Fostering Outdoor Recreation, Education, Sustainability, and Teamwork
Vermont Huts Association is excited to announced the launch of its FOREST program, a new initiative created to ensure members from underrepresented communities have access to nature. As our mission states, we aim to create an enriching and immersive outdoor experience for everyone, and the FOREST program will do just that.
Each FOREST session will take place over a minimum of two nights. The program will provide everything participants need to have a memorable and meaningful experience including, but not limited to: transportation to and from our huts (or the nearest trailhead leading to a hut); meals and snacks throughout the duration of each session; chaperone, guide, or field naturalist to facilitate outdoor educational and team-building activities; proper clothing/gear depending on outdoor activities planned; and exclusive hut access for at least two nights. Backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and mountain biking are just some of the activities we will offer participants.
The FOREST program will start by serving two main populations: underserved youth and individuals with disabilities or adaptive needs. This could include inner city youth from low-income families or rural children whose families lack the financial resources or time to explore their surroundings. We will also provide access for individuals of all ages with cognitive, developmental, physical and emotional disabilities.
This program is unique from others because it will allow participants the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the backcountry while still providing a safe and sustainable venue for overnight accommodations. Using an outfitted hut as the home base for the FOREST program will create a new point of access for individuals who may be apprehensive to venture into the wild in a more primitive, tent-style experience. Our huts will also serve as a stepping stone for those individuals, and as FOREST participants become familiar with the trails and terrain surrounding the hut, they will grow more comfortable with the idea of exploration, which can boost their self-confidence.
Our first hut will open later this year, and we are beginning to identify partner organizations to ensure the FOREST program is successful from the start. If you’d like to see this program serve as many individuals as possible, please consider donating to the FOREST program below.