About Us

Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) is a community outreach program that provides opportunities for urban youth and adults to explore, enjoy and protect the natural world. ICO is dedicated to providing outdoor opportunities to people that would not otherwise have them, including low-income youth of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. ICO is made up entirely of volunteer leaders who organize a variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, caving,  and service learning for people of all ages and abilities. Through these outings, participants are introduced to the wilderness, the Sierra Club and its values, and how to tread lightly by using Leave No Trace ethics.

The Sierra Club's 50 volunteer-run ICO groups nationwide conduct more than 900 outings for approximately 14,000 participants each year. By introducing participants to the transformative power of nature, ICO serves a key function within the Sierra Club and supports John Muir's assertion that people who experience wilderness firsthand are much more likely to preserve it for future generations.

Program Goals

  1. Actively engage people in the outdoors through outdoor activities that include backpacking, car camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, rafting, service projects, skating, skiing, and sledding.
  2. Promote appreciation and protection of the natural environment through outdoor adventures and environmental education.
  3. Create opportunities through outdoor experiences for personal growth and life style change, outdoor skills and leadership development; and foster respect of self, others, and the environment.


We hope to have a schedule of outings in the near future. Meanwhile, for more information, contact Raymond N. Greenwell by email.

How to get involved?

  1. VOLUNTEER: You can best get involved by helping out on trips. Or you can help keep the organization functioning by maintaining equipment, publishing the newsletter, fundraising, etc.
  2. CERTIFIED DAY HIKE LEADER: You lead day hikes with small groups of youth or adults, or on overnight car camp trips. You work with an agency to form the group. You plan the trip location, route, the transportation, gear and the ICO volunteer staffing. You work with the agency to plan the day and time, and distribute the permission slips. You are responsible for ICO paperwork for the trip.

Volunteer Expectations

  1. Attend a meeting so we can do paperwork & get to know you and
  2. Participate in outings or be active in our ICO Community by:
  • Being a member of a working committee
  • Performing an ICO "administrative job" (such as Chair, Treasurer, Calendar Coordinator, Equipment Site Manager, etc.)
  • Organizing or participating in an ICO fundraising event or activity

Leader requirements

In order to have access to ICO resources (i.e., money, equipment, trip calendar, etc.) ICO Leaders must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be 18 years of age or older
  2. Have current and appropriate First Aid certification (Standard First Aid for day hike and car-camping, 16-hour Wilderness First Aid for backpacking)
  3. All ICO volunteer forms signed and on file: Volunteer Application, ICO Code of Ethics, Sierra Club Outings Volunteer Agreement
  4. Pass a background check and DMV check (if you are a driver)
  5. Be familiar with the Sierra Club's Outings Leader Handbook and the ICO Leader Training Manual
  6. Complete the Outings Leader Training
  7. Assist on at least one ICO outing
  8. Provisionally lead at least two outings and receive a positive evaluation by each Mentor Leader (lead a trip with two different Certified ICO Mentor Leaders)
  9. Receive approval to lead outings from ICO experienced leaders
  10. Have a thorough understanding of the responsibilities of ICO volunteers, agency personnel, and the participants
  11. Have solid outing participant skills appropriate for the activities of the trip
  12. File trip reports in a timely fashion
  13. Volunteers with significant outdoor leadership experience can lead two trips with certified leaders and get signed off to become a leader
  14. Sierra Club offers all First Aid and Outings leaders training needed.

Other ways to get involved

If you cannot volunteer your time we are always in need of donations.

In order to conduct youth group outings, ICO depends on both monetary and equipment donations. Won't you help?

Quick links

Articles about ICO

August hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors

August hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors
The next outing of the New Mexico ICO program will be Saturday, August 24, with Santa Fe Youth Shelter. We plan on hiking the Deer Creek/Grasshopper Canyon Trail. We’re meeting at 8:45 and leaving at 9 a.m., and we should ... Read More

June hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors

June hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors

The next outing of the New Mexico ICO program will be Saturday, June 22, with Santa Fe Youth Shelter. We will hike the east branch of the Hyde Park Circle, including a side trip to the waterfall. We’re meeting ... Read More

October hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors

October hike with Inspiring Connections Outdoors
The next outing of the New Mexico ICO program will be Friday, October 12, with YouthWorks of Santa Fe. We will hike as much as we feel like (even if it’s not very far) on the Aspen Vista Trail. The ... Read More

First outing with Inspiring Connections Outdoors in Northern New Mexico

First outing with Inspiring Connections Outdoors in Northern New Mexico
The first outing with Inspiring Connections Outdoors in Northern New Mexico will take place on Friday, July 27, 2018, with YouthWorks of Santa Fe. This will be a day hike in the vicinity of Santa Fe. The exact location will ... Read More