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Central Oregon Inner City Outings

Helping Kids Get Out in Nature

COICO LeadersSome of Our COICO Leaders COICO Boys and GirlsCOICO with Boys and Girls Club in Badlands

With over 50 chapters around the country, Inner City Outings is focused on reaching kids who might not otherwise get to enjoy nature for social, environmental or financial reasons and introducing them to the outdoors in a fun, safe and educational way. After nine months of planning and networking, Juniper Group volunteers formed the Central Oregon Inner City Outings (COICO) in September 2012. They did their first hike in October 2012 with Big Brothers/Big Sisters on the Metolius (see below).

COICO currently has four partners in the community:

Leaders from the partner organizations always accompany the kids on each outing, but COICO provides the "get kids in nature" part of the experience.

COICO currently has several certified outings leaders, but can always use more. A COICO leader must be a Sierra Club trained and certified Outings Leader with current basic First Aid training, and pass a special background check by the Sierra Club for working with children. You can also contribute without being a trip leader by arranging logistics, doing community publicity, or doing the ever present and necessary administrative work that is part of any organization. Here's the ways you can help in bullet form:

This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the next generation of Sierra Club members and truly "make a difference” in our mission to enjoy, explore and protect our planet for the future. Interested? Want more information? Contact Chair John Griffin at, or come to one the regular monthly meetings, generally at Jackson Corner. For meeting dates and times, contact John.

For more information on the Inner City Outings program, check out the Sierra Club Inner City Outings website. And to read more on some really wonderful kid outings and photos, go to the COICO Facebook page at: Central Oregon ICO on Facebook.

COPY Snowshoe at Swampy, February 2014

ICO SnowshoeICO and COPY Snowshoe: "Let's Go!" ICO SnowshoeGoing Strong on the Trail

By Kathy Graham

Awesome! Awesome sums up the recent snowshoe outing to Swampy Lakes with seven COPY kids and their mentors.

Putting on a pair of snowshoes and heading into the woods on a sunny day in Central Oregon was definitely awesome. After getting our equipment on and going over trail etiquette, we headed off on a single track trail which took us through open areas and then into the forest. We were an energetic bunch: young; old; tall; short; short; tall. So went the line of snowshoeing kids and their mentors winding through the woods.

Forty-five minutes into snowshoeing, our leader Barb found the perfect spot for us to take a break and refuel. Better yet, she pulled plastic cups, hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies out of her backpack! Score!

Refueled and hydrated we took off for the last leg of the trip but had one short diversion. Who can resist a snowshoe race in an open area of the forest? One, Two, Three go. Okay, now everyone get up… The snowshoe trail came to an end after 1 ¾ miles and just in time for lunch at our cars and some more fun playing in the snow.

Topping off this snowshoe outing was a side trip to the Wanoga Sledding Snow Park. You might have thought the kids would be too tired to climb up the hillside over and over again to sled down each time, but then you’d be wrong.

Sunshine, fresh snow, hot chocolate, cookies, exercise, snowshoe racing and camaraderie made for an awesome experience with the COPY kids and their mentors. How else would I summarize this snowshoe outing with COPY folks here in Bend? Smiles all around!

First Hike with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, October 2012

ICO on MetoliusICO with Big Brothers/Big Sisters Hiking the Metolius ICO on MetoliusBig Brothers/Big Sisters on the Metolius

By Gretchen Valido

Our first Central Oregon Inner City Outings hike took place along the Metolius River near Sisters on October 13, 2012. Partnering with us were Big Brothers Big Sisters, and staffer Jenna Rands was an enthusiastic, bubbly presence who provided an important link to the BB/BS pairs.

As we walked down the trail, outings leader John Griffith in the lead, we stopped often, thrilled by salmon we spotted swimming close to shore. Nikoll, a cute 10-year old, was particularly intrigued and eagerly often pointed out fish for us to come see. Here’s one, here! There was a healthy current to the river and people flyfishing dotted both sides, and so we talked about the concept of catch and release.

Lunch was a nice break, by which time the group was comfortable with one another and feeling invigorated by the fresh autumn air and fun the kids were having. John was masterful at giving brief, spontaneous conservation messages.

We probably went a little too far on the trail before turning back, which didn’t leave much time to explore the fish hatchery. When we arrived back at the parking lot, homemade chocolate chip cookies hit the spot, a nice treat. Some of the BB/BS left for home and some stayed to feed fish at the hatchery, and the outing ended on a very pleasant and upbeat note. I was exhilarated by our first ICO outing, quite a success!