Brandon L. Murray: Principal at Hodgen Tech (St. Louis, Missouri)

“It is extremely important to expose our children to all that this planet has to offer and through this partnership, we are creating a love for the outdoors in our children that will last a lifetime.”

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Hodgen Tech students on their first hiking trip

“I am writing on behalf of Nadav Sprague and his wonderful organization, Gateway to the Great Outdoors. I am pleased to be able to speak on their behalf and consider myself lucky to be involved in a partnership for our students. We have already visited one state park in Missouri and have a camping trip scheduled in the upcoming weeks. Their organization comes to the school on a weekly basis and exposes our students to experiences that they wouldn’t normally get surrounded by concrete and parking lots!

It is extremely important to expose our children to all that this planet has to offer and through this partnership, we are creating a love for the outdoors in our children that will last a lifetime. Mr. Sprague and his organization are true pioneers in this field and are taking a chance on kids they barely know (initially) to make a real difference in their lives. I support any and all efforts to not only increase funding for them, but to get them involved in as many schools as possible to continue making a difference in the lives of the St. Louis youth”

Marissa Wells: Primary Director at Uplift Meridian Preparatory (Fort Worth, Texas)

“All of the scholars who have taken part in this program have grown in their abilities to treat the environment with respect and have gained a deeper understanding of the role that humans play while interacting with the world around us.”

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Uplift Meridian Academy students on a hiking trip

“Gateway to the Great Outdoors has been such a positive experience for our scholars thus far and we are hopeful that this non-profit can continue to spread the love of nature to other scholars for years to come.

All of the scholars who have taken part in this program have grown in their abilities to treat the environment with respect and have gained a deeper understanding of the role that humans play while interacting with the world around us. We are an International Baccalaureate candidate school and our scholars are consistently learning about how we can become involved and engaged citizens of the world. This program has allowed them to apply their studies outside of the classroom in a fulfilling and exciting way. Many of our scholars have never had an opportunity to go camping or hiking, so their time with Gateway to the Great Outdoors is opening up an entirely new lens for them beyond their neighborhood. The smiles, laughter, curiosity, and energetic accounts of their trips are all I need as a principal to know that this program is having a very positive impact on my scholars.

Thank you to the staff of Gateway to the Great Outdoors for providing my scholars with unique learning experiences and adventures that will stick with them for years to come. We appreciate all that you do and are looking forward to another great semester of partnership.”

 

Susan Kelter: Community Relations & Volunteer Manager at Lift for Life Academy (St. Louis, Missouri)

“The students absolutely love this program. They are being exposed to a variety of activities that are enhancing their knowledge about the outdoors.”

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Susan Kelter with two students

“Thank you for your hard work and the hard work of your program leaders. Gateway to the Great Outdoors has been an excellent program for our inner-city 6th grade students. I am the Community Relations and Volunteer Manager at Lift For Life Academy, the first Charter School in St. Louis Missouri. I have proactively sought out programs in the St. Louis community that would have a positive impact on our students, be engaging, uplifting, and help expand their knowledge of the world.

Our kids need exposure to diverse programs that will educate them about our community and options that are available for them to enjoy. Also, it is imperative that they have fun while they are learning as that helps keep the students engaged. I had to get my administration to agree to this program coming to LFLA.

The Washington University students had to find transportation, money for after school snacks, develop a team of people that would commit to the program and then deliver the program. You and your group have been fantastic and a pleasure to work with. The students absolutely love this program. They are being exposed to a variety of activities that are enhancing their knowledge about the outdoors.

Our students had never put up tents, cooked food in the outdoors, made tie-dyed shirts, or learned about certain Missouri foliage. The kids literally run to the staff that are gathering them up to come to the program. I am excited to see what the next semester syllabus will be.”