A partnership between Cleveland Metroparks and Ohio State University Extension 4-H. Youth Outdoors offers urban youth the opportunity to participate in outdoor adventure programs. Children must be City of Cleveland residents and become involved through the City of Cleveland recreation center and other Cleveland based organizations.

The Youth Outdoors Horseback Riding Program is a 4 lesson series for students 10 – 17 years old. Students learn basic horse care, barn safety, and beginner riding. Riding helmets are required and will be provided.

Youth Outdoors, February 2010

Congratulations to the Youth Outdoors Horse Committee members! They have been selected to receive the Ohio 4-H Innovator Award which recognizes volunteers who have developed and implemented new, innovative and creative programs or activities that positively impact the lives of 4‑H members and the 4‑H Youth Development Program.

Since 2000, approximately 800 youth have received horseback riding programs through Youth Outdoors. In 2009, 82 youth from 14 different Adventure Clubs participated in the introductory series of lessons. These youth then have the opportunity to progress through two more riding series, attend an overnight YO Horse Camp at Brecksville Stables in June, and explore career options during a tour at the OSU Agricultural Technical Institute equine facilities in Wooster.

The Youth Outdoors Horse Committee members, both youth and adults, have worked hard to make the riding program a successful experience for the urban youth. Giving their time on nearly all Saturdays for six months of each year, they have provided the support and educational enrichment for the Horse Clubs, including teaching knowledge and skills, organizing club meetings and activities, arranging service projects, and coordinating the ways to highlight and celebrate each rider’s achievements. The volunteers have helped the riders gain confidence, self-motivation and sense of responsibility, overcome fears, gain communication skills, and develop a deep personal connection with another living creature. The Horse Committee members go the extra mile in giving every rider the individual attention to ensure a successful experience. The youth committee members have especially shown the enthusiasm, motivation and resourcefulness to help lead the opportunities. In 2009, 767 hours of time were given by the youth and adult volunteers.

Kudos to the Youth Outdoors Horse Committee members: Carol Grebeck, Emily Wilson, Kathy Rocco, Bud and Gail Shieff, Brittney and Krystal Gerhart, Shelby Vest, Melissa and Rachel Starre, Bekah Kusak, Andrew and Erin Clancy, Valley Riding staff Liz Biddick and Margaret McElhany, and YO staff Vanessa Fields.

Youth Outdoors, a partnership between Ohio 4-H and Cleveland Metroparks, provides outdoor adventure recreation experiences for urban youth groups based in Cleveland to promote personal growth, responsibility to community and a relationship with nature.

Youth Outdoors provided leadership for 524 programs in 2009, including adventure club outings, youth service activities, presentations and special events. One-quarter of the outings lead each year is focused on horseback riding. Total attendance was 10,331 people and total contact hours were 27,307 hours. A copy of the Youth Outdoors 2009 Annual Report is available upon request. Please contact Greg Yost for information.

© 2013 Valley Riding Inc.