Basementeer Spotlight: Youth Outside

We here at Sports Basement would like to give a very warm welcome to our newest Basementeer beneficiary, Youth Outside. Learn more about how you can get involved and support Youth Outside, from them, in our latest Basementeer Spotlight!


Youth Outside advances racial justice and equity in the outdoor and environmental movement. We shift resources to, build power with, and center the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color because the health of current and future generations demands it. 

We envision a just world where Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color experience safety, health, and abundant joy through meaningful relationships with one another and the outdoors. We know that participating in outdoor programming offers those who have been most impacted by racial injustice a powerful source of healing and growth.

Learn more about Youth Outside 



The Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI) supports the development of the next generation of culturally relevant outdoor leaders by strengthening competencies and leadership skills in young adults who have encountered hurdles or lacked the resources to work in the outdoors. 

For participants, it provides a clear path to a profession through representation and culturally relevant trainings in outdoor skills such as backpacking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, and conservation. Through training passionate young adults, we begin shifting the narrative of the outdoors from one traditionally held solely by people with power and privilege to that of one that includes and embraces people from all walks of life, and reflects the realities of the youth that will become future champions of the earth.

For the field, OEI establishes the method by which the next generation of racially and socioeconomically diverse outdoor educators are prepared for service, creating the opportunity for underrepresented youth to see and identify with people in outdoor education programs who look like them and come from similar backgrounds.

Last fall, we successfully ran three Outdoor Educators Institute cohorts simultaneously, our most ever. In light of COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, our team created an entirely new program with alternating virtual and in-person weekend excursions, maintaining strict safety protocols throughout. We’re looking forward to launching our first-ever spring cohort later this month! 

“OEI has impacted my personal and professional life by showing me a different narrative in which people of color are fierce leaders in the outdoor industry. Through OEI, I gained skills to feel confident leading in the outdoors, learned from other incredible individuals that inspired me, and became part of a large family of educators.”

- Outdoor Educators Institute participant

Learn more about the Outdoor Educators Insitute

The Rising Leaders Fellowship (RLF) supports early- to mid-level professionals within the environmental sector who are motivated to effect culture change within their organizations. RLF builds professional capacity while creating a supportive network of like-minded leaders through a project-based cohort series that focuses on social justice and equity in the outdoors. A cohort of up to 20 fellows is selected to participate in eight monthly sessions plus individual coaching. Fellows are asked to identify opportunities for increased cultural relevancy within their organization and develop a plan of action that addresses one or more identified opportunities. Inside of smaller work groups, fellows serve as peer coaches through this process and present on their efforts and findings at the culminating session.


In response to COVID-19, we were able to quickly pivot and launch the 2020 cohort of RLF entirely online. The members of the cohort served a diverse range of communities that span an impressive geographic footprint across central and northern California. From protecting marshland in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, leading residential nature experiences in Yosemite, or mentoring youth whose lives have been impacted by incarceration, the cohort brought together a valuable array of skills, experiences, and perspectives.

We’ve just begun recruiting for the 2021 cohort and look forward to announcing its participants this spring!

“Rising Leaders Fellowship kept me at my job. I was thinking about leaving because I didn’t feel like anyone else at my workplace was interested in cultural relevancy, and was feeling frustrated and disillusioned. RLF gave me the community and feeling of support I needed to make the choice to stay at my workplace, and the tools to talk to management productively to make changes in our staff trainings and the way we relate to our participants. RLF also gave me a community of like-minded people doing inspiring work, which was a fountain of inspiration and good ideas to take to my work.”

- Rising Leaders Fellowship participant

Learn more about the Rising Leaders Fellowship

Our Cultural Relevancy Series focuses on social and environmental justice, and strengthens the broader outdoor field’s capacity and commitment to practice racial equity, inclusion, and cultural relevancy at all levels. We define cultural relevancy as the ability to effectively reach and engage communities and their youth in a manner consistent with the cultural context and values of that community, while effectively addressing disparities of diversity and inclusion within an organization’s entire structure.

“Youth Outside has given me a toolkit to recognize and address my own unconscious biases, disrupt instances of injustice, and learn effective advocacy and allyship. I am eternally grateful for the impact Youth Outside has had on me as a professional, and more so, a fellow human working towards a more equitable world.”

- Cultural Relevancy Series participant

Learn more about the Cultural Relevancy Series

Our Grantmaking programs provide financial and capacity-building resources to both emerging and established organizations supporting sustainable programming, while broadening environmental opportunities for communities systematically removed and excluded from the outdoor space.  

Now more than ever, our communities’ health and wellbeing depend on having access to the outdoors and a voice in how our land and water are used. But for decades, systemic racism has determined who is welcome in outdoor spaces and whose experiences and voices are valued. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations are on the frontlines of the grassroots work being done to build a better planet but their work is chronically overlooked and underfunded. We know that when our voices are left out, our communities suffer, and our planet does too. With our newly launched Liberated Paths Grantmaking Program, we envision a way to bridge that gap.

Our grantees are rooted within their communities, with the lived experience they need to understand what approaches will work the best for their communities. We support leaders of color to design and lead the types of joyful outdoor experiences and environmental efforts that are most meaningful to them and their communities.

Learn more about grantmaking programs

It’s easy to support Youth Outside’s vision for a just world where Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color experience safety, health, and abundant joy through meaningful relationships with one another and the outdoors. Please consider making a donation through our secure CRM system today.

Leave a comment