Since 1968, AMC’s Youth Opportunities Program (YOP) has introduced over 250,000 youth to the outdoors. We do this by providing outdoor leadership training to urban youth workers and teachers across New York, New Jersey and New England, and by supporting them with the resources they need to independently lead their groups on outdoor adventures. YOP is committed to making the outdoors accessible to youth who have not traditionally had access to these opportunities. YOP’s training and support model ensures that young people enjoy meaningful outdoor experiences with adults who know them and their unique needs.
YOP promotes youth development and environmental awareness through participation in outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, and canoeing. Because participation in these types of outdoor activities has traditionally been limited to those with greater financial resources, YOP prioritizes agencies serving youth from urban and lower-income communities. By providing scholarships, free equipment loans, and discounted lodging, YOP makes it possible for diverse groups of young people to access these impactful outdoor experiences. YOP is committed to providing the support that youth workers need to make outdoor trips a reality! Each year we work with more than 200 youth agencies and serve over 37,000 youth – we look forward to working with you.
By 2020 YOP aims to serve at least 60,000 youth per year. The program is a key component of AMC’s Vision 2020 strategic initiative to “Get Kids Outdoors.”
Learn more about YOP in our recent AMC Outdoors Magazine article: Leading by Example, or support the program with your gift:
Get trained, Become a member, Take youth outside
Learn how to lead youth on outdoor trips! The first step is to take the Outdoor Leadership Training (OLT). No experience is required!
Designed specifically for youth workers and teachers, the OLT consists of a pre-trip meeting followed by several immersive days of outdoor adventure. Participants can choose between Camping (3 days), Camping and Hiking (4 days), or Backpacking (5 days). Trainings are offered from May to September and take place in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Through experiential learning, this exciting and intensive training allows participants to gain leadership experience, practice outdoor skills, and learn valuable information about leading youth on outdoor adventures. With successful completion of the training, participants become YOP Members and benefit from all of YOP’s support services (see “Member Benefits” tab above).
- Leadership Styles
- Group Management
- Time Management
- 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. For a complete list please see:
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.