The Outdoor Youth Connection (OYC)
The Outdoor Youth Connection program trains community teens to connect with their peers through camping. The program builds self-esteem and a sense of empowerment.
A joint project of California State Parks’ Office of Community Involvement, the California State Parks Foundation, and San Francisco State University’s Pacific Leadership Institute, Outdoor Youth Connection (OYC) participants camp for three days and two nights in a state park.
The self-reliant young campers learn to plan and execute team-building and problem-solving games, exercises and activities while training to lead their own outdoor adventures once they return to their community organizations.
OYC alumni are encouraged to organize two service-oriented trips once they return home. The first activity focuses on community service or the expression of arts. Participants may paint murals, fix up buildings and work with younger age groups. The second trip allows alumni to organize their own outdoor activities—perhaps camping on the beach, horse-riding trips or rafting tours. Mini-grants may be available for those future activities.
The California State Parks' FamCamp® program loans all camping equipment for the OYC outings; a resource manual and a regional OYC coordinator provide tools and assistance.