The Beginnings:

OUR HISTORY:  Founded in 2009 by professional outdoor educator Heather King and local parents Rita Maes and Alison Bradley, and with support from Sara Benjamin, another outdoor educator. Ventura Wild began under the non-profit umbrella of Oak Grove School, a private school located in Ojai, California, offering 2-3 weeks of day-camps in the summer. Heather King worked as director and lead instructor to build the program and the staff. In 2014, in an effort to expand into other seasons and to reach the broader communities of Ojai and Ventura County, the program moved to the umbrella of the Ojai City Recreation Department, which offered our programs year-round as part of their recreation activity guide.  Growing from 2-3 programs a year to as many as 40 programs annually, Ventura Wild became an even stronger organization with committed leaders, strong content and a strong vision to bring nature connection to our local communities long term. In 2020 we made the move to a non-profit parent organization, the Ventura Land Trust in order to raise money for scholarships, diversity and capacity building. Our mentor organization, Wilderness Youth Project in Santa Barbara, continues to offer their support as we grow and evolve. We have received “miracle grants” from Patagonia for scholarships and many families contribute toward scholarships as well. 

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