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The Thrive Outside St. Louis Community, led by River City Outdoors, is activating a network of intersectional community partners – nonprofits, schools, youth service providers, health organizations, recreation providers, and corporate and governmental partners, to share resources and skills, and build a coalition to engage the St. Louis region in repeat and reinforcing outdoor experiences. With an emphasis on youth and marginalized communities, its goal is to address outdoor equity barriers and co-create positive outdoor experiences in order to foster better mental, physical, and emotional health and wellbeing in the St. Louis community and help create a city where outdoor recreation is accessible and embraced by all people. Key initiatives include catalyzing equitable outdoor programming, supporting the development of Action Adventure Clubs, and providing support for grassroots outdoor community groups.


Key Focus Areas:

Connecting youth and families to nature-based activities, Leveraging gear libraries and leadership training to strengthen and further develop a diverse community of well-resourced and skilled outdoor leaders in St. Louis, and building an Outdoor Equity Fund


Backbone Organization:

River City Outdoors 


Advisory Board Partners:

River City Foundation, Terrain Magazine, Missouri Department of Conservation, Great Rivers Greenway, Trailnet, Missouri Environmental Education Association, The Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, Northside Community Housing Inc., Ujima STL, The Nature Conservancy in Missouri, and the Clark-Fox Family Foundation


Community Partners:

Big Muddy Adventures, Black Trans Bike Experience/ Black Transcendence, Black People Who Hike, the City of St. Louis Parks, Recreation & Forestry Division, the Bus for Outdoor Access and Teaching, East St. Louis Public Schools, Fresh Thyme Market, Gateway Region YMCA, Gateway to the Great Outdoors, Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club, GO! St. Louis, Lift for Life Academy, LinkSTL, Marquette Recreation Center, Missouri Interscholastic Cycling League, Shaw Nature Reserve (Missouri Botanical Garden), Missouri River Relief, Mississippi River Network, Outdoor Afro, St. Louis Public Schools, St. Louis BWorks, Sherwood Forest, Sierra Club of Eastern Missouri, Sinai Family Life Center, STL Youth Jobs, Thomas Dunn Learning Center, USFS Urban Connections Program, Upper Limits, Vail Ski Resorts, Vertical Voyages

“By working with community organizations and partners across St. Louis, we can help strengthen our ecosystem of outdoor recreation. The goal is to change ‘I and me’ to ‘us and we.'”  Chris Geden, Thrive Outside Program Manager

“We’ve been working for the past seven years to accelerate the outdoor recreation culture in the St. Louis region through Terrain Magazine, and now with the launch of River City Outdoors, we’re excited to gather that momentum and truly transform St. Louis into a vibrant, inclusive, outdoor community. This grant, and the additional support and leverage that comes with it, will allow us to maintain the great momentum we’ve gathered and focus it on creating diverse and equitable outdoor programs in our region.” – Brad Kovach, Editor/Publisher of Terrain Magazine and River City Outdoors Advisory Board Member

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Development and Programs Manager