National Volunteer Month Highlight with Erika Daley

Erika Daley on Finding Courage in the Water

What was your first Outdoor Outreach volunteer outing?

Kayaking at Mission Bay in spring 2018. 


Why did you choose to volunteer with Outdoor Outreach? *

Connecting youth to the transformative power of the outdoors truly resonated with the work I wanted to contribute to in my community. I spend most of my time outside of work hiking, backpacking, or rock climbing, and the possibility to share that experience with youth who experience little, or perhaps haven’t experienced those activities at all, was very inspiring. Also, with a career in which I typically travel about 50% of the time, it was critical to be able to volunteer on a flexible schedule. OO is one of the only organizations I found in San Diego where I could customize and plan my schedule in advance and online. 


Tell us about a personal interaction you’ve had with an OO participant. What did you personally learn?

On a snorkeling trip, two participants were particularly nervous about being in the water. We were able to build trust and show them they would be okay. They taught me that, no matter how nervous someone might be, if you concentrate on safety and having fun, they will surprise you and themselves with their capabilities. 


Describe the feeling of seeing a participant discover what they’re capable of.

Its a very powerful moment – as a volunteer I always feel so proud of the participant and privileged to share that big smile when they realize what they’ve accomplished.


What is your favorite outdoor activity to do in your own time? 

My favorite outdoor activity is backpacking. It allows you to access some of the most beautiful, remote places on our planet in a safe and sustainable manner.


The thing I love most about volunteering with Outdoor Outreach is… 

The energetic, dedicated staff and inspiring students you get to spend time with!


I’m passionate about Outdoor Outreach because…

Outdoor Outreach provides engaging, life changing opportunities for local youth through activities with a very low environmental impact.


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