A Message From Our Executive Director
By Natalie Hausman-Weiss
Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the shelf unopen’d!
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearn’d!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the court, and the judge expound the law.
Camerado, I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
This concluding stanza of Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” captures this moment in The Wood’s Project’s annual journey. Teens and adults alike, staff and volunteers, are readying and preparing themselves for the journeys ahead. Training, inventorying, organizing, packing and double-checking lay the groundwork for us to say, “Allons-y!” “Let us go forth into the natural world where “on one’s own” and “caring for each other” share equally important weight as each spurs on the growth of the other. I am deeply grateful to all of you, especially to our volunteers who have heeded Whitman’s advice, leaving behind the responsibilities of work and home to direct their love, patience and leadership to young men and women set to become the next great generation of our world.
It takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to make our flagship summer program possible. While the TWP staff works year-round to make it happen, we also rely on an army volunteers and supporters to get the job done. With out these people, we simply would not be able to provide the programming that we do. THANK YOU for helping us change the lives of Houston high school students!
Financial and In-kind Donors
Here are a few companies and foundations that contributed resources to our summer program, either financially or in the form of goods and services:
- Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation
- Amegy Bank of Texas
- Amerisource Funding
- Andrew Delaney Foundation
- Baker McKenzie
- BBVA Compass Foundation
- Brown Foundation
- Clif Bar & Company
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- EDF Energy Services, LLC
- ENGIE North America
- First Congregational Church Endowment
- First Service Credit Union
- Fishman Haygood, LLP
- Flotek Industries
- G&A Partners
- Harper & Pearson Company, P.C
- Harris County Department of Education, City Connections
- Herzstein Foundation
- Highway Haulers
- Houston Foundation
- Ironman Foundation
- KIND Bars
- KPMG LLP
- Lewis and Joan Lowenstein Foundation
- Lockton Companies
- McGuireWoods LLP
- Memorial Drive Presbyterian
- Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP
- Oberto Brands
- Powell Foundation
- Samuels Family Foundation
- Sidley Austin LLP
- Silver Eagle Distributors
- Smith Warren & Associates
- Space City Credit Union
- Spark Energy, LP
- Stephen M. Seay Foundation
- Terry Bruner Law Office PLLC
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Co-Op Grant
- The North Face Explore Fund
- The Tapeats Fund
- Thompson & Knight LLP
- Victory Packaging
- Wayne Duddlesten Foundation
Besides resources, it also takes a lot of time and energy to get our camping equipment ready so that our students have the proper tools to succeed on our summer program. We want to say THANK YOU to all of our wonderful volunteers who helped out at our summer prep events:
- Summer Volunteer Leader Training – Besides donating 2 weeks of their summer, our incredible volunteer leaders must participate in an all-day intensive training session before they go out on summer trip.
- Summer Gear Inventory – Volunteers go through every piece of TWP’s camping equipment, from tents and sleeping bags to whistles and sporks, counting each item and fixing any broken items to make sure we have enough properly working equipment for our students.
- First Aid Kit Restock – Volunteers go through all of our 30+ first aid kits and restock supplies that were used during the year.
- Food Pack – It takes A LOT of food to feed more than 200 people for a week of backpacking. Volunteers assemble all of the backpacking meals using dehydrated goods and organize the food by backpack group.
- Sumer Gear Pack – Once our equipment is ready to go, the equipment and food must be packed into large gear bags before being shipped across the country to our summer locations.
Here are some photos from these prep events:
Again, THANK YOU to all of those who made our 2018 summer program possible!
Get 20% Off at Dick’s Sporting Goods!
Not only have the wonderful people at Dick’s Sporting Goods donated $1,500 to The Woods Project to go towards purchasing Nalgene water bottles for all 2018 summer program participants, but they are offering another great deal to TWP community members!
For 2 weekends (June 23-24 & June 30-July 1) at the Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Post Oak Shopping Center (2131 Post Oak Blvd.), TWP community members can get 20% off an entire purchase when they present the flyer below at checkout! If you are a student attending our summer program and need some supplies for your trip, this is a great opportunity to get equipped. Simply download this flyer, go shop at the store, and present the flyer at checkout either in printed form or on your smartphone.
Please read the fine print at the bottom of the flyer for restrictions on this offer.
Spring 2018 Weekend Trips
During the spring and fall, The Woods Project takes high school students and volunteer adult leaders on weekend trips in wilderness areas near Houston. On these trips, students apply the skills they learned in The Woods Project Club Program, like how to pitch a tent, communication, how to cook a meal on a backpacking stove, wilderness first aid, team-building, how to pack a backpacking backpack, leadership, and wildlife identification. Students help cook and clean up after meals, as well as sleep outside in tents and go the entire weekend without their cell phones, immersing themselves in the nature and people around them. Weekend trips prepare students for the flagship component of The Woods Project: the 2-week summer backpacking experience.
This spring, The Woods Project lead 227 students and 77 leaders in 6 wilderness areas on 9 weekend trips, including the inaugural Junior Leaders Program camping trip. These trips occurred in:
- Huntsville State Park
- Galveston State Park
- Brazos Bend State Park
- Sam Houston National Forest
- Little Thicket Nature Sanctuary
- Martin Dies Jr. State Park
They did a variety of activities across the 9 trips including camping, trail maintenance, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, navigating, nature artwork, backpacking, cooking with dutch ovens, biking, hiking, and team-building exercises. Check out some photos from this spring’s weekend trips!