Fresh Tracks was inspired in 2015 by a call from President Obama for bold new programs that use the outdoors to broaden horizons for young Americans facing persistent opportunity gaps.
It began with a successful pilot that took two cohorts of young adults from Los Angeles and Alaska on a shared journey from southern California to the Arctic Circle. It continued with training expeditions in Washington D.C. and West Virginia and it is expanding to more regions and cities. Fresh Tracks is now poised to build upon three Obama legacies: My Brother’s Keeper, Generation Indigenous, and the desire to introduce more young Americans to the transformational power of the outdoors.
The need for programs like Fresh Tracks is real. Youth of color are some of the most severely and disproportionately impacted by systems like foster care and the justice system. They also face serious disparities in school discipline and suffer from extreme rates of violent victimization. These systems are some of the biggest drivers of the persistent inequities experienced by these youth, drastically increasing their barriers to opportunity. These root causes also reduce community cohesion. Fresh Tracks is determined to help address these opportunity gaps, to increase community cohesion, and to strengthen leadership pathways for the next generation.