Spending time outdoors is essential to our health and our quality of life. Unfortunately, too many San Diegans are not afforded the opportunity to experience the transformational power of the outdoors. San Diego’s communities of color have always faced barriers to outdoor access, from the high cost of gear and entry fees, to a lack of green spaces in their neighborhoods, to a general feeling that they don’t belong there. While COVID-19 has reminded many of us of just how essential spending time in the outdoors is for our own well-being, it has also intensified many of the inequities that serve as barriers to access the outdoors.
Luckily, in San Diego, one organization in particular is working to connect youth of all backgrounds to the outdoors. For many years, SDG&E has partnered with local nonprofit organization, Outdoor Outreach, to support their youth programs that connect youth to the transformative power of the outdoors. By inviting youth of color to find meaning in outdoor spaces, Outdoor Outreach is dismantling the notion that outdoor recreation is reserved for privileged, white communities.
With a long history of partnership with Outdoor Outreach, SDG&E employees were eager to continue supporting the organization’s mission to fight injustice and ensure that all outdoor and public spaces are safe for people of color. This summer, SDG&E employees pledged their support for Outdoor Outreach through a number of internal campaigns supporting social justice. To date, our employees have raised over $6,000 for Outdoor Outreach for their Lead the Way Gala, an annual fundraiser supporting outdoor leadership.
SDG&E’s Director of Portfolio & Project Management, Ted Reguly, was a board member with Outdoor outreach for six years.
"Living in San Diego where there are so many wonderful outdoor spaces to enjoy, we sometimes forget that not all San Diegans are able to access these areas equally," Reguly said. "As a board member, I saw firsthand the important work Outdoor Outreach is doing to break down barriers for youth and advocate for solutions that increase equitable access to the outdoors for those who normally don’t. It is important for us to recognize that these inequities exist and take action to fix a broken system, so all can equally participate and enjoy these treasures. Supporting organizations like Outdoor Outreach is a crucial step in the right direction!"