ICO works with a wide variety of youth groups from all over the Bay Area.  We plan and lead outdoor trips with middle school and high school groups, community centers and afterschool programs.  Most of the schools we work with receive Title 1 funds.  If your school or community group is interested in partnering with us, read on to learn how to proceed and what to expect.

Submit an application

The first step is to complete an Agency Application and forward it to our Agency Coordinator. After reviewing the application, the coordinator will contact you (usually within a week) to discuss your group and outing goals. 

We have found that long term relationships consisting of multiple trips provide the greatest benefit to both participants and volunteers, so we try to build solid partnerships with one ICO leader being matched with each agency partner.  We will ask the agency leader to sign a letter of agreement which describes the responsibilities and expectations of both sides.  Your chance of connecting with a certified leader depends on a lot of factors, including your location, the ages and needs of your participants and our leader availability.


The agency will be expected to provide an ‘agency coordinator’ who is involved in the entire process from planning to attending the trip. The agency leader is expected to know the participants and be responsible for maintaining discipline. The adult-to-youth staffing ratio depends on the size of the group, the age of the participants and the kind of trip.  One or more ICO volunteers, beyond the ICO leader, accompany each trip. The partner agency may need to supply more adult participants (staff, volunteers, or parents).

Outing logistics

Once a suitable ICO leader is matched to your group, you will work together to determine exactly what your group is looking for with ICO.  Generally, we prefer to lead a day hike or other short outing with a new agency prior to an overnight trip.

Some typical outings are:

  • a day hike at a local park
  • a car camping trip
  • a multi-day backpack trip in a Regional or State Park or the High Sierra
  • a leadership building outing

After an initial phone conversation or meeting, the agency leader and the ICO leader will decide on an appropriate trip. It always takes several weeks or more to plan the outing.  We can work with the agency leaders to develop day and evening activities.  About a week before the trip the ICO leader will conduct a pre-trip meeting with the participants and staff.  Our leader will cover ground rules, transportation, equipment, food, safety, and any other necessary issues. 


For transportation to and from the outing, ICO uses volunteer vehicles, agency vehicles, public transit, or rented vehicles.  Some agencies have access to buses or vans.  ICO volunteers who drive are required to have cleared a DMV check.


Expenses for an outing can include transportation (gas for personal vehicles for ICO volunteers, public transit or rental cars), food, campground fees, etc. The nominal budget for ICO's share of the expenses ranges from $10 to $15 per day per participant (including adult staff).  ICO expects our partners to contribute a fair share of the trip costs whenever possible. The cost sharing details vary and are worked out between the ICO leader and the Agency leader in the planning stages.

Medical information and liability release form

The ICO leader will provide the Medical Information and Liability Release forms to the agency leader. These forms must be completed and signed by each participant over the age of 18, or by a minor participant's parent or legal guardian, and returned to the ICO leader prior to the outing. We also require a completed form for each adult going on the trip. No participant -- youth or adult -- may begin an outing until this form has been given to the ICO leader. We prefer to collect these forms prior to the trip at the pre-trip meeting.

More Questions?

Additional information will be provided once we receive your application and are able to connect you with a certified leader. If you have any questions, please contact our Agency Coordinator.

Apply Now »

We look forward to hearing from you!