Outdoor Mentor Program

Home - Volunteer - Outdoor Mentor Program

The Outdoor Mentor Program is for youth ages 8-10. (Our Outdoor Adventure Club is for ages 11-13).

Share your love of the outdoors with a child in the Roanoke Region.

The Roanoke Outside Foundation, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia (BBBS), is expanding its outdoor mentoring program to connect more children to the outdoors.

And we need new volunteers to serve as “bigs,” who will get paired with a child from an underserved community and have opportunities to participate in group outdoor activities together for a year. The program starts every April, but the application process starts now.


Thanks to generous support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, The Outdoor Explorers Mentoring Program provides children in under-served communities with access to Roanoke’s outdoor community through activities and mentorship.

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 BBBS and Roanoke Outside.

“Each season requires different skills, tools, and knowledge; exposing children to different obstacles and opportunities throughout the year will give them a deeper understanding of outdoor education,” says June House with BBBS. “Roanoke’s gorgeous outdoor locations offer a beautiful backdrop for creating meaningful mentoring relationships.”

“There is an obvious need and benefit to providing outdoor opportunities for children,” says Pete Eshelman, director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “We are extremely excited about this program as it is a way for those already active in our outdoor scene to share their love of being outside with the next generation.”

The Outdoor Explorers Mentoring Program runs for 12 months beginning each spring.

The Outdoor Explorers Mentoring Program is a partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia and the Roanoke Outside Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Foundation for Roanoke Valley, Wells Fargo, and Deschutes Brewery.

Want to get involved? Fill out the BBBS volunteer form and someone will be in touch with the details and next steps (you’re not committed by filling out the form … just getting more info).

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 Josh Thoemke, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southwest Virginia, 540-345-9604, jthoemke@bigslittles.org.

Create Your Own Land Adventure

Get Started

Powered by Roanoke Outside