Explore Austin Blog

  • February 14th, 2014

    There are so many things to love about our great city of Austin. Conscientious and community-driven, this city has retained its character despite reaching number 11 on the list of largest cities by population sizes in the U.S. We are also a modern city, doing our part to stay green so that future generations will have as beautiful a place to enjoy as we do now. Given all this, it’s no surprise that we are a service-minded city as well, committed to working together to be the best Austin we can be.

    Tags: Amplify Austin, giving, Explore Austin, Underserved Youth, ILHIGH
  • December 5th, 2013

    Smashing his ice axe into the ground, he surveys the area. Recognizing the snow bridge, he’s quick to notice he’s in familiar territory. Simply, he’ll cross back over the way he came.

    But before he can move a muscle, the florescent white that is repelling off the white snow into his eyes turns to darkness, he’s fallen. How far? He can’t tell but he’s hurt. Feeling the cold floor he looks up, his climbing partner thinks he’s dead.

    Weighing the options, he decides to muster up all his strength and climb with one hand (the other crushed by the fall) out of the 50ft deep crevasse. At last he surfaces and sees his partner on the other side of the now broken snow bridge. No need for another man to take a fall, he guides his partner around the danger. Together they continue dissenting the 21,000ft peak in the Cordillera Blanca Mountain range of Peru. 

    “How does one survive such a fall?” you may ask, or, “How did he manage to climb out with one hand?”

    Tags: Mountains, Courage, Climb, adventure, outdoors, camp, Family, travel, Europe, St. Andrews Episcopal School, Dunn School, Trump Lake Lodge Camp, California, backpacking, active
  • November 21st, 2013


    Explore Austin

    In our Fall Newsletter you will find information about: 

    • Our Fall Annual Fund, the money we've raised and the goal we hope to meet
    • The journey our newest Explorers are beginning 
    • The newest member of the Explore Austin Team, Program Director Randy Judycki
    • The Mentor application deadline
    • The weekend experience Explorer's families had camping with Texas Outdoor Family
    • Explore Austin's first annual Fall Backyard Ball (raised more than $4,500)
    • Our involvement with the Acton Children's Business Fair
    • How our programs benefited from the CBA Volleyball Tournament


    Tags: donate, fundraising, explore, program director, application, deadline, Texas Outdoor Family, camping, newsletter, Fall Backyard Ball, CBA, volleyball, tournament, Acton Children's Business Fair
  • November 12th, 2013

    The Explore Austin program introduces students to new experiences, takes them out of the classroom and plants them in the outdoors. Behind a desk, these kids are students, but in the great outdoors, they are Explorers.

    Now take their Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters, place them in a campsite and who do they become? The making of a family wilderness trip! Over the course of one weekend (October 25-27), our Explorers had the opportunity to share a camping experience with their families during Texas Outdoor Family weekend at Pedernales Falls State Park.        

    Upon arrival the park Rangers first demonstrated how to setup a campsite. Then, to their parents’ amazement, many of the Explorers setup a tent, began to cook using outdoor stoves, and applied other skills they’d been equipped with through Explore Austin.  However, while this weekend allowed families to grasp an understanding of what their Explorers do with Explore Austin, the opportunity also introduced everyone to new experiences.

    Tags: Texas, outdoor, Family, hike, Scavenger hunt, stars, explore, cook, tent, camping, parks, camp, nature, trip, adventure, travel
  • September 19th, 2013

    Each day may be a gift but when Explore Austin received a grant of $10,000 from The North Face, we truly had something to celebrate!

    The North Face Explore Fund is a $250,000 grant-giving program committed to supporting non-profit, community organizations breaking down barriers to get youth outdoors and exploring their natural world. More information on the fund and the specific gift Explore Austin received can be read below.

    A great and many thanks to those at The North Face. This financial gift will support our mission, and contribute to continuing the Summer Wilderness Trips taken each year by our Explorers. Thank you to everyone who has given to our organization, your genoristy is much appreciated. If you are a regular donor, or are considering giving to Explore Austin, please visit our donation page for more information.

    Tags: The North Face, adventure, outdoors, inspire, hope, education, recreation, mentorship, community, discovery, nature
  • July 11th, 2013

    Lucho Rivera found himself at a crossroads at a fairly young age. After a near-death experience with gang related violence, Rivera knew that something would have to change if he ever wanted to experience more of what life has to offer. Enrolling in a program called Urban Pioneer, Rivera was ready to trade in his gang for a pack and climbing gear to make a big change in his life. He had no idea, however, that this change would be the best thing that ever happened to him.

    Much like Urban Pioneer, the mission of Explore Austin is to change the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentoring and adventure. Our explorer’s stories, similar to Lucho Rivera’s, are what inspire us each and every day to work hard at helping these future leaders overcome adversity. Rivera’s testimony is just another touchstone of what we do here at Explore Austin and proves that together we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

    Tags: The Climb, action, adventure, Austin, change, climbing, explore, Explore Austin, hard work, inspiration, leadership, Learning, Lucho Rivera, mentor, mountain, movement, nature, nonprofit, outdoors, peak, perseverance, South Horn, underserved, urban pioneer program, youth, overcome
  • July 11th, 2013

    Blog Archive from April 2, 2013

    When I first joined Explore Austin, I was an eleven-year-old six grader standing at four foot nine. I was also a really timid and reserved boy – I was so shy that I would do my best to avoid uncomfortable situations which included talking in front of the class or others.  So when three adults would come to mentor us, the Explorers, during Saturday events and at KIPP during lunch on Fridays they introduced ACES which became our foundation for all events – ACES (A standing for Action oriented, C for Courageous, E for Excellent teammate, and S for Strong communicator). I was not fond of the S — I could live with that since it was a small price I would pay in comparison to the fun that would come from this unknown journey. I was wrong about only expecting diversion.

  • June 13th, 2013

    Blog Archive from November 4, 2010

    908 miles from home, 50 miles into a 65-mile mountain bike trip, 9 miles into a 14-mile uphill “grunt” of a day… it starts to rain. I am not a kid anymore. Playing in the rain isn’t fun like it used to be. Cold rain was never fun. Cold rain on burning quadriceps doesn’t “cool” them off. I was miserable. It was only a few moments, but those are the kind that last the longest.

    Tags: adventure, Austin, education, explore, kipp, leadership, mentoring, mentors, mountain biking, outdoors, youth
  • June 12th, 2013

    Blog Archive from March 30, 2012
    Seeing Nick up here and hearing his words reminds me just how far we’ve come in a very short time…. Not just as individuals, but as a program.  Six years ago, there was no Explore Austin.  Then suddenly Jamie had an idea.  Next thing you know, there was Rusty, Sarah, and Jamie, me, and 15 6th grade Explorers.  And now, there are over 120 Explorers and 40 mentors.  There are girls.  There are teachers, salesman, therapists, coaches, former military members, executives and students.  There are old and young.  There are donors, volunteers, parents, board members, and partners.  Slowly but surely, a movement has been born.  Think about that…. Because I mean it…. A movement has been born.  Not just a program.  Not just a charity.  Not just a nonprofit.  Not even just an organization. It’s no longer “that thing that Todd, or Jamie, or Rusty does.” But a movement.  A movement to change lives.

    Tags: explore, adventure, Austin, Explore Austin, mentoring, change, leadership, growth, community, movement, action, youth, education, experience, wilderness, nonprofit
  • June 12th, 2013

    Blog Archive from March 30, 2012
    Being an Explorer is not just going camping in blizzards, climbing the peaks of the Tarryall Mountains, or Sea Kayaking in the unforgiving waters of the San Juan Islands. It can be defined in many ways, but you can ask any explorer here today and they will tell you that being an Explorer is more that being a leader. It is being a follower, or better “learning the skills to pay the bills” as Greg Glover would say. I can still remember the day I met Greg. He was not the usual outdoor guy but he was a remarkably intelligent one. It was not too far from Town Lake where we had our first encounter. The first thing I remember hearing Greg say was that “I can work with anyone on this planet and get the job done.” I was astonished and skeptical. I asked Greg if it was true and this is when I heard his famous saying “I have the skills, which pay the bills” …more or less. Whether most Explorers, or even Mentors, realize this, that saying is the foundation for Explore Austin, and can really sum up what an Explore Austin is today.

    Tags: youth, adolescent, change, Austin, explore, Explore Austin, adventure, mentoring, wilderness, hiking, camping, growing, education, leadership, action, kipp