Inner City Outings

ICO hike

Courtesy Will Webster


Sierra Club volunteer outings leaders recognize that many youth growing up in urban environments have little or no access to nature due to lack of income, awareness, and skills. In close to 50 cities in the United States, dedicated ICO volunteers take youth who would not otherwise have access to the outdoors on safe and fun wilderness excursions. Many of these youth have never been outside their immediate neighborhoods, let alone into wilderness places.

Inner City Outings Programs in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania chapter has two Inner City Outing (ICO) programs, one in Harrisburg and a second in Philadelphia, and both are part of something larger. Run by Sierra Club volunteers in over 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada, Inner City Outings are community outreach programs for low-income, inner-city youth. By exposing these children to the beauty of nature, the program seeks to instill an appreciation of the natural world while building valuable interpersonal skills through activities such as swimming, hiking, and canoeing.

ICO volunteers are trained and certified in outdoor and safety skills such as CPR and wilderness first aid before they can lead groups on wilderness trips. In addition to conceiving, planning, and organizing the outings, the volunteers also assist in fundraising and partner with local youth and church groups to recruit children for the outings.

You can make a difference

Many ICO participants credit the program with helping them to succeed in school and work toward personal goals. ICO is seeking individuals with an interest in working on sharing nature with children. Volunteers should be capable of committing a few hours or more per month to help with organizational meetings, training events, and outings with children. ICO also needs people to help with administrative functions such as outreach, training, publicity, and fundraising.

Go to the Harrisburg, Philadelphia and National ICO websites for more information about getting involved.