Help Take a Group of Homeless Youth on Their First Backpacking Trip

We need basic outdoors gear to make it work

Jun 2, 2016
Outside
Outside Magazine
Help Take a Group of Homeless Youth on Their First Backpacking Trip

A group of friends enjoys a backpacking trip together. This is the kind of experience anyone can benefit from, and which should be available to everyone.    Photo: Chris Brinlee Jr.

IndefinitelyWild

IndefinitelyWild is a lifestyle column telling the story of adventure travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there, and the people we meet along the way. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In late July, I plan to take a group of 10 young homeless people from LA to the High Sierra for their first-ever backpacking trip. Hopefully, the experience will help show them a world outside the city they’ve never seen, while endowing them with new-found confidence and perspective. But to make it work, I need your help outfitting them with basic backpacking gear. 

I’m planning the trip in conjunction with the Los Angeles Youth Network. LAYN was founded in 1985 to “empower abused, neglected, and troubled adolescents to become self sufficient.” They give young people a safe space to live, therapy, and guidance, enabling them to become successful adults. 

For this first trip, we’re planning a three-day, two-night backpacking excursion into the Sierra Nevada, camping above 10,000 feet. I hope to teach the kids some basic outdoors skills like orienteering, cooking, and first aid, but mostly I just hope we all have a fun time. If we do, this could be the start of a larger program. 

Of course, to make this work, I also need to outfit 15 people with basic outdoors gear. Do you have an old tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, or backpack going spare? We could use it. This stuff doesn't need to be fancy, or new, but hopefully it will be in useable shape, and of the general type you'd carry on a backpacking trip. 

Items we need: 

  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping pads
  • Backpacking tents
  • Backpacking packs
  • Puffy jackets and vests in various adult sizes

If you’re able to donate one or more of those items, please ship it by July 1, 2016, to: 

Wes Siler
C/O Los Angeles Youth Network
1853 Taft Ave
Los Angeles, CA
90028 

Everything will be used for the benefit of these homeless youth; if we end up with too much stuff, it’ll roll into future programs. 

You’ll be reading about the trip here on IndefinitelyWild. 

Filed To: Indefinitely Wild

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