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 will post outings on this site once they are scheduled. 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

May 2022 ICO hike with Santa Fe Youth Shelters

May 2022 ICO hike with Santa Fe Youth Shelters
The New Mexico ICO program will have an outing on Saturday, May 21, 2022 with Santa Fe Youth Shelters. We plan on hiking in La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs Area west of Santa Fe. We’re meeting at 8:45 and leaving at 9 ... Read More

September hike with Big Brothers/Big Sisters

September hike with Big Brothers/Big Sisters
The New Mexico ICO program will be hiking on Saturday, September 18, 2021 with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Santa Fe. We plan on hiking the Grasshopper Canyon Trail near I-25 southeast of Santa Fe. We’re meeting at 9:00 and leaving ... Read More

October hike with Santa Fe Youth Shelters

October hike with Santa Fe Youth Shelters
The New Mexico ICO program will have an outing on Sunday, October 3, 2021 with Santa Fe Youth Shelters. We plan on hiking the East Fork Trail from Las Conchas trailhead near Jemez Springs. We’re meeting at 8:45 and leaving ... Read More

April geocaching with Inspiring Connections Outdoors cancelled

April geocaching with Inspiring Connections Outdoors cancelled
The outing of the New Mexico ICO program originally scheduled for Saturday, March 21, then postponed to Saturday, April 25, has been cancelled ... Read More