January 20, 2021

Grantee Spotlight: Ladders to the Outdoors

Ladders to the Outdoors is a youth recreation program that serves children at seven state parks in Western New York. A 2020 Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grant allowed Ladders to the Outdoors to purchase recreational equipment and storage facilities, hire a coordinator responsible for outreach and program development with community organizations and school districts, create marketing plans and provide program funding for instructors, staff and materials.  

The program aims to impact at least 2 percent of the students currently involved in the Connect Kids to Parks field trip grant program, ultimately reaching 6000 Western New York youth annually. 

KeJuan Harmon was hired as the Ladders to the Outdoors coordinator in September and quickly immersed himself in the work. KeJuan is a native of Lackawanna with a passion for the outdoors and providing Western New York youth with programming at the state parks that are in their backyards. By linking with local organizations, KeJuan hopes to provide kayaking, fishing, hiking, snowshoeing and more. Even though KeJuan has only been in his position for a few months, he has quickly built relationships with local youth sports organizations and has run low-risk programming to keep youth active and engaged during the pandemic. If you would like more information on Ladders to the Outdoors and programming opportunities, email KeJuan.Harmon@parks.ny.gov.