Explore Austin Blog

  • July 24th, 2014

    Explore Austin Announces Newly Elected Board Positions

    Austin, Texas – Explore Austin, a nonprofit dedicated to changing the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentoring, and adventure, is proud to announce four newly elected members to the Board of Directors and five members joining the Board of Advisors. The newest members of the Board of Directors, Wendy Martinez, David Middleton, Robert Morales, and Anna Near, will be responsible for the organization’s strategic direction. Todd Hanna, Sarah Queen, Pat Robertson, and Rusty Stein have joined the Board of Advisors.

    Wendy Martinez formerly worked with “More Than Just Me”, an organization her family founded in partnership with social workers at the Oakland Children’s Hospital to help those in need during the holiday season. Passionate about traveling and hiking, she is thrilled to dive into Explore Austin and help further its mission.

  • June 26th, 2014

    Written by 2018 girls' mentor, Jessica Pino

    Original blog found at: http://austinot.com/explore-austin

    It’s easy to get caught up in all the Austin hubbub – a 5K every weekend, a free concert here, a new festival there.

    But every once in a while, it’s good to stop and think about exactly where we live. We live in Austin. And for good reasons. It’s weird, it’s local and it’s fun. But in order to keep Austin weird and local, we must also understand the community around us.

  • June 11th, 2014

    Every Summer between June and August, Explore Austin Mentors participate in the peer-to-peer "Rally" Campaign. Each Mentor sets a fundraising goal of around $1,000 or more in order to support their personal cost to the organization.

    This dedicated, hard-working group of people are the foundation of Explore Austin; they are the ones going on adventures with Explorers and serving as monumental role models in these students’ lives for six years. Before they could even become Mentors, they had to go through a tedious interview process so Explore Austin could be 110% sure that they demonstrated the necessary skills and qualities to work with the Explorers. To sum, Mentors are some of the most caring, genuine, reliable people you will ever meet, and Explore Austin is so proud of all of their dedication!

    You can help by visiting https://rally.org/exploreaustin/ and checking out some of the Mentors’ individual pages!

  • June 9th, 2014


    This summer, the eBay and Paypal Small Business Challenge kicked off in Austin, Texas. The Small Business Challenge (SBC) is a community outreach initiative that gives eBay and PayPal employees an opportunity to give back to local businesses and non-profits while learning something new and connecting to the community. Hundreds of non-profits submitted proposals and Explore Austin was selected as one of fifteen semi-finalists.

    Tags: Ebay, Explore Austin, Partnership
  • June 4th, 2014

    As I walked nervously around the University of Texas Communication Career Fair, my heart pounded as I gazed onto the overwhelming amount of companies and their booths that lined the perimeter of the huge room. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the Explore Austin booth that I finally felt at ease and extremely comfortable. I couldn’t look away from the pictures of kids or “Explorers” with beaming smiles and triumphant facial expressions. I knew that Explore Austin was special, and I immediately wanted to become a part in putting those smiles on kids’ faces.

  • May 1st, 2014

    Here at Explore Austin we work to serve our city by staying active both physically and in our communities. Local fitness specialist and Explore Austin Mentor, Greg Galindo, is achieving the same end through his company Good Fight Fitness.

    In order to inspire success in the company’s clients, Good Fight Fitness will make a charitable donation to Explore Austin for every person who signs up for personal training! Greg’s mission is to provide a fun, safe, innovative, and active environment for those looking to improve their fitness while making a positive impact in their community.

    We are thrilled to announce that Explore Austin and Good Fight Fitness are partnering together in an effort to help our city “Get Fit and Give Back.” As a part of our partnership, Greg has generously agreed to donate 10% of all proceeds generated to Explore Austin!

    Tags: mentor, Give Back, Partnership, community, Explorer, Physical Fitness
  • March 31st, 2014

    Hello everyone, my name is Gerardo Calles. I joined Explore Austin in the sixth grade and have loved every second of it. When I originally heard of Explore Austin, the thing that caught my attention was the wilderness trips that came along with it.  As a sixth grader, I was jumping at the chance to go mountain biking, to go canoeing, to go into the mountains. My family was not in a position to offer those things to me; Things I had only seen on tv. The funny thing is that I got excited three weeks before applications were due and by the time the deadline came around, I had completely forgotten to fill mine out. That is when my english teacher, Mr. Newman, approached me and asked me if I wanted to join Explore Austin. At the time, I did not realize that I had essentially been given a second chance; the only words that my middle school brain could mutter were, “Yeah, that’d be cool.”

  • March 10th, 2014
    by Thomas Smith
    Mentor for Class of 2020 Explorers

    I first heard of Explore Austin from a friend. I had gathered that it was some sort of volunteer program that works with certain schools in the Austin area. When I heard about the week-long hiking trip that the Mentors take with Explorers, my interest was piqued. I recalled a hiking trip my father and I took years ago, where we hiked a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. I remembered how after spending five days hiking and four days driving around the Western States, we ended the adventure not at each other’s throats, but with a more developed relationship between father and son.

    Tags: mentoring, leadership, camping, backcountry, hiking, campfire, camp eagle, Class of 2020
  • March 7th, 2014
    Written by Trisha Seelig
    Spring 2014 Program Intern

    All of those present were in agreement; you just realize that we really don’t need as much as we have, even things as simple as taking an unnecessary amount of showers.

    Sounds weird, gross, absurd, and bold, right? It’s enough to get you thinking. What if America doesn’t really know everything? What if we don’t do it best? What if we don’t have everything figured out? What if we’re wrong?

    When traveling across the world, people are given a unique opportunity to open up their eyes and adopt a humble characteristic. Suddenly, the most important things aren’t things at all. In fact, we see the biggest smiles in the most poverty stricken places. Over the course of the new mentor camping trip, I learned why. Happiness isn’t found in the amount of baths we take, in the kind of phone we have or in what we wear. Happiness is found in the people that surround you, in the smile of a kid who just recovered from an illness, in the compassion felt with the touch of a hand on your shoulder, in the embrace of a spouse; it’s in the people and it’s in the moments.

    Tags: Intern, Internship, Happiness, outdoors, Strength, Simplicity, camping, camp eagle, Explore Austin
  • February 28th, 2014

    Written by Owen O'Brien

    DAY 1

    I scrambled out of my car, late as usual, into the cool, cloudy Saturday morning at Explore Austin (EA) base camp. It was 7:05 AM, and the other mentors were already assembled in a circle in front of the gear shed, listening to Mike, Hillary and Randy explain the details of our weekend camping trip at Camp Eagle in Rocksprings, Texas. There were six female mentors and six male mentors in attendance, along with Tricia, the EA intern. Ten of the mentors, including me, were brand new, having survived the Explore Austin group interview a couple weeks before, and this weekend was to serve as our mentor orientation. A nervous excitement seemed to fill the air among us as we introduced ourselves and talked about the hiking, rock climbing and star gazing that awaited us.  I had gotten a sense of some of the mentors’ personalities and accomplishments during the group interview and felt honored to be a part of this group of non-profit founders, restauranteurs, skilled investors, health and wellness professionals, hiking and backpacking experts and world travelers.

    Tags: mentor, new mentor, campout, 2020, explore, camp eagle