Roanoke Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Roanoke Outside and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia (BBBS), have launched the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC). This program focuses on underserved youth in the City of Roanoke and making outdoor recreation more accessible, regardless of socioeconomic background. The goal of the OAC is to foster life-long engagement with nature, stewardship, and community among the urban youth.

Outdoor Explorers 2017

Program Background

In 2017, the Roanoke Outside Foundation partnered with BBBS to create the Outdoor Explorer Program. This program provides children ages 8-10 in the under-served communities access to the outdoors through activities and mentorship. Parks and Recreation participated in providing activities for this program and wanted to expand it. The next logical step is to continue giving these kids a chance to interact with the important outdoor resources the region offers.

Program Details

Through generous grants from The North Face and Keen, the OAC is a continuation of the Outdoor Explorer Program and will serve children ages 11-13. This 12- month program offers one-on-one mentoring, as well as transportation, instruction, and appropriate gear at no cost to the participants, thereby eliminating all barriers to the outdoors for underrepresented and low-income urban youth. Each month participants and their mentors will participate in the following activities:

October: Hiking
November: Rock Climbing
December: Caving
January: Snowshoeing
February: Frozen Waterfall Hike
March: Snow Skiing/Tubing
April: Mountain Biking
May: Canoeing- Flat Water
June: River Tubing
July: Canoeing- River
August: Wilderness Survival Skills
October: End-of-the-Year Campout 

Get Involved

For questions on how to become a participant in this program, please contact Big Brothers and Big Sisters at (540) 345-9604.

Interested in becoming a mentor for the Outdoor Adventure Club? Mentors, or “bigs,” are paired with a child from an underserved community and have opportunities to participate in group outdoor activities together once a month for a year. Activities start in September, but the application process starts now. To apply to become a mentor, please visit


In its inaugural year, the program was grant funded by The North Face and Keen. Click here to read the details of the awards. Since then, the program is funded by Wells Fargo and the Roanoke Outside Foundation.

 Wells Fargo Logo


For more specific questions about the program, please contact Matt Allenbaugh at or Susan Herndon-Powell at