We're rallying community support for nonprofit youth-in-nature programs.


Congratulations to our 2015 award Finalists!!

Scroll down to view the 15 Finalists below. The Finalists collectively estimate that they will play a key role in connecting over 100,000 youth with nature this year, and they need your help!

The three 2015 Awardees will be publicly announced on May 9, 2015 during the Campfire Hoopla awards event. The Awardees will be featured on this page within a few days after the Campfire Hoopla.

If you would like to be updated infrequently about the Kids Outside Awards, including when 2015 Awardees are posted on this site, then sign up for our newsletter.

Please help support our Finalists!!

The core objective of Kids Outside Awards is to raise awareness of our beneficiaries and their needs within a community of people who care about helping to increase the performance of nonprofit youth-in-nature programs.

Needs listed by the Finalists include volunteerism, staff roles, and “bite-sized” cash donations for specific items.

Do you think it’s important to connect youth with nature? Then please:

  • Download and view a list of Finalists and needs (PDF): download
  • Take action according to their needs requests
  • Contact an org through their web site if you need to communicate with them
  • Share (via email, Twitter, FB, or airplane towing a banner…) our web site address and the needs list PDF with others who you think will want to help!

2015 Finalists

Bike Works Youth-in-nature immersion: “Bike Works serves youth ages 9-18 in Southeast Seattle and surrounding communities. In our bicycle-centered programs participants explore outdoor environments ranging from local parks to the Kitsap Peninsula and Washington’s islands.”

Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation Youth-in-nature immersion: “Our summer camps, elementary school bike riding classes and middle school after-school programs teach kids how to incorporate being outside into their day-to-day life by teaching biking for fun, fitness and transportation.”

Environmental Science Center Youth-in-nature immersion: “Environmental Science Center gets young scientists outdoors. Programs serve K-12th grade students of South King County. Our students are primarily from low-income, ethnically diverse families. We connect students to salmon streams and tidepools to promote stewardship.”

Forterra Youth-in-nature immersion: “Forterra hosts volunteer restoration events, which include youth participation, throughout the region on properties we own or help to manage. We also have school groups which utilize our preserves to explore and study local flora and fauna.”

Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Youth-in-nature immersion: “For the past 15 years the Mountains to Sound Greenway has been providing outdoor education programs to 4th - 12th grade students from schools located throughout King County.”

Nature Vision Youth-in-nature immersion: “Nature Vision brings place-based, experiential nature education programs directly to schools and green spaces to reach as many students as possible. We work to ensure that all students receive quality nature connections where they need them the most.”

North Cascades Institute Youth-in-nature immersion: “North Cascades Institute’s Youth Leadership Adventures program immerses 14-18 year olds from King County on our backcountry courses. Youth spend 8-16 days exploring the spectacular North Cascades, developing leadership skills and a lifelong conservation ethic with a supportive peer group.”

Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center Youth-in-nature immersion: “We provide dynamic environmental education programming for kids on our 225-acre property in the Snoqualmie Valley. Kids primarily aged 4-12 explore and harvest produce directly from our fields during school field trips and summer camps.”

Rite of Passage Journeys Youth-in-nature immersion: “Our experiential learning fosters self-discovery, and connection with the natural world. Participants safely experience the outdoors, including campfires, storytelling, stargazing, and the beauty of the Pacific NW wilderness and beaches.”

Seattle ICO Youth-in-nature immersion: “Seattle ICO works in partnership with nine public schools in King County to provide 60+ wilderness outings for 800 youth participants annually.”

Sound Experience Youth-in-nature immersion: “Sound Experience delivers programming to K-12 young people throughout the Puget Sound region. Approximately 40-50% of the young people who participate in our day and overnight shipboard programs live in King County.”

Terra-Forma Education Youth-in-nature immersion: “Our summer day camp program for 6 to 10-year-olds is outdoors every day to explore wetlands, tide pools, forests, streams and ponds. In our year-long, once per month rite of passage program for tweeners, youth build their own community to engage in restoration projects, snowshoeing, ropes challenge courses, camping, backpacking, or whatever they would like! We also offer specialized youth programs to meet any group or situation.”

The Mountaineers Youth-in-nature immersion: “We provide outdoor experiences for youth, grades k-12. 65% of the youth programming is outdoor time. Of the 5587 youth experiences in fiscal 2014, 80% of those programs were in nature.”

Washington Trails Association Youth-in-nature immersion: “WTA engages youth ages 10 and up in volunteer trail maintenance projects on public lands. Whether coming out with their parents for a day or on a week-long Youth Vacation in the summer, youth are giving back to hiking trails all across the state.”

Wilderness Awareness School Youth-in-nature immersion: “Youth Outdoor Programs in King County: Summer week-long day camps, overnight camps, and expeditions (ages 6-18); Monthly school-year weekend adventures (6-13 and 14-18); Weekly school-year Preschool (4-6) and Homeschools (7-9, 10-13, and 14-18).”

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


The Kids Outside Awards exists to deliver valuable support for nonprofits that connect Seattle-area youth with the natural outdoors. We are accomplishing this by developing services and a regional coalition of helpful partners.

While our ultimate objective is to benefit all qualified nominees, this award program enables us to concentrate our support on a few Awardees for maximum potential positive impact.

2015 Awardee prize

Most nonprofit youth-in-nature programs need more than just additional funds. The right kind of increased visibility within their regional community about some of their high-priority needs can be of valuable support to these organizations.

Three Awardees are selected by our Judges. The Awardees' 2015 "prize" is the Spotlight service, which is aimed at increasing regional community awareness about Awardees and their needs. This is accomplished primarily through the assistance of Spotlight Teams.

2015 Spotlight service

  • Award presentation: Each Awardee’s profile, “impact”, and submitted three high-priority needs will be highlighted at the Campfire Hoopla event.
  • Media promotion: During the course of the following year Awardees will receive ongoing regional public visibility via conventional media as well as through social communication channels (social media, newsletters, e-mailings, etc.) with support from our partners and the Spotlight Teams.
  • Web placement: Primary positioning in the Results section of this web site, including: visible promotion of the top three needs submitted by each Awardee (and occasional status updates); brief description of each Awardee; link to each Awardee’s preferred web site page.
  • Complimentary event tickets: Each Awardee will receive tickets to the Campfire Hoopla, at no cost to the Awardees
  • Additional event tickets: Awardees will each be assigned a pool of Campfire Hoopla tickets that can be purchased by Awardee-approved guests (tickets sale proceeds go to Kids Outside Awards for operations costs).
  • Promotional video: A custom Kids Outside Awards video - highlighting their “impact” and stated top three needs - will be produced for each Awardee at no cost to the Awardees.

2015 Awardee benefits

  • Specific non-financial support: Broadens potential community awareness and assistance for high-priority needs other than funding (volunteer recruitment, team role recruitment, other types of participation, non-cash donations, etc.).
  • Specific fundraising support: Awardee needs to be promoted may include requests for funds associated with a designated item or purpose (not general operations).
  • General fundraising support: Raises the familiarity and credibility of Awardees with potential donors, and “2015 Awardee” status enhances credibility/differentiation when submitting grant applications.
  • Fan base development: Increases Awardee familiarity and credibility with existing and potential long-term community supporters.
  • Team mojo building: Gives a well-deserved public high-five to Awardee volunteers, staff and others who had contributed to the “high-impact” performance that merited the recognition.

2015 Finalist support

  • Recognition: Our objective is to build community support for all of our targeted beneficiaries over time, therefore, every applicant that qualifies as a nominee will deservedly earn “winner” status as a Finalist to recognize the significant value their services provide for our community and planet.
  • Visibility: All Finalists will be listed in the Results section of this site, and will be given some other visibility in a variety of ways - for example, at the Campfire Hoopla event - during the year following the Campfire Hoopla.

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


2015 nominations are now completed.

All organizations that qualified as 2015 Kids Outside Awards nominees provide tremendous value to our community and to the benefit of our natural outdoor places!

If you would like to be updated infrequently about the Kids Outside Awards, including when 2016 nominations will be open, then sign up for our newsletter.

2015 Schedule

  • 3/1/15: Nomination applications due
  • 3/3/15: Finalists informed
  • 3/20/15: Judging complete
  • 4/1/15: Awardees informed
  • 5/9/15: Awardees announced publicly (at Campfire Hoopla event)

2015 Overview

  • All nominations are "self-nomination" applications.
  • Judges select 3 Awardees from among the 2015 Finalists.
  • Nominees are “qualified” if they meet all nomination criteria (as described below), and properly submit a nomination application before the application deadline noted above.
  • Judges each review the application responses of the Finalists and vote by assigning scores within each award criterion.
  • Awardees are selected based on highest total scores (ties will be broken through a vote by the judges).
  • Nomination application information relies largely upon an honor system; random phone call interview audits might be conducted by the Kids Outside Awards team.

2015 Qualification

Prospective nominees must be able to answer “yes” to both of the questions below in order to qualify for application submittal (“qualified nominee” status):

  • Is the nominated organization a registered 501(c)(3) “charitable organization” (e.g. not a governmental, religious, or general education entity)?
  • Does the organization provide youth (grades K-12) living within King County, WA with activities/programs that immerse them in the natural outdoors?

2015 Criteria

Following is the criteria that our judges will use to select the Awardees:

  • Nature focus: Degree to which the organization’s youth program activities occur within nature.
  • Nature impact: Estimated average % of nature activity time that is unstructured (i.e. free play, exploration) in nature, versus structured time (e.g. instruction, outdoor activity skills development, coordinated activities, personal growth programs).
  • Current & future program impact: Number of youth connected to nature (past one-year plus forecasts for 2015 and 2016; nominees may count multiple instances for individual youth).
  • Historical program impact: Aggregate number of times individual youth connected to nature from 2005-2014 (e.g. if 10 youth per event, and if 10 events occurred per year over 10 years, then the total is 1,000; nominees may count multiple instances for individual youth).
  • Potential benefit to awardee: Potential degree of positive impact on the organization resulting from award selection and a helpful “spotlight” on their impact and three stated needs.

2015 Needs

Each organization will be asked to list three needs that Kids Outside Awards will promote via the Spotlight service if the organization becomes and Awardee.

  • These needs may not include: Cash funds for general operations
  • These needs may include, for example:
    • Recruiting of volunteers, staff, board members, or other support personnel.
    • Awareness among targeted groups such as teachers or parents.
    • One of the needs may be for cash funds in support of a specific one-time need (e.g. activity-related gear, or fees associated with a certain outing); such cash funds may not total more than $5,000.

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


The Campfire Hoopla is an evening bash that will feature an inspiring awards ceremony along with trail snacks and other light camper fare, hosted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, live instrumental music from Buckshot tuned perfectly for the scene, and of course...campfires!

2015 Campfire Hoopla basics:

  • Saturday, May 9, 2015, 7:00pm-11:00pm
  • The venue will be the brewery/HQ of Georgetown Brewing

The 2015 Campfire Hoopla is our inaugural event, so we’re taking baby steps by limiting the total number of attendees this year to less than 200. Ticket sales will only occur through our three Awardees and through the Spotlight Team captains.

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


What are Spotlight Teams?

The collective communications reach of the Spotlight Teams is one of the main sources of the value that Kids Outside Awards seeks to deliver to its beneficiaries. Each Spotlight Team captain is associated with an organization that commits to participating in a coalition of support for all qualified Kids Outside Awards nominees. Some Spotlight Team organizations have their own youth-in-nature programs, and yet they generously step up to assist the community at large.

Thank you to the 2015 Spotlight Teams!

2015 Spotlight Team scope

  • Event participation: Each Spotlight Team captain will ensure that they plus 9 representatives (10 total) will attend the 2015 Campfire Hoopla. These representatives may include the organization's staff, volunteers, members, or other supporters.
  • Spotlight communication: During the year following the 2015 Campfire Hoopla, Spotlight Teams will receive 4-6 Kids Outside Awards update emails with suggested messaging for newsletters and/or emails, social media and press releases. Each Spotlight Team captain will ensure that their organization forwards these updates to their community of consituents (employees, volunteers, members, etc.) through communications such as newsletters, group emails, social media, and conventional media (e.g. press releases). Each Spotlight Team is encouraged to share the news about why/how they are supporting the Kids Outside Awards.

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


Kids Outside Awards is fortunate to have recruited a group of 2015 judges who collectively bring a healthy range of relevant backgrounds and experiences to the award selection process.

Below is a current list of our 2015 judges, with links to their bio’s and brief statements about how their backgrounds are particularly relevant to judging this program.

Please see the Nominate section of this web site for details on the judging criteria, award process schedule, nomination procedures, etc.

2015 Judges

Manny Chao, Co-founder/Georgetown Brewing Company - Program founder and outings volunteer for a Franklin High School (Seattle, WA) youth-in-nature program, and continuously provides sponsorship support for Seattle area youth-in-nature programs.

Robin Chiles, Leadership Development Director/Metrocenter YMCA - 10+ years helping kids get outside, first with Passages Northwest and now with the YMCA, where she oversees the admissions process for the outdoor leadership programs. Robin has spoken with thousands of parents and kids just before they head out on their first wilderness trip.

Karen Daubert, Executive Director/Washington Trails Association - 12+ years leading nonprofits that provide/promote youth outdoor activities: 9+ years as ED of Seattle Parks Foundation and 3+ years as ED of Washington Trails Association.

Maria Flack, Teacher/Showalter Middle School (Tukwila, WA) - Seattle area youth-in-nature program volunteer for 2 years, then 10+ years as a founder and teacher representative for the program at her Tukwila schools.

Martinique Grigg, Executive Director/The Mountaineers - The Mountaineers is the largest volunteer climbing organization in the U.S. and a leading publisher of books and resources on outdoor recreation as well as outdoor programs for adults and youth.

Garrett Kephart, Member of the Board of Directors at the Seattle Parks Foundation, Sustainable Seattle, the Willowmoor Foundation, and the Keewaydin Foundation - Garrett spent 16 years at Keewaydin Canoe Camp in Temagami, Ontario as a camper and staff, and currently leads their Adult program.

Martin LeBlanc, SVP External Affairs/IslandWood, BOD Northwest Outward Bound, BOD Metrocenter YMCA, VP Emeritus BOD/Children in Nature Network - In addition to his roles listed above, Martin is former Sierra Club Director of everything that involved getting kids outside across the U.S. He is also a regular at White House summits on kids outdoors.

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


A group-hug of gratitude for our 2015 sponsors!

Jay Karas & Miriam Marcus

Operations donation

David & Sophia McShea

Operations donation

Jameson & Christine Morrell

Operations donation

The Willowmoor Foundation

Operations donation

Georgetown Brewing Company

Event venue & refreshments donation

Sponsor's Website

We’re actively recruiting sponsors (event operations funding, and certain in-kind categories) that are critical to the success of this program. Donations are tax-deductible through our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor Sustainable Seattle.

If you are interested in sponsoring the Campfire Hoopla: email us

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


Kids Outside Awards is a WA nonprofit corporation that was launched in 2015 to:

Deliver valuable support to nonprofits that connect Seattle-area youth with the natural outdoors.

We are accomplishing this objective by developing and delivering services with the help of a regional coalition of partners that we call Spotlight Teams.

Our aspiration is that, over time, the benefits of this annual program will cumulatively bring significant incremental support to the entire community of qualified Kids Outside Awards nominees.

Sustainable Seattle is our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. Given our aligned missions, Sustainable Seattle has generously offered to partner with us in support of Campfire Hoopla event production, and it is an understatement to say that this is an invaluable service to the Kids Outside Awards program.

Natalie Angelillo, advisor/communications

Terri Butler, advisor/Sustainable Seattle

John Daly, founder & executive director

David Harms, advisor/misc. nerdy technical help

Andrew Jay, advisor/nominations & judging

Michelle Ruiz, advisor/Sustainable Seattle

Brett Tanis-Likkel, advisor/web & graphic design

Katherine Tomkins, advisor/sponsorship

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.


Do you have questions or suggestions?

Sign up for our newsletter for infrequent updates.