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Legacy Stories - Summer 2014

Oklahoma City Youth Partners Share Their Experience with Parks in Focus

Thanks to generous support from the Inasmuch Foundation, Parks in Focus® piloted its first Oklahoma program with 43 youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County in fall 2012 and spring 2013.

The program consisted of a series of day trips to local natural areas, including Martin Park, Myriad Gardens, and Roman Nose State Park, and culminated in a weekend camping trip to the Wichita Mountains.
For many of the participants, Parks in Focus® provided their first opportunity to visit a National Wildlife Refuge, catch a fish, sleep in a tent, and roast marshmallows over a campfire.
Photo by Dallas, age 10
“The Parks in Focus® program has opened the eyes of Boys & Girls Club members to the wonders of nature through photography. Not only have they gained appreciation for the natural world around them, they have learned valuable life-skills in photography, all while having amazingly fun experiences!”
– Jane Sutter, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County
The Boys & Girls Clubs continue to be one of our key partners as we build our year-round Oklahoma City program. With additional support from the Inasmuch, Kirkpatrick, and Anschutz Foundations and other donors, Parks in Focus® is now working with other youth and educational organizations to reach hundreds of underserved Oklahoma City youth each year.
Through our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, for example, Parks in Focus® hosts outings that are specifically designed for both youth participants and their adult mentors. These outings provide opportunities for the matches to become better acquainted through joint learning and exploration of the outdoors.
Photo by Ty’Awna, age 12
“Big Brothers Big Sisters is proud to partner with a program like Parks in Focus® that strives to advance self-confidence, creativity, and appreciation of the outdoors for underserved middle school youth. Likeminded organizations can accomplish so much when they combine their resources, and we are honored to be a part of this mission to mentor Oklahoma’s youth through nature and photography.”
– Rachel Hernandez, Area Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma
Parks in Focus® has also partnered with Positive Tomorrows, a private elementary school specifically serving homeless students in Oklahoma.
Photo by Zynab, age 10
“Working with Parks in Focus® was a wonderful experience for the students at Positive Tomorrows. As Oklahoma’s only private elementary school specifically serving homeless students, the program was especially meaningful. Our students have limited access to technology outside of school and the opportunity to use cameras to connect to nature was very powerful for them. Aside from having fun, they left with a sense of pride and a greater understanding of their surroundings.”
– Susan Agel, President and Principal, Positive Tomorrows
Parks in Focus® looks forward to continuing these partnerships in Oklahoma City and working with additional youth and educational organizations to further the Parks in Focus® mission of connecting youth to nature through photography.
“I didn’t know you could have this much fun outside!”
– Felix (age 10), PIF Participant, Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County

Learn more about Parks in Focus and make a donation to help support more outdoor activities for underserved youth.