About Our Program

Explore Austin uses mentoring, leadership, and outdoor adventure to empower youth to reach their full potential. Through a leadership based outdoor adventure curriculum coupled with social-emotional learning components and long-term mentoring, Explore Austin is improving the well-being of each participant, their families, and the community.


Research shows when youth have a long-term caring adult in their life, access to challenging outdoor activities, and opportunities to lead others and themselves, they are more confident and prepared to reach their highest level of success. Explore Austin matches high potential, 6th grade “Explorers” with caring and committed adult mentors and start them on a six-year journey including nine Saturday Challenges and a week-long Summer Wilderness Trip that increases in difficulty and distance from home each year.


What makes this program unique is the length of time Explore Austin volunteer Mentors commit to their Explorers. Explorers begin in sixth grade and their mentors stay with them through the graduation of high school and beyond into their adult lives. Over the course of the six-year program, each Explorer spends more than 1,300 hours with their Mentors and fellow Explore teammates, creating lifelong growth in character, integrity, courage, and grit.