greenway Leadership Corps | The Greenway Foundation

Monthly events for Denver teens, including outdoor adventures, volunteer stewardship projects and environmental career exploration.

Register now!

Outdoor Adventure Club | Boys & Girls Club

Family Outdoor Adventure Club events include Intergenerational Cooking Classes where participants will learn to use fresh produce from the Club’s garden to prepare healthy meals for their family. Other family field trips include the Botanic Gardens, Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Zoo, fishing, hiking and community events in local parks. Visit BGCMD.org or call 303.446.6828 to register.

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Outdoor Education | Lincoln Hills Cares

Outdoor Education, recreation and STEAM-based programs are offered to youth groups May-Oct. at Lincoln Hills Cares' facility in Black Hawk, CO. Programs offered Mon.-Sat. during the summer, on weekends and off-days during the school year. Programs and curriculum include archery, Colorado ecology, cultural history, equestrian skills, fly fishing, gold panning, horticulture, navigation, survival skills, aquatic education, wildlife biology, wildlife tracking and more.

Register now!

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Family Nature Club | Westwood Unidos

Westwood Unidos organizes a Family Nature Club focused on promoting strong family ties, a strong sense of community, and having fun in nature. Being outdoors allows for people to be more creative, develop problem-solving skills and increase self confidence. Through the Family Nature Club, families can participate in outdoor excursions such as camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and local nature stewardship projects. Once families have gained confidence and the necessary skills to participate in outdoor activities, they will have access to our Gear Bank and be able to organize trips for themselves and their neighbors.

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SPREE Campouts | The Greenway Foundation

Family campouts at Johnson Habitat Park hosted by SPREE. Email rachel@greenwayfoundation.org for more information.

Lead/Assistant Teacher for Eco Explorers | The Kiva Center

Kiva Center After School Instructors help foster a love for the outdoors in children of the Westwood community. They are responsible for inspiring curiosity, building confidence and comfort in nature, facilitating teamwork, teaching skills and having fun!

As an Instructor, you'll receive trainings along with ongoing mentorship support in outdoor-based education. Instructors are teamed up to support the program's success.  The ideal candidate has significant experience with children and is enthusiastic, responsible, highly organized, and ready to grow as teachers.

Location: Castro Elementary School
Ages of Youth:  K-5
View available positions & apply:  Visit The Kiva Center - My Outdoor Colorado

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TeamWorks Service Learning | Lincoln Hills Cares

TeamWorks is a summer intensive service learning program that engages diverse groups of youth and young adults ages 16-21 from metro Denver and the Front Range mountain communities. The program integrates paid work experience with education in natural and environmental science, life skills training and career preparation for youth who participate in projects related to conservation, land management, cultural history and civic duty. Register now!

Keep an eye out for seasonal employment opportunities with Lincoln Hills Cares! Positions include program coordinators and assistants, outdoor education interns and fly fishing instructors, and are usually posted on the Colorado Nonprofit Association Job Board in the winter and spring.

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Nature Programs Intern | Westwood Unidos

A paid high school intern will work with Westwood Unidos' Nature Programs team year-round. From helping to manage the gear bank, to general outreach, the intern is an integral part of the team.

Westwood Unidos facilitates the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) which provides a youth perspective to the MOC Coalition and helps promote MOC programs. YAC members have opportunities to participate in outdoor adventure excursions and leadership development activities. 

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Outdoor Education Summer Camp Enrichment Instructor | The Kiva Center

Are you passionate about spending time in the outdoors and working with children?  Do you want to learn more about inspiring environmental stewardship in kids?  The Kiva Center is looking for an enthusiastic mentor to teach at the Westwood Summer Camp 2 days per week throughout the summer.  The ideal candidate has ample experience working with children, exhibits a strong set of skills related to earth science, outdoor games, and traditional arts; and is passionate about designing meaningful learning experiences for kids.

Pay Rate:  $1500 summer stipend (average of $20/hour)
Instructor Schedule: 
Mondays & Wednesdays, 9-11:30AM | June 13 - 27
Mondays & Wednesdays, 9-11:30AM | July 2 - August 1
Mandatory training and planning session in May

For More Information/To apply:  Email thekivacenter@gmail.com

Westwood Unidos

Westwood Unidos’ outdoor gear bank will have everything you need for a successful trip in nature! Once trip leaders participate in a training on how to use the gear and be safe outdoors, families and community groups can sign out camping gear from Westwood Unidos; it works just like a book library. 

 
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Activity Schedule & Registration

Find all programs offered through coalition partners:

MOC programs are possible through Great Outdoors Colorado's Inspire Initiative which aims to connect youth and their families with the outdoors.

 

About the Partners

Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver (BGCMD) serves kids from the ages of 6 to 18 during their out of school hours offering dynamic youth programming. Our Outdoor Adventure Club is a targeted strategy to help advance healthy lifestyles, connect youth to nature, and inspire career paths in the outdoor industry.

To learn more about our Outdoor Adventure Club programming, please contact Frannie Warren, Director of Healthy Lifestyles, by email: FrannieW@bgcmd.org; phone: 303.892.9200; or visit BGCMD.org to register.

Through deep connections with the natural world, cityWILD supports youth in developing their full potential and achieving their wildest dreams. cityWILD’s mission is to engage youth in experiential learning opportunities that boldly address issues of inequity in education, economic opportunity, and access to the outdoors.

Learn more about cityWILD.

The Mission of the Greenway Foundation is to advance the South Platte River and the surrounding tributaries as a unique environmental, recreational, cultural, scientific and historical amenity that uniquely links our City’s past and its future.

This mission will be accomplished by creating ongoing environmental and riparian enhancements; holding property, when needed, in conservation easements; utilizing the River as an outdoor and historical learning resource, hosting free cultural events promoting the relationship between the River and music, art and theatre, providing youth employment opportunities, and by promoting good stewardship through hands-on educational programs.

Learn more about The Greenway Foundation.

 

The Kiva Center's mission is to share educational experiences with youth and families that celebrate our connection with the natural world and promote community empowerment through environmental stewardship.

Learn more about The Kiva Center's MOC offerings.

Lincoln Hills Cares creates unforgettable Colorado experiences for youth by forming a connection to cultural history, science, technology, art and environmental conservation. The program imparts knowledge, encourages thinking and empowers youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity, due to economic, social or family circumstances.

Find more information about Lincoln Hills Cares programming.

 

Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) was founded as Year One, Inc. by Josie Heath in 1992. Rooted in the tradition of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, Year One addressed the employment and educational needs of youth by putting them to work on projects that benefited the community. Primarily focused on conservation and neighborhood improvement, Year One gave youth the chance to earn, learn and serve in their community. In 2000, Year One changed its name to Mile High Youth Corps to better reflect its mission and goals. During its 25-year history, the Corps has successfully transitioned from a small, seasonal, neighborhood-based organization to a comprehensive, year-round regional agency serving 15 counties throughout Metropolitan Denver and the Southern Front Range. MHYC programs are nationally recognized while meeting continued local needs. From recent fires; floods mitigation and restoration efforts to building affordable housing units to lowering water and energy usage in over 20,000 homes, MHYC matches the talents and skills of local youth with the needs of our community.

Find more information on Mile High Youth Corps progrms.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is a nonprofit organization that works to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. As America's largest conservation organization, NWF works with more than 6 million members, partners, and supporters in communities from coast-to-coast to actively educate, develop resources, and promote achievable solutions. 

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation.

 

Westwood Unidos (WU) is an English and Spanish-speaking friendly community-based organization. We focus on the development and enrichment of Westwood and surrounding neighborhoods in Denver through public health and environmental initiatives.  We develop, organize and unify leaders in the Westwood neighborhood to implement the strategic initiatives that residents and community members identify as the most important to improving overall community health, well-being, and infrastructure. 

As part of its mission, WU has identified and established various community-led programs for both children and adults. These programs provide opportunities for learning and education, physical fitness, neighborhood beautification, and community involvement.  We instill residents with a sense of solidarity and kinship to their community and to each other. Our organization is creating a safer and healthier community and providing its youth with a more promising future.

Learn more about Westwood Unidos programming.

 

 

Inspire Grant Components

Park & Trail Improvements:

Westwood Park Re-Imagined

Will create a nature play area with pollinator gardens and a sensory garden for children.

Weir Gulch

Area will be improved with mile markers and interpretive signage along with outdoor seating and classroom area.

Genesee Park

Site enhanced with safer transportation access, vault restrooms, shelter structures, picnic tables and benches for group gathering areas.

Garfield Lake Park

Newly completed bike park offers skills and safety programs provided by coalition partners.

Schoolyard Habitat Gardens

Educators and students learn about ecosystems and how to support local wildlife in Schoolyard Habitats. The National Wildlife Federation offers professional development to teachers from four Westwood schools on engaging students in the use of Schoolyard Habitats. Curriculum will be adapted for community education purposes in Westwood pollinator gardens.

Implemented in 4 neighborhood schools—Kepner, Munroe, Castro, and Knapp

MOC coalition partners provide age-appropriate programming for youth, from pre-school through high school. Opportunities for family participation are also available.

Outdoor adventure education programs include:

  • Challenge courses
  • Learn to ski and snowboard trips
  • Summer camp experiences
  • Family nature club
  • Outdoor gear bank rentals
  • Fishing and bicycling skills classes
  • Nature excursions and campouts
  • Hiking and snowshoe discovery trips
  • Youth and family stewardship projects in neighborhood Places  

Learn more about MOC program details by expanding the panels below!

MOC Pathways focus on exposing youth to outdoor-based career paths through involvement in leadership corps, jobs, paid internships, career fairs and volunteer projects.

"Pathway" offerings fall under the categories: Play; Learn; Work; or Serve:

PLAY

The Greenway Foundation
Ages:
 13-18
Monthly club for Denver youth that offers outdoor adventures, volunteer stewardship projects, and environmental career exploration.

LEARN

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Ages:
 14-18 years
School-year based, 9 month leadership development program that encourages young adults to become enduring environmental stewards. 

Denver Parks & Recreation
Ages:
 12-14
Park Rangers patrolling parks in Westwood will engage 5-12 year olds in stewardship activities so that they can earn their Junior Ranger badge. Westwood Junior Rangers who participate in multiple MOC programs are eligible to compete for a summer internship when they turn 16-17 years old.

Denver Parks & Recreation
Ages: 16-18
DPR is hiring a High School Junior Ranger. Email Park Ranger, Jacob Wells at jacob.wells@denvergov.org for more information.

WORK

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Ages:
 16-18 years
One youth from Westwood is offered a paid 8-10 week internship.

Groundwork Denver
Ages: 12-24 years
Teams of youth are paid to engage in community based improvement projects, urban agriculture, watershed restoration along local creeks and greenways, trips to natural spaces, and career exploration throughout the environment and conservation careers.

Mile High Youth Corps
Ages: 
17-24 years
Paid crew-based environmental rehabilitation and habitat restoration projects. GOCO Inspire funding covers costs for crew projects on Westwood Places projects. Crew members are recruited in Westwood and have additional opportunities outside of the neighborhood.

Westwood Unidos (WU)
Ages: 
All ages
WU offers a youth internship to conduct outreach. The intern is responsible for preparing a printed newsletter distributed to 2,200 children and families. WU also facilitates a Youth Advisory Council on behalf of MOC. The Youth Advisory Council is comprised of MOC interns and helps provide outreach for programming along with feedback on MOC programming and communications.

Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver
Ages:
15-18
Work Gone Wild introduces youth to careers in Natural Resources and other outdoor-related career fields. Teenagers gain employment in BGCMD’s Outdoor Adventure Club as peer leaders.  

SERVE

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)
Ages: 
8-18 years
VOC hosts outdoor stewardship projects with schools and youth-serving organization such as the Boys and Girls Club.

Ages: 8-90 years
Projects specifically available for Westwood families ages 8 and up and are also appropriate for seniors.

Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver
Volunteer projects
Time spent volunteering outside creates connections between youth, their community and environment, and significanty increases their self awareness and ability to work in groups. This leads to greater engagement, stewardship and exposure to different careers and work skills. 

My Outdoor Colorado (MOC) is a visionary approach to connecting youth with the outdoors through strategic partnerships that provide access to nature education, recreation and skill-building opportunities. Access to the outdoors fosters a greater appreciation of the natural environment, provides opportunities to build an ethic of stewardship, and helps youth experience potential careers in the outdoors. The MOC coalition of government, nonprofit and community partners is committed to connecting Denver’s Westwood neighborhood to the outdoors through this pilot program, with the long-term goal of serving the entire city.

Great Outdoors Colorado INSPIRE Initiative
Through a Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) investment, funded in part by lottery funds, the Inspire Initiative seeks to connect youth and their families with the outdoors, developing places to play and connect with the nature; programs that activate those places; and pathways to community stewardship and leadership roles that help maintain them.