The EVOLVE Project

The EVOLVE Project

An outdoor career-oriented youth leadership course for at-risk and minority teens.

The Evolve Project provides semester-long outdoor leadership courses for teens ages 16 through 18.  In addition to learning outdoor recreation skills, teens engage in job-coaching, leadership training, environmental stewardship, and leave-no-trace ethics.


Target Group: At risk and minority teens between 16 and 18.
Max Applicants: Only fifteen (15) applicants will be selected each semester to participate.
Dates: Programs run parallel to university’s semesters: spring and fall.
How to Apply? Fill out this form or call 801-484-4128.

Why this Project?

Less than 30% of outdoor participants are ethnic minorities. Additionally, these populations report lack of gear as a primary inhibitor to outdoor recreation participation.  As a fully-supported outdoor experience (including instruction, gear, and transportation), the Evolve Project removes barriers to recreation while fostering a connection to the outdoors and providing career-oriented opportunities in the outdoor industry.  Teens will benefit through intensive leadership and outdoor skills training coupled with job coaching and internship placement support.

EVOLVE Application


Program Format

During the course, teens will be introduced to a variety of seasonal outdoor activities: canoeing, rafting, rock climbing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and skiing. Teens will meet once a week for the duration of the semester for half and full-day activities. The consistency of the program offers time to develop a skill base in one or more outdoor activities, as well as the experience to foster an awareness and understanding of the outdoors and the natural world.

The outdoor activities will also be coupled with leadership development workshops that focus on building confidence, leading others, emotional intelligence, fostering a “growth” mindset (willing to try new things), and working as a team. Furthermore, an essential element of the Evolve Project is job skills training, job coaching, and internship placement. With the support of key community partners, teens will have the opportunity to meet and learn from professionals and guides in the outdoor industry. Following graduation, those who gain internships will receive job coaching and support from the Evolve Project for the duration of their internship.