Our mission is to provide positive youth development and foster environmental stewardship by giving all children equal opportunity for profound experiences in the great outdoors.
We believe connections between youth and nature are critical to children discovering their full potential. Oftentimes, children with the least opportunity to experience nature are the ones who benefit from engaging with it the most. By connecting disadvantaged youth with the environment, our goal is to help children live their best lives while creating lifelong ambassadors for the environments that give us our best lives.
Much like the children Lasting Adventures aims to inspire, LA founder Scott Gehrman was himself a childhood victim of unfortunate circumstances. After growing up without his father, and losing his mother to cancer at the age of 17, Scott credits his boyhood experiences camping in Yosemite for providing the direction, purpose, and passion that saved his path. After earning his masters degree in counseling and working as a school counselor in underserved neighborhoods, Scott founded Lasting Adventures in 1996 with the goal of sharing the outdoors with youth in-need. In 2008, Lasting Adventures became a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit geared toward making positive youth development and outdoor educational opportunities available to the general public, and providing charitable assistance for participation in such opportunities to otherwise disadvantaged youth.
Since 1997, we have facilitated multi-day wilderness adventures for over 3,500 youth, with nearly 25% receiving scholarships. Since the inception of our guide service in 2010, we’ve provided day hikes and backpacking trips for more than 5,000 adults/families, a portion of which are also made possible through our scholarship program. Lasting Adventures’ services are now rated the #1 outdoor activity in Yosemite National Park (based on more than 1,000 TripAdvisor reviews) and one of the “best backpacking summer camps out West” according to Outside Magazine. In addition to local grants, fundraisers, and corporate sponsorships, profits generated from our guide service and for-profit summer camp programs go back to our youth program.
We facilitate an array of guided wilderness outings for youth and adults, with a fundamental focus on remote backcountry exploration. Our youth programs cater to children ages 11 through 17, with 6-day camps for children and 6-day and 13-day camps for teens, as well as a 27-day Junior Guide Leadership Expedition and a 13-day Young Women’s Program in the Yosemite high country. Our adult and family outings range from single day tours to multi-day guided backpacking experiences, as well as hybrid lodging or classic camping packages, which combine front-country accommodation with guided day hikes.
For 25 years we’ve been exclusively guiding in Yosemite National Park, and while Yosemite remains the primary hub of our operations, in 2020 we expanded to three new national parks—Olympic and Lassen Volcanic National Park. We are now one of the largest youth backpacking camps and guide services on the west coast.
Our peak season is between May and October, with summer camps taking place June through August, but our guide service operates year round in Yosemite and offers day hikes and guided snowshoe adventures during winter.
100% of your donations go toward funding scholarships for underserved youth, providing food, counselors, equipment and permits for the children in our program. A donation of $1250 is sufficient to fully fund a single child’s attendance of our 6-day program. For corporate sponsors donating equipment, the costs saved by their donations are also applied to the scholarship fund.
Corporate sponsorships in the form of equipment donation or financial contributions are essential to supplying the gear, food, and supplies needed to support our program. We work with a variety of top-level outdoor and active lifestyle brands including Gregory Packs, LEKI Poles, GoPro, SPOT LLC, Thunderbird Bar and Big Agnes to ensure our participants have the best gear possible for their experiences. Without donations from generous sponsors, the youth scholarship program would not be possible.
Lasting Adventures is not just another nonprofit organization looking for handouts; we go to great lengths to reciprocate the support of both corporate and individual sponsors. For our Partners in Adventure (our corporate sponsors) we dedicate invaluable comarketing opportunities among our targeted following of outdoor enthusiasts and consumers. By promoting our partner brands on-trail with intimate product experiences, in our newsletters reaching a base of 15,000 subscribers, in our online “Gear We Use” page, and through highly-trafficked blog and social media content, we provide a unique avenue of exposure for the brands that support us. We also provide discounted trips for individuals or private donors. Our goal is not to take, but to create a symbiotic exchange that benefits both donors and youth participants.
We understand that many of the most suitable candidates for our program may not have the means to discover Lasting Adventures, which is why we have extensive outreach efforts in place to reveal our services. In addition to local community outreach and connections with underserved schools, we work with a variety of youth-benefiting organizations to generate awareness for our programs. Such organizations include the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, and SOS outreach, as well as various Native American entities and tribal councils.