Washtenaw Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) is a Sierra Club community outreach program providing opportunities to explore, enjoy and protect the natural world for those who would not otherwise have them. ICO volunteers work with agencies such as community centers, churches and neighborhood youth groups. ICO plans outings and provides equipment and trained leaders who are enthusiastic to share their love of the natural world.
Since 1999, the Washtenaw ICO program has been serving Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, MI. We are affiliated with the Sierra Club's Huron Valley Group. We've gone hiking, camping, swimming, canoeing, backpacking, skiing and horseback riding with children from three local organizations. The children had the chance to study plants, wildlife, ponds and waterways, and the night sky.
We have been lucky to partner with two great local organizations. The first, Community Action Network, runs programs for Hikone, Bryant, and Green Baxter Court, public housing centers located Ann Arbor. With organizations, we work with children in the 7-13 age range. As much as possible, we take the same kids on each trip - that way we get to know them, they get to know us, and we can build skills and confidence from one trip to the next.
From 1999 through 2006, ICO worked with Parkridge Community Center to provide outdoor activities for youth living in Ypsilanti. Due to city budget cuts several years ago, we are no longer able to provide outings with the youth from Parkridge Community Center, operated by the City of Ypsilanti. We hope to resume outings with the youth in Ypsilanti at a future date.