An Interview with Outdoor Outreach Youth Programs Coordinator, Zach Moeller
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Rock climbing or backpacking, I can’t choose.
What are some of the challenges facing the youth you work with at Outdoor Outreach?
Many of the youth we work with face incredible adversity in their everyday lives. For those in our Probation Program, all of those disadvantages and disparities are amplified.
For system-involved youth, mental health is a pretty big thing. Our focus is restorative—we’re not there to reinforce the fact that they did something wrong. We’re there to show them cool things they can do when they’re out, that they deserve to be seen and heard, and that they matter as a person.
What impact do you want to have on Outdoor Outreach participants?
The most important thing we can do is encourage their own sense of possibility. To be in their corner, cheering them on, and investing ourselves in their journeys. I’ve had guys share that they want to go to culinary school or be a zookeeper or a whole variety of things. I just try to encourage and empower them—I remember researching “what does somebody need to do to become a zookeeper?” so that we could talk about it more at our next meeting.