Connecting young people to the natural environment


The OARS Foundation
was created with the vision to connect young people to one of the world’s greatest resources—our natural environment. With river rafting permits, skilled guides and a multi-use camping facility, we offer opportunities for young people to experience the value and enrichment time in the outdoors can bring.[/ezcol_3quarter_end]

Our Mission

The OARS Foundation provides meaningful guided river rafting and outdoor adventure experiences for under-served youth and young adults. Our goal is to increase accessibility to the outdoors and help foster the next generation of environmental stewards and active outdoor enthusiasts while empowering youth and inspiring them to discover, and engage with, the wonders of the great outdoors.

With the overwhelming prevalence of screen-time and restrictions on outdoor play in many of our urban areas, access to wild and natural places is becoming more difficult.  We hope to provide the space and the resources that enable the next generation to explore the value of nature in their lives and in their developing world view. Most importantly, we also want our participants to have fun—as a wilderness experience has the power to inspire, give cause for action and lead to an active, outdoor lifestyle that remains rewarding one’s entire life.


It is our goal to provide a fun and educational river experience for more than 500 underserved youth this year at a highly-subsidized rate.

Since 2009, the OARS Foundation has run dozens of successful trips in the communities we serve, consisting of programs for elementary schools and high schools, universities, youth mentoring programs and conservancy groups.  From 1-day fundraising trips on the Mokelumne and the South Fork of the American Rivers in California, to multi-day trips through Cataract Canyon and the Gates of Lodore in Utah, our guides act as educators, interpreters and mentors while piloting their floating classrooms.  Topics of sustainability, responsibility and leadership come up organically as students peer up at the ancient rock layers and maneuver boats as a team through whitewater rapids.  Teachers also have the opportunity to take advantage of a new, fresh and exciting learning environment for their students.

Where does the OARS Foundation get its funding?

The OARS Foundation receives its funding through a variety of sources, including:

  • 15% of all purchases made at the OARS online retail gear store.
  • 100% of film festival royalties from OARS short films such as River of Eden, Martin’s Boat, 62 Years and Return from Desolation.
  • Individual donations from people like you. Thank you!
  • In addition, OARS donates all administration staff time and the use of all equipment needed to make these river trips possible.

If you would like to donate to the OARS Foundation, please follow this link:

Donate Now

The OARS Foundation is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]The OARS Foundation is committed to getting more than 500 underserved youth on river trips this year.

If you know of a group of kids who would benefit from this kind of experience, please complete this form:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

River Warriors

In addition to offering trips for youth, the OARS Foundation is proud to work with several other organizations to offer multi-day river trips throughout the Western U.S. for our military service members and veterans.


Non-discrimination policy

The OARS Foundation admits participants of any race, color, national origin or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to participants. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies or scholarships.