Presidio of San Francisco (January 27, 2009) - The biggest classroom in San Francisco is preparing to welcome another popular program serving Bay Area teens. The Presidio Trust is pleased to announce a new partnership with Outward Bound (www.outwardbound.org) that will provide outdoor educational opportunities at the Presidio to underserved local youth. For more than 20 years, Outward Bound has been using wilderness adventures to help kids develop self-reliance, leadership, teamwork, and community service.
"This is a perfect partnership," says Michael Boland, director of planning, park projects and programs for the Presidio Trust. "Outward Bound's exceptional program is exactly what the Trust envisions the Presidio hosting in this urban national park. Our goal is that every child in San Francisco will have a meaningful experience here. The Presidio is a true outdoor classroom."
Two newly renovated buildings above the Presidio's Baker Beach are home to a new "Outward Bound Bay Area Center." Instructors will use the buildings as an administrative headquarters and to host orientation sessions with students before they begin their adventures - including hiking and camping - throughout the rest of the park as well as San Francisco and more remote wilderness areas.
"From the outset, the Trust has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new center," says Woody Scal, co-chair of Outward Bound's board of directors. "They saw how well it aligned with the mission of the Presidio to connect Bay Area kids to the natural environment and to use outdoor adventures as a means for kids to develop into stronger individuals and leaders. That's exactly what Outward Bound aims to do."
"Outward Bound's focus on using the landscape to nurture the development of young people goes to the heart of the Presidio," adds Boland. "It builds on the Presidio's history as a military post, where young people once came to train before heading overseas, and it contributes to its future as a national park."
Plans call for two dozen one- and five-day programs using the Presidio's landscape, trails, and open spaces. The park will also serve as a jumping off point for adventures in other parts of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Outward Bound expects more than 300 students to take part this year alone.
"We feel very fortunate to be in the heart of the Presidio, with its incomparable natural setting and cultural resources," says Scal. "We're a short hike to the Rob Hill Campground, the Coastal Trail, Baker Beach, Crissy Field, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Still, we're easily accessible by public transportation. And for our longer expeditions it's an easy ride to the amazing natural venues in Marin."
To Scal, the Presidio partnership is about "more than just finding a good home for our headquarters. There's a real two-way commitment," he says.
Outward Bound will join about 17 youth-serving organizations already located in the Presidio, including the YMCA, Bay Kids, and First Graduate. Through the Camping at the Presidio program, children and youth who traditionally have not visited national parks enjoy overnight camping experiences.
"Outward Bound is going to play an active role in the public life of the Presidio," says Boland. The organization has committed to contributing significant hours to trail maintenance and native plant restoration. And, Scal says, he expects to partner with other groups in the Presidio that provide programs and development opportunities to Bay Area youth.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District.
Outward Bound, founded in 1941 by educator Kurt Hahn, is a non-profit educational organization that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through challenging learning expeditions that focus on character development, leadership, and service. Outward Bound helps individuals and teams achieve their potential, inspires self-discovery and develops leadership skills needed to serve others in their community and care for the world around them. Outward Bound serves 70,000 students annually and has a nationwide community of more than 1 million people.www.outwardbound.org"