The Youth Opportunities Program is an outdoor education, professional development, and social justice program of the Appalachian Mountain Club. With the goal of equitable access to the outdoors, we partner with organizations and schools in communities that face historic and current barriers to outdoor recreation opportunities.
Inspired by the principles of the Civil Rights movement, YOP was founded in 1968 in the City of Boston to offer Outdoor Leadership Training to youth-serving agencies in Roxbury. Those trained took their new skills and additional resources
from AMC to lead youth on outdoor adventures in New Hampshire.
Today, our “train and support” model has successfully grown to sustain over 400 educators per year, who in turn engage tens of thousands of young people with outdoor experiences across New England and the Greater New York City region.
Are you an educator seeking more resources for outdoor leadership and trips for youth? Read the Leadership Training tab to learn a bit more about who we work with.
Who should apply to take the Outdoor Leadership Training?
Our program is centered around equitable access to the outdoors, and we have generous funders that support our work to reach this goal in partnership with schools and youth-serving organizations. To create more equity for communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in outdoor recreation, we prioritize our training and resources for groups working with low income youth and youth of color. We work to ensure that our programs, organizational practices, and partnerships are inclusive and support social justice.
As this is an application process, registration priority will go to:
- Schools and agencies in Boston, Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester, MA, New York City and New Haven, CT.
- Schools and agencies where the majority of young people identify as youth of color.
- Schools and agencies where over 75% of students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch.
- Schools and agencies that face financial barriers or other resource challenges to getting young people outdoors.
We offer services to support both close-to-home outdoor experiences as well as trips further afield.
If you have questions about the application process or your eligibility for our program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
- Leadership Styles
- Group Management
- Public Land Access and History
- Environmental Awareness
- Proper Clothing
- Equipment Use
- Nutrition and Menu Planning
Outdoor Leadership Training Application
Download the Outdoor Leadership Training information packet for more details about the training. Early registration is strongly recommended. Once submitted, we will review your application and contact you to confirm your registration. Please click “Apply Here” to start the online application process:
EQUIPMENT, WORKSHOPS, TRIP SUPPORT, AND MORE!
Youth workers who have successfully completed the OLT become YOP Members and are eligible to receive many benefits from the Youth Opportunities Program. These resources are designed to make it easier and more affordable for youth workers and teachers to lead effective and safety-minded outdoor adventures. YOP membership is renewed every two years by attending a qualifying workshop.
YOP Members may borrow outdoor gear from YOP’s nine equipment rooms located throughout the region. This includes tents, sleeping bags, stoves, fuel bottles, backpacks, hiking boots, warm clothing, rain gear, and water bottles. YOP Members can also borrow canoes, snowshoes, and cross-country skis if they attend additional trainings. Equipment loans are provided at no cost to YOP Members.
YOP Members are able to choose from dozens of fun and educational workshops including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, Wilderness First Aid, team building, canoeing, trip planning, and advanced backpacking. YOP provides dozens of these professional development workshops year each for YOP Members. Participation in some workshops enables members to borrow specialized equipment such as canoes, paddles, lifejackets, cross-country skis, ski poles, winter boots, winter sleeping bags, and snowshoes.
Introductory workshops open to all. For a list of workshops and events open to non-members click here.
YOP helps youth workers and teachers plan trips! YOP staff are always available to answer questions, suggest hiking routes, address risk management concerns, and share best practices. Our goal is to help YOP Members plan outdoor adventures that are meaningful and fun.
Reduced Lodging Rates
YOP Members are able to apply for reduced rates at many of AMC’s campsites, cabins, and lodges. This makes it more affordable to bring to youth to many of AMC’s stunning Destinations across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey.
YOP offers many Youth Adventures throughout the year which typically include additional assistance such as food, transportation, lodging, and staffing support.
Other Amazing Benefits
Free AMC membership for a year, opportunities to network with other youth workers, and online membership resources.
Where We Are
YOP has two program bases: at AMC’s training and equipment center at 6 Spice Street, Suite 12, Boston, MA and at AMC’s New York City office in Manhattan, 5 West 63rd Street, Suite 220, New York, NY 10023.
YOP operates 9 equipment rooms located in MA, CT, NY, and NJ to allow our members easy access to free equipment loans for taking youth outdoors!
YOP’s trainings take place in NH, MA, NY, and NJ.
YOP Members and Youth
YOP serves youth and youth groups in 10 states across the Northeast.