City Kids Wilderness Project is a non-profit organization founded on the belief that providing enriching life experiences for DC children can enhance their lives, the lives of their families and the greater community.

Program Overview

City Kids Wilderness Project is a DC-based nonprofit that provides outdoor programming for 6th-12th grade students over a seven-year timeframe. City Kids uses city, natural, and wilderness settings in DC and Jackson Hole, Wyoming (its home away from home) to achieve its mission to build resiliency, broaden horizons, and develop life skills for the 134 youth it serves. For over 25 years, City Kids has successfully served as a warm and safe place for the DC community, predominantly in Wards 5, 7, and 8 where the majority of City Kids participants live. 

During the school year, you’ll find the City Kids participants on the Billy Goat trail, biking the C&O Canal, sea kayaking in the rivers, swamps and oceans of South Carolina, and rock climbing as close as Sport Rock Indoor Climbing Gym and as far as Shenandoah. During the summer, youth travel to Jackson Hole to participate in summer camp at our ranch Broken Arrow. The summer is filled with camping, horseback riding, backcountry hiking in the Sawtooth and Grand Tetons mountain ranges, kayaking in Yellowstone National Park, and so much more.

In addition to awesome outdoor adventures, the program also provides career exploration and job training for high school youth, as well as community service opportunities and social justice workshops. 

Program Impact

Of the youth who completed City Kids in the last six years:

97% have graduated from high school (DC’s rate is 70%)

92% enrolled in college or other formal programs such as vocational training or the military directly after high school.

93% of youth report they are eager to do well in school and other activities, and

90% of participants report that they think about their purpose in life often,

94% of families said their children more often try again when experiencing failure as a result of City Kids programming.

In addition to awesome outdoor adventures, the program also provides career exploration and job training for high school youth, as well as community service opportunities and social justice workshops. 

Core Values

Joy
We honor the power of play and presence of magic created through community and outdoor experiences. Through connection, creativity, belonging, accomplishment, and time spent outdoors, play deepens to joy.

Effort
Harnessing our personal power for growth and change, we put effort towards our visions and take personal responsibility for our commitments. Whether on the trail or in the office, we know that there is satisfaction to be realized when we try hard and explore the bounds of possibility in service to our mission.

Connection
We recognize our interdependence and nurture meaningful relationships of mutual accountability and care. Centering collectivism versus individualism teaches us that finding resolution, honoring needs, and supporting one another, keeps our community whole. Relationships extend to the animals, plants, places, and cultures around us and we bring awareness and compassion to those encounters.

Preparation
We plan and prepare for the task at hand to set ourselves up for success. This creates clarity and consistency so that those around us feel supported in engaging with new, challenging, and changing experiences.

Evolution
People and organizations blossom over time. We encourage evolution by maintaining awareness of change, honoring what works, improving what we can, and letting go of things that no longer serve our community and mission. Through patience, observation, repetition, revision, and long-term commitment, we are witness to the manifestation of this shared vision.