Share the experience of nature and environmental education with local inner city youth! Through San Diego ICO, urban youth are provided the opportunity to discover the beauty of wild places, develop an appreciation for nature, and acquire skills to enjoy these places safely.

Who are we?

Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club dedicated to helping urban youth discover the outdoors.  ICO provides adult supervision, equipment, food and transportation for exploring local natural treasures in San Diego County, hosting camping trips in the surrounding mountains and desert, and distant adventures to places such as Joshua Tree National Park and Sedona, Arizona.

San Diego ICO is completely volunteer run.  All activities are free for the children, and donations directly fund adventures for the kids, who come from our partner agencies (check our agencies page for more details).

Why is this important?

Despite San Diego’s beauty, many children do not have access to open spaces they can safely explore. More and more, children are leading sedentary lives because they do not have the opportunity to be active outside, or know what opportunities exist.  ICO helps urban youth learn how to safely explore nature. Our trips provide a chance for kids to be kids – to climb rocks, splash in a stream, look at bugs, and be master of the mountaintop – while developing new skills and a desire to explore and protect open spaces. Check the photo gallery to see all the fun.

How you can help:

Volunteer – Do you like kids? Do you like the outdoors? Join an ICO day trip and see if it’s a match for you. Check the calendar to find out what trips are planned or attend a new volunteer orientation meeting. For more information on volunteering, check the volunteering page.

Sponsor – Make it possible for a child to go on their first outing, sleep under a sky full of stars, or learn how to backpack. All cash donations are tax-deductible through The Sierra Club Foundation. For more information how you can contribute, check our donating page, email Mike Gilligan or call at 619-992-7181.

Our Staff & Volunteers