Wilderness Leadership & Learning (WILL) is a holistic 12-month experiential learning, youth leadership, and life skills development program for District of Columbia youth from underserved/under-resourced neighborhoods.
WILL's mission is to provide diverse growth experiences and challenging learning opportunities to inspire and assist youth to make good decisions, become effective leaders, and achieve their goals.
One of our goals is to launch WILL youth into a future that they could not imagine before they participated in the program, and to compliment traditional classroom education with high-quality, diverse experiential learning opportunities to develop inherent strengths, decision-making and leadership and life skills for students to learn and be effective and successful.
WILL's greatest strength is the four pillars that support and provide structure for the more than 330 hours of experiential learning and youth leadership and life skills development that we provide for WILL youth, and which drive the WILL curriculum/experience: Leadership & Self-Empowerment; Critical Life Skills Development; Environmental Awareness & Stewardship; and Cultural Awareness & Appreciation.
A few recent significant WILL Outcomes and Accomplishments include:
- 100% of WILL graduates have graduated from high school or are on track to do so.
- For 11 years in a row, WILL's retention rate has been between 67% and 79%, far exceeding the 50% considered excellent for youth development programs (never below 50%).
- For 2017-2018, 88% of WILL youth reported that they learned something beneficial that they will use in their lives from the WILL programs in which they participated, and 96% said that they benefited a great deal from being in WILL.
- Based on Pre-and Post-WILL 3rd party survey analysis, 2017-2018 WILL youth showed: significant increases in knowledge and understanding of nutrition, SMART goals, environmental awareness, financial literacy, accountability, and communication.
- WILL has been in the Catalogue for Philanthropy since 2012 as one of the best community-based nonprofits in the Greater Washington region (WILL was in the 2017-2018 print Catalogue).