contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

We're excited to hear what you're up to!  

P.O. Box 347171
San Francisco


We are a growing NETWORK of local organizations using training and outdoor gear libraries to help connect kids to the outdoors across America. 

Become a Member Program

Interested in starting a program in your region?  

Ready to train teachers and youth development professionals in the outdoor leadership skills they need to get youth outdoors safely?  Want to provide schools and youth serving organizations with a GEAR LIBRARY and other support to get youth outdoors?  Or, are you already doing part of this?  If so, we want to talk with you! 

We can work with existing organizations and agencies to plan and implement a program, help grow existing programs, or advise and assist you in starting a new program. 

If you want some help in building a program, learn more about our consulting services. 

Before Applying , please read!

Two Member Types:

  • Model members: programs include both gear library And Outdoor Leadership Training components. 

  • Rising Members: PROGRAMS INCLUDE just one of the two Core Program Services.  These members May have A gear library OR some form of in-field programming, but work with others within their community to provide the full package. 


Basic criteria for member programs:

Our network supports a “Training-and-Support” Program Model - Member Programs understand and commit to the philosophy behind the program model of training and supporting local adult teachers and youth workers to independently lead outdoor experiences for their youth because:  Youth gain the most benefit when trips are led by the adults that know them best, enabling them to integrate the outdoor experience back into their lives at home; Many more youth get out on trips than could be taken out just by program affiliate trip leaders; Therefore, youth trips are led by participant school or program teachers/staff/volunteers trained by the Affiliates (i.e. youth trips are not exclusively led by affiliate program staff). 

Organization - Member Programs are (or will become/ are a program of) not-for-profit organizations, schools, universities or government agencies (e.g. Parks and Rec Departments) and are committed to sustaining the program long-term;  Have or will bring on staff/volunteers who possess expertise and experience in outdoor leadership and youth development, and have the appropriate training and certification to instruct.

Services Working in the “Train and Support” program model, Affiliates provide these foundational services: Outdoor leadership skills courses focused on wilderness travel and/or camp-craft; and Operate one or more gear libraries that training graduates may access to borrow equipment.    (The Network may consider a program for membership that offers just one of these services and partners with another organization or program that offers the other service.)  Programs are also encouraged to provide additional supports (skill building workshops, mini-grants, etc.) to help training graduates successfully take youth outdoors.

Record Keeping and Reporting – Have or will develop effective systems to keep records and track both graduates of their programs and basic information on the youth those graduates take on outdoor trips. Aggregate information will be shared back to program affiliates for use in marketing, fundraising, program improvement and development of best practices. Defining and tracking shared metrics across the Network is a priority as we strive to increase our collective impact; the data that programs supply is essential to that effort.

Building the Network - Commit to helping grow the Network as a collaborative community.  This includes, but is not limited to, regular engagement with OEN Staff and other Network member staff to learn and share learning; support in planning of the annual National Summit for member programs; self organizing committees or topic groups to discuss operations, curricula, risk management, diversity and inclusion, etc.


Application Process and Timing

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed by OEN's Advisory Council, made up of Member Program staff, along with the OEN Executive Director. 

Most programs with existing structure and capacity (a space to store gear, employees, fundraising systems) have required an average of six months of preparation and discussion before they are ready to become an affiliate.  Organizations starting from "scratch" will take well over a year to organize and get off the ground. Most organizations will engage us in a consulting contract to support their initial program development.  They then become a Network  Member organization when they begin programming.  Some communities have partnered with local outdoor shops to increase access to gear.

The "Member Program Milestones" document will help you consider what a community timeline looks like, and what milestones are reached along the way to starting a program.  Weather the program is in Chicago, or Little Rock, San Francisco or Schenectady, these milestones all apply.  


The best first step if you are interested is to give us a call (415-516-9919) and let us know a little about who you are, and how you envision bringing a program to your region.  If we've talked already ,and you're ready to fill out the application, please download and send it to us when you're ready.  Thanks for reading!!!  

Got questions? Email or call us. 


Membership Application