City Kids’ Core Values are the principals we use to guide our work. From our programming to making decisions for the future of the organization, these five values are incorporated into everything we do.
Message from our
I have a distinct childhood memory of a spot where I felt invincible. It was underneath two huge holly trees in my backyard. When I walked underneath the branches, I was enveloped by a canopy; the space felt vast and removed from the outside world. The prickly leaves were my shield and the green, brown, and red colors of the leaves and limbs served as an exterior camouflage. It was the perfect spot for official “clubhouse”meetings, a shady respite from the blistering DC summer heat, and a refuge for my best friend and me to retreat over the twelve years we used it.This summer, I spoke to countless campers of all ages in the City Kids program and felt heartened to hear them describe their time as part of this community, in theirDC and Jackson “homes,” in similar ways. It left me with a profound determination to thoughtfully care for and nurture the relationships, the sense of place, and the ongoing feeling of belonging and security that grows as a result of time spent with City Kids year after year.
In Fall 2022, City Kids launched a strategic plan that sought to reclaim why the organization was created to begin with: to build resiliency, broaden horizons, cultivate community, and develop skills for success in DC youth. The organization and everyone connected to it spent our time, energy, and resources nurturing relationships, and building strong systems, processes, and programs that allow youth and staff to meaningfully grow and evolve. And, we gave ourselves permission to release from that which did not. This Annual Report shares the story of what can happen when you stay laser focused on initiatives that are relevant to the current needs of youth, that develop and retain quality talent, and that allow us to measure how effective our investments are in meeting our mission. In this Annual Report, we are celebrating the great strides we are making toward achieving the three-year goals we’ve set against our highest priorities.
Thank you for the investments you continue to make to ensure City Kids participants build connections with each other, positive adults, and the treasured recreational lands they utilize in both DC and Jackson Hole. Your contributions are helping to provide opportunities for youth to create lasting memories about places and people who provide retreat, resilience, and reformation.
“This Annual Report shares the story of what can happen when you stay laser focused on initiatives that are relevant to the current needs of youth, that develop and retain quality talent, and that allow us to measure how effective our investments are in meeting our mission.”
Our program is based around three core principles: long-term youth engagement, outdoor adventure and experiential education programming, and goal setting with a focus on future planning. Youth develop a positive self-identity by overcoming challenges, building strong relationships with peers and adult mentors, and exploring personal possibilities.
Post Secondary Success
Connection to the Outdoors & Skill Mastery
City Kids Satisfaction
Staff recruit sixth grade youth attending DC public schools. During this applicant period, City Kids is looking for a child’s willingness to try new things; their cohesion with other youth, and a general excitement about the outdoors. Out of the 50+ youth applying to the program, 21 youth are selected.
Be Courageous and Compassionate
Beginning with summer camp in Jackson, first year participants broaden their world view by experiencing a new place away from home. As the school year begins, a strong focus on using local, outdoor spaces to set goals, try new things, increase self-knowledge, and appreciate other people and experiences. This prepares youth to apply what they have learned at City Kids inside and outside of school.
Outdoor Adventures Include
In their 3rd year in the program, participants spend longer amounts of time in the backcountry, allowing them to deepen their hard skills mastery, connection to the wild spaces & connection to one another.
Outdoor Adventures Include
Find your Personal Power
In their fourth & final year of camper programming, participants explore their own agency in creating positive change in their communities through a week of social justice activities & conversations. They finish their session with new personal & group challenges – outdoor rock climbing and whitewater kayaking.
Outdoor Adventures Include
Create your Vision
Year-round training opportunities lay the foundation for transferable job skills, and future-focused planning provides youth with a clear road map after high school.
JET Opportunities Include
Alumni receive check-ins and support for at least two years after completing the program and are eligible for:
Vanessa Romero’s experience with City Kids in 2003 played a pivotal role in shaping her adulthood, influencing her journey as a parent. Now, 20 years later, she is passing on the legacy of adventure and personal development to her 13-year-old daughter, Alejandra, who is now in her second year with City Kids.
One year after the launch of City Kids three year strategic plan, our staff and board agree: we’re on track and staying accountable to the plan.
Calendar Year 2022
January 1, 2022 – December 1, 2022
City Kids experienced significant growth in line with its 2022-2025 Strategic Plan in 2023, bringing on new staff and expanding programming to pre-pandemic levels in both Washington, DC and Jackson, Wyoming. We are grateful for the continued support of our incredible donors and City Kids’ Board of Directors, whose investment in the Strategic Plan through use of reserves will increase both our impact and our fundraising capabilities in the coming years.
Foundations & Corporations $498K
Federal & State $258K
Cabin Rental $51K
Investment Loss $378K
Management & General $491K
City Kids Wilderness Project is incredibly grateful to our donor community who sustained their commitment and sought out giving opportunities. A deep and heartfelt thank you to our many donors, whose generous support makes it possible every day for imaginations to be sparked, self-confidence to grow, and wilderness areas to be explored. Your support of City Kids has simply blown us away, and we are so grateful for your continued commitment to our youth.