How does ICO select the schools or agencies it serves?

We receive many requests from schools and nonprofit agencies in the Bay Area each year. We review requests through an application and interview process. If we determine that agency is a good fit, we try to match them with a leader who is close geographically. More...

What kind of trips do you do and where do you go?

Our outings consist of day hikes, car camping or backpacking trips throughout Northern California - from Big Sur to the Lost Coast and from Point Reyes to the High Sierra. Many outings use public transportation to locations in the immediate Bay Area. The type of outing is tailored to the interests and abilities of each group. Day trips are common for elementary and middle school age kids, while backpacking trips are generally more suited to high schoolers.

How many youth do you typically serve?

We lead 25 to 30 trips per year. We measure our performance in youth-days (one  youth, one day, outdoors) and average between 800 and 1000 youth-days per year.

How are you funded?

As an all-volunteer organization, San Francisco ICO depends on contributions from individuals and organizations interested in helping us do our work and serve our kids. Roughly 90% of our expenses are outing related, such as: food, transportation, entrance fees, equipment and training. The cost of a youth-day varies between $5 and $15 depending on the kind of trip.

How does a volunteer become a leader?

We encourage our new volunteers to go on several trips before they start down the leadership path. Formal leader training is held once per year in the fall and is conducted by our National organization. First Aid training is also required. After this training the volunteer must take an active leadership role on several trips with a mentor before they become certified. Some of our leaders have been with us for over 20 years. More...