Presenter: Larry D. McKinney

Commission Agenda Item No. 6
Outdoor Kids
January 2000

I. DISCUSSION: Outdoor Kids is a program initiated two years ago as a pilot to meet several needs identified in a Department wide assessment of education and outreach. The objective is not to create a new program, but enhance existing ones. The internal goals of Outdoor Kids is to foster integration of Department outreach programs and activities to: assure they have a sound educational base, that they include a component to evaluate effectiveness, and that opportunity is created for kids to participate in the broadest range of outreach offered by TPWD. The external goals are to provide outdoor opportunities for kids, build a foundation for good citizenship, and grow a generation of kids who understand the Texas outdoors ands use it wisely.

In the first year of the pilot 54 different TPWD outreach activities joined under the umbrella of Outdoor Kids and over 5,000 kids participated. This year the number of kids will likely triple and strain our ability to meet demand, a welcome concern because of what it says about the success of the program.

Outdoor Kids is a Lone Star Legacy project of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. A key element of ensuring the success of Outdoor Kids is building partnerships ðB both financial and programmatic. The funding to expand Outdoor Kids will come from the former and partners like the boy and girl scouts, 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, and others will comprise the latter. If anticipated partnerships are secured the Outdoor Kids will: reach 1 out of every 3 Texans under the age of 14; generate a dollar of community in-kind service for every dollar spent; and, triple the number of existing partnerships and volunteers working on youth outreach with TPWD.