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Our Story


We believe adventure is riding a bike for the first time, feeling mud shift under your boots, or falling over your skis. The outdoors is one of the greatest learning environments of all.


Nowhere else can you find this precise mixture of adrenaline and peace.

Through Adventure Crew, city teens develop the courageous spirit to step out of their comfort zone and discover new worlds — outside in nature, and inside themselves. This deep connection to nature will change the course of their lives, no matter what environment they’re in.

Let’s make outdoors for all.


A Better Path

We set a positive course to empower the lives of city youth through nature.


Our Mission

Open the doors of nature for city teens to strengthen their connection with self and others and create the next generation of healthy outdoor enthusiasts and environmental stewards.


It’s Time to Break Out

Young people who spend more time outdoors are healthier, happier, and more productive.



The amount of time young people spend playing outside per year.


The amount of time young people spend on devices and screens per year.


“My CREW friends are my best friends at school!”

Jackie, 15


“I’m getting every minute out of this day. I don’t know when I’ll get to do this again.”

matthew, 14


“When’s the next adventure? This is lit!”

Jahiem, 16 and Mark, 17



In 2012, Denny McFadden, a teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools, had an idea: what would happen if we took students on an outdoor adventure?

Soon after, a small group of local teens and teachers from Hughes High School ventured out on the Little Miami River for a five-mile float, sharing canoes, lunch, and a transformative experience.

Denny witnessed something amazing - kids and adults played, lended helping hands, and activated a grit and determination never expected. By the trip’s end, all had accomplished something new, conquered fears, and experienced something they may not have tried on their own. Once he had seen firsthand the benefits of adventure, Denny pushed to recreate the opportunity for as many city kids as possible, and at no cost.

When Denny retired, the vision of Adventure Crew did not. Kirsten MacDougal joined the crew in March 2018 and has led the organization to envision a bold path forward–to serve even more city youth and at even deeper levels.

Inspired by our natural world, Adventure Crew sees a future where all city teens experience the empowering and therapeutic effects of a outdoor adventure. Where fear is conquered, confidence is gained and peace of mind is discovered.




HEather + Jeff


Leading a nature hike and watching a child observe and identify plants, birds, insects and animals for the first time, building that connection with nature, those are special moments!




Adventure Crew uses outdoor recreation as a supportive educational forum in which students are encouraged to explore and utilize their imaginations, individuality, and strengths. 




The highlight of my week is spending a few hours on the Little Miami with Adventure Crew teens. Their curiosity and grit is refreshing and inspiring.




If I wasn’t out with Adventure Crew on the weekends, I’d just be out on the streets. Nature is a place I’m happy, peaceful, and calm.