Local Spotlight: Adventure Crew

Working to make the outdoors for all, Adventure Crew helps Cincinnati teens step out of their comfort zones and connect with nature and each other through adventures. The nonprofit provides gear, transportation and lessons at no cost to students — helping them form a deep connection to nature that will change the course of their lives. 

Southwest Ohio Parent spoke to Shauna Steigerwald, communications and events manager for Adventure Crew, to learn more about this outdoorsy organization. 

How did Adventure Crew get started? 

Adventure Crew began in 2012 when a Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) teacher decided to take his students on an adventure. Denny McFadden was an avid kayaker, but the adventure sport was almost entirely out of reach for most of his students at Hughes High School. He set out to remedy that, gathering a small group of teens and teachers for a five-mile float on the Little Miami River. They shared canoes, lunch and a transformative experience. More than 10 years later, Adventure Crew has grown to provide similar experiences to a roster of more than 800 students per year. 

Adventure Crew Cincinnati

Explain how Adventure Crew works for the participating kids. 

We use a school-based model, and any kid in the building can join — there’s no testing in or trying out. Several schools participate in each Saturday adventure, with students catching our buses at Fountain Square. Our adventures change monthly to take advantage of the seasons and to provide new experiences. On a given Saturday, you might find our Crew kayaking, hiking, biking, fishing, zip-lining, ice skating, or skiing and snowboarding. Through our Crew Pathways program, smaller groups of interested students can delve deeper into recreation activities they love, like rock climbing or swimming, or gain exposure to conservation and green careers.  

Which local schools are involved with Adventure Crew? 

We serve all Cincinnati Public Schools high schools, seventh and eighth graders in select CPS middle schools, and six schools in Northern Kentucky — a total of 27 schools. 

Adventure Crew Cincinnati

 What events does Adventure Crew have coming up for 2024? 

Beyond getting teens out for Saturday adventures and expanding our Crew Pathways program to deepen their experiences, Adventure Crew has some great community events planned for 2024. Most notable is Ohio River Paddlefest (ohioriverpaddlefest.org), the nation’s largest paddling celebration. Drawing nearly 2,000 paddlers, this year’s event is Saturday, August 3, with the family-favorite Outdoors for Expo the evening before. In the near term, join us for our annual used gear sale on Saturday, January 27 or our screening of the No Man’s Land Film Festival, an all-women adventure film festival, on Thursday, February 29. Both events will take place at MadTree Brewing in Oakley. Find more details at adventurecrew.org/events.  

How can people support Adventure Crew? 

There are lots of great ways to support Adventure Crew! Attend one of our events, sign up to volunteer, enter one of the great raffles we offer or simply make a donation to support our mission. To stay in touch, visit adventurecrew.org to sign up for our online newsletter and follow us on social media. 

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