Friends of Youth and Nature

A nonprofit organization

Our goal is to help local youth build confidence, self-esteem, and resilience with mentoring in nature programs and outdoor skill building activities. Your donation will help purchase gear, supplies, and experiences proven to reduce stress and build academic performance for at-risk youth.


"I always tell myself I can't do it. Then I get to the top, see the view and remember that the work is always with it." Haven House youth participant, 15 years old.
One instructor summed up our impact in the community this way: "With 81% of our kids participating in Free and Reduced lunch programming, most of our students are living in poverty, and many have experienced traumatic events in their short lives. COVID-19 has made learning even more difficult, academically, and emotionally. This trip would not have been possible without your support, and it was the highlight of their school year. It has positively impacted these students in so many ways!"

 Another scholarship recipient shared this: "I came into this trip full of judgment and insecurity, and left more confident and secure, and myself in my trust in others. I was alone before this trip, and now I have the belief and proof to show I'm not actually alone. This trip was incredibly freeing, scary, sad yet beautiful and I faced so many of my fears, and I tried new things. Overall, I can't even believe I had an experience so incredible and introspective." 


Friends of Youth and Nature's Mission:

We strive to eliminate barriers Western Slope youth may encounter for participating in outdoor activities, and expand the participation of local youth and their families in these activities by:

● Collaborating with organizations that provide activities to promote healthy physical, social, and emotional outdoor lifestyles that build resilience

● Providing agile and flexible funding opportunities to local service providers, youth groups, and individuals whose mission aligns with FOYAN's vision

● Educating youth and community members about environmental stewardship opportunities, as well as opportunities to participate in outdoor activities creating future stewards of our world

● Connecting youth with established local outdoor education providers and establishing a networking platform for collaboration among outdoor education partners


Here are the projects we are continuing to focus our fundraising efforts into 2024:

• Watershed Education- FOYAN distributes our funding sources to school groups that want to attend watershed focused learning activities such as water festivals, Eureka Science Museum "Colorado River Model" exhibit, and river ecology and watershed health field trips.

• Youth Scholarships – FOYAN assists with the tuition for local under-served kids to attend summer outdoor camps, Outdoor Wilderness Camps (Mesa Students) and cover student fees such as ski rentals for winter ecology field trips.

• Bus transportation - Most schools have limited budgets for bus transportation to take students on field trips. FOYAN assists with the costs of field trips to public lands and other locations that involve nature-learning activities.

• Outdoor Gear Lending Library for Montrose, Delta and Ouray area youth - FOYAN is working with other partners to acquire camping/backpacking, gear, snowshoes, cross-county skis and mountain bikes for area youth to borrow (free).

• "Together for Resilient Youth" (TRY) - FOYAN is working with other partners to give under-served youth opportunities to be active outdoors by eliminating barriers such as equipment and transportation needs, and provide mentors, guides and instructors for various outdoor activities. This project involves a coalition of organization such as Families Plus, Partners, CASA, Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club, Montrose School District's Outer Range, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Montrose Recreation District to create bi-monthly opportunities for these youth to be able to experience new outdoor activities, and explore nature.

• Farm to School - FOYAN has collaborated with schools within the four county area to assist with Farm to School Programs.

• Sharon's Kids - this is a program that gives undeserved youth in the North Fork Valley opportunities to attend a week-long summer YMCA camp in Colorado. FOYAN assists with registration and transporting these kids to the camp locations on the Front Range.

Background Statement

Friends of Youth and Nature is an all-volunteer 501c3 charity organization founded in 2018 to connect youth in Mesa, Delta, Montrose, and Ouray Counties to outdoor activities. We have board members in each county to ensure an intimate connection to local youth in need. Our organization has grown over 30% each year increasing our youth contact from 800 in 2018 to over 8,200 in 2023. Being outdoors has provided an opportunity for youth to learn, connect to peers and mentors, and build self-confidence through outdoor skill building and guided challenges. Many studies have shown that with time spent outdoors (even as short as 20 minutes) in a quiet space or in a physically challenging endeavor, our local youth develop resiliency and emotional well-being. We pride ourselves at never having to turn away a request for assistance.

Campaigns supporting this organization

Organization Data


Organization name

Friends of Youth and Nature

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Youth Development, Education, Environment, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Mental Health & Crisis Intervention, Recreation & Sports, Science & Technology

Organization Size

Small Organization

Colorado State Tax Credits

Colorado Enterprise Zone Credit


P.O. Box 634
Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Service areas

Delta County, CO, US



Social Media