ICO’s Mission Statement
The Los Angeles Inspiring Connections Outdoors (Angeles Chapter) serves as a bridge that enables underserved youth, disabled individuals, and others to visit and develop an appreciation for our natural environment. We work with schools, community groups, and other agencies to create safe and enjoyable outdoor experiences for persons who might not otherwise have them. ICO outings promote individual growth through group activities and environmental and outdoor skills education.
What We Do
- Introduction to nature. Most of the children on ICO outings have never been to local mountains. Many who go on beach trips have never seen the ocean before. They are thrilled to see deer, coyotes, lizards, turtles, and birds. They learn how Native Americans survived on indigenous flora and fauna.
- Education about wilderness environments. ICO leaders coordinate with teachers so that during hikes we can reinforce what students have been studying. We observe and talk about flora, fauna, habitats, erosion, the interconnections between species, and man’s impact on the environment.
- Imagination and creativity. By walking along narrow trails in an entirely unfamiliar environment, children see the world in new ways. After hikes teachers encourage students to write and draw about their experiences. Many letters and offbeat haikus have blossomed from the trips.
- Health. Children and parents are physically challenged by strenuous uphill hikes and increase their appreciation for a healthy life style.
- Self-esteem. Crossing streams, hopping boulder to boulder, completing long walks, the young people accomplish things they never thought they could.
- Fun! ICO leaders try to give the young people time to just have fun, explore, and soak in nature, such as playing around at the rock pool at Malibu Creek State Park, wading in creeks in the San Gabriels, or splashing in the ocean.
[Malibu Creek State Park. Photo credit: Vicente Baldwin]