Outdoor Explorer Program

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Roanoke Outside partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia and Roanoke Parks and Recreation to provide children in under-served communities access to Roanoke’s outdoor community through activities and mentorship. Through organized outdoor outings Outdoor Explorers seek to inspire future generations of outdoor users.

Outdoor Explorer Programs

Outdoor Mentor Program pairs adult mentors with youth ages 8-10. The year-long program includes a hiking, tubing, paddling, rock climbing, stargazing, or environmental education activity each month for children and their outdoor-minded mentors. Once-a-month activities are planned and coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters and Roanoke Outside. This is program is made possible with a Wells Fargo Foundation grant.

Outdoor Adventure Club provides 12 months of outdoor activities for under-served youth ages 11-13. With one-on-one mentoring we are able to eliminate the barriers to the outdoors for youth regardless of a family’s financial situation, fostering engagement with nature, stewardship, and community. This program is a partnership with Roanoke Parks and Recreation and made possible by grants from Keen Effect and The North Face Explorers fund.


About Roanoke Outside Foundation

Started as an initiative by the Roanoke Regional Partnership to leverage natural assets to attract investment and talent, Roanoke Outside became a 501(c)3 charitable organization in 2013. With a mission of connecting people outdoors, improving access to the outdoors, and making outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship a core component of our community’s lifestyle, the Roanoke Outside Foundation has changed Roanoke’s community narrative to one that places a high value on quality of life. From building river access points to organizing signature events like the Blue Ridge Marathon and GO Outside Festival, Roanoke Outside is committed to making the Roanoke Region a better place to live, work, and play.

For more information, contact Pete Eshelman, Director of Roanoke Outside, 540-343-1550 x 104, pete@roanoke.org.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

For more than 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in single-parent and low-income families, or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”). Providing a system of ongoing evaluation and support, Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven by independent studies to help families by improving the odds that Littles will perform better in school and avoid violence and illegal activities, and have stronger relationships with their parents and others. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia serves over 500 children in our community.

For more information, contact June House, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southwest Virginia, 540-345-9604, jhouse@bigslittles.org.

About Roanoke Parks and Recreation

The City of Roanoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation is a full-service, nationally accredited municipal agency that maintains nearly 14,000 acres of public land and provides the Roanoke Valley with two thousand recreational opportunities each year. With 60 parks, more than 90 miles of greenways and trails, five plazas, two outdoor swimming pools, and seven recreation centers, Roanoke Parks and Recreation currently employees 62 full-time employees and roughly 158 part-time and seasonal employees.

For more information, contact Stephanie Long, marketing coordinator, 540-853-5847, stephanie.long@roanokeva.gov.

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