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Meet TrailsforYouth.Org

DWR is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success through Virginia’s great outdoors!

TrailsforYouth.Org (TYO), started in the mid-1990’s and formalized operations in 2002 in Springfield, VA. TYO provides a pathway of programs and removes barriers for under-served primarily Hispanic youth to learn and engage in outdoor recreation, exploration and learning. Through our programs these youth garner a greater appreciation and connectivity to their local nature areas. Our mentors and programs highlight how they can be stewards of the environment and help family and friends to enjoy their local nature areas. Through a myriad of recreational tools, we impart important life lessons that boost overall health and wellness in these under-served youth from our local marginalized communities.

Describe how your organization or program connects the Hispanic community to the outdoors and/or wildlife in Virginia?

Partnering with our local title-1 elementary schools that report an overall Hispanic population of over 60% on average from each school, we provide after-school clubs and weekend nature-based programming such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing and kayaking. This pathway of programs provides hundreds of hours of physical activity and mentoring on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and demonstrates the joys and benefits of being active outdoors. By overcoming obstacles on the trails and learning new outdoor recreation hobbies and skills, they gain confidence that help them overcome obstacles in their daily lives. Our programs provide a boost in overall health and self-esteem. By removing barriers that prevent these youth from engaging in local nature areas, we provide opportunities for them to embrace and incorporate outdoor recreation into their lives and family activities. We have seen youth from our programs lead parents, grandparents, siblings and many other family members to the local parks to enjoy the outdoors. Through our programs, youth are given the tools to succeed and help to grow the love of being outdoors and active in activities that are both traditional from within their culture and some that are brand new to experience.

Describe how the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has supported your organization or program and the impact it has had.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources was instrumental in our ability to incorporate a more robust introductory fishing program into our yearly program offerings. With the funds awarded by the Virginia Wildlife Grant Program, TYO was able to increase our fishing opportunities for our program youth, hire local fishing counselors to mentor youth, participate in a local fishing derby, visit several local fishing locations and we will organize a local community based small derby for our diverse community. These funds have allowed us to provide more opportunities for local Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) youth of all ages to learn and embrace fishing as a life-long hobby. Several times we have heard many of the youth state they are going to bring their family back to show them how to fish and fish together.

Provide a brief story or real-life example that showcases the impact your efforts have had on the Hispanic community.

Axel Munoz joined us for the first time this year. He has watched his older cousin join in our programs for many years and it was finally his time. He started with some basic outdoor bike skills classes. Then we introduced him to our fishing program. He loved it! At every opportunity he joined in and fished as long as he could. He told his mom and younger brothers and sisters about fishing. In halted English, his mom asked if the younger ones could try too. We happily showed each one how to cast, what to look for and then how to reel in their first fish! Each was all smiles as they continued to catch fish. Axel said they were going to come back with his Dad another day to show him how they all caught fish. Axel continues to participate at all available outdoor events and his younger siblings are now waiting until they are older to join in the fun too!

Provide information on how people can support your organization.

Please consider a donation to support our efforts of connecting our local BIPOC under-served youth so they can experience the joys and health benefits that come from being active in our local nature areas. We appreciate all levels of support! Please visit or Network for Good.

Para obtener más información sobre el Departamento de Recursos de Vida Silvestre de Virginia y las oportunidades de caza, pesca y recreación al aire libre que existen en Virginia, mire este video.

Click here for our visitor's guide to DWR properties for all the info you need to make sure your adventure is a successful one.
  • September 15, 2022