Learn About Adventure Crew’s Beginnings!
A Teacher’s Vision
In 2012, a teacher at Hughes High School in Cincinnati Public Schools had an idea: what would happen if he took students on an outdoor adventure? Soon after, a small group of local teens and teachers from Hughesl ventured out on the Little Miami River for a five-mile float, sharing canoes, lunch, and a transformative experience.
Since that first paddling trip almost 11 years ago, Adventure Crew has grown to serve a roster of 800+ youth in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky each year through partnerships with 27 public junior and senior high schools, providing outdoor adventures for city teens at no cost. Our adventures include kayaking and canoeing, hiking, ropes courses, skiing and snowboarding, ice and roller skating, rock climbing, camping, and cycling on natural and paved trails. Environmental education and stewardship is woven into our programs, where students learn about the ecology of land and water habitats, conservation, and a variety of specialized topics such as ornithology, plant and tree identification and environmental justice.
Where We Are Now
Our programs are evolving from our gateway Saturday adventures to offer increasingly specialized, small-group experiential learning called the Crew Pathways. Once a student has attended one Saturday adventure with their school, they are eligible to rise to the next tier and from there, grow from each scaffolded program level to the next, with a total of four Pathways levels.
Our tagline, “Outdoors for All,” is our commitment to growth and adaptation to the ever-changing social and environmental landscape. Our most recent strategic plan is establishing our map for Adventure Crew’s emerging objectives in youth leadership development, workforce preparedness, deepening mental health and wellbeing and expanding inclusion, access, equity and belonging beyond definitions of race and economic level to include adaptive support for those with physical disabilities and neurodivergence, language support for English language learners, and exploring affinity groups to provide safety and community for vulnerable populations. As our strategic direction summary states, “Adventure Crew will be known as an organization committed to equity, belonging, and inclusion, transforming who accesses the outdoors by nurturing the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts who exemplify the diversity of our city. These individuals will be empowered with the knowledge to recreate, work in and protect nature.”