Blue Sky Fund is accepting nominations for our 2015 Outdoor Leadership Institute!

Click Here to Nominate a Youth

Blue Sky Fund is currently accepting applications for the Outdoor Leadership Institute (OLI) for the Summer of 2015. Blue Sky will lead crews of 10 rising 9th,10th, and 11th grade students (separate boys’ and girls’ programs) from diverse backgrounds to come together to build teamwork, confidence, leadership, and community involvement. The summer institute centers on a 5-day backpacking trip, during which crew members learn how to strengthen their leadership and teamwork skills by confronting the challenges of the wilderness. The program design includes experiences that will help shape knowledgeable multicultural leaders who learn about the social needs of Richmond through service learning. After completion of the summer institute, crew members will meet monthly through the following school year to apply their new skills to meaningful community service.

The crews will meet for a 2 week session during the summer. During first 4 days, crews will meet from 9:00am-1:30pm at Blue Sky Headquarters to get acquainted with other crew members and to prepare for their wilderness trip. Then the crews will go on a 5-day backpacking trip, during which they will summit Mt. Rogers – the highest peak in Virginia! Once the crews return, they will have three more days at Blue Sky Headquarters to debrief and process the challenges and lessons of the trip – ending with a celebration for participants and their families, celebrating all that they have accomplished. The dates of the 2015 program are:

July 7-July 18 (Wilderness: July 11-July 15)- Boys Institute
July 21-Aug. 1 (Wilderness: July 25-July 29)- Girls Institute

Do you know a student who has what it takes to be a member of an OLI crew? Then fill out the Outdoor Leadership Institute “Nomination Form” or read the FAQs below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Nominate Students?
Nominations most often come from teachers, youth organization professionals, mentors, counselors, and former alumni. However, any adult may nominate a student or students to our program.

Who Are You Looking For To Join the OLI Program?
We are looking for current 8th, 9th, and 10th graders who are:
Open to new and challenging experiences
Wanting to grow in leadership in their community
Wanting to meet and work with other students from the Richmond area
Interested in nature and the outdoors, or willing to experience the outdoors in adventurous ways
Able to commit to the program and to follow through on that commitment

What are the benefits of the program?
It’s an adventure!
Students will learn to become a better leader and how to overcome difficult challenges positively
It looks great on college and professional resumes
Provides opportunities for community service hours
Learn more about multicultural communication and working in groups
Have the opportunity to camp and hike, and summit the highest Peak in Virginia

How Do I Nominate Someone?
You can either nominate online through our online submission form, or you can print a hard copy of the form, fill it out, and mail it to: Blue Sky Fund, Outdoor Leadership Institute, PO Box 8108, Richmond, VA 23223.

What Happens Next?
After a nomination has been sent and accepted, the nominee will receive a letter with more information about the program. The nominee will be asked to fill out a short acceptance application, and we will then set up a time when the student can come down and have a brief interview with our staff. If accepted, the student will receive materials for the program in the Spring and will be also asked to attend an informational session in April.

Who do I contact if I have more questions, or just want more information?
Please contact the Blue Sky Fund’s Adventure Programs Manager, Steven Cottam, at or at 804-495-1413