At Chicago Voyagers (CV), our mission is to empower at-risk youth through outdoor experiential adventures that foster healthy relationships and responsible behavior. Through our unique programs, CV helps expose youth to the natural world around them, expanding their understanding of what is possible. We also provide the support and guidance needed to help them understand and cultivate personal responsibility, self-empowerment, and belief in their ability to achieve and overcome challenges. CV partners with local community and educational organizations to provide at-risk youth with adventures that are carefully designed (and therapeutically-informed) to improve self-esteem, promote smart decision-making, and encourage responsible behavior.
Our adventure-therapy programs include hiking and backpacking, overnight camping, canoeing, mountain biking, and more; and they are offered year-round. Participants are selected by the community partners in consultation with CV. Participation in the program – including clothing and equipment – is provided at no cost to the teens. Each of our programs uses a multi-faceted, neuroscience-based approach to prevent or diminish the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), a term that encapsulates myriad complex and interconnected childhood experiences like poverty, abuse, trauma from gun violence, and lack of familial support.