about us

 
REYN6576.jpg
mission
+ vision

We envision a world in which every child fulfills their limitless potential.

 

Our mission is to prepare young people to thrive through outdoor adventure and transformative play.

Extra.jpg
our
model

Our model is based on childhood development and resilience theory, leveraging the power of play and adventure. 

Odong Alex.Jpeg
our 
programs

We implement our 15-week model through four different program areas. 

our mission + vision

Stroke_teal-06.png

We envision a world in which all children fulfill their limitless potential.

 

Our mission is to prepare young people to thrive through outdoor adventure and transformative play.

Stroke_teal-06.png
 
 

our model

Our program model is built on evidence based approaches to positive youth development and user-centered design with our community in Northern Uganda. Over ten-years, we have honed a model that provides youth with resilience education training delivered via outdoor adventure and play, opportunities to engage and give back to their community, and healthy relationships with peers and mentors. Additionally, our model provides parents and guardians with tools and information to support their youth to fulfill their potential. Finally, our model invests in laying the groundwork for safe and healthy family and community relationships empowering families and communities to take ownership of their responsibility to invest in youth prepared to thrive.

Asset 2.png

why outdoor adventure +

 transformative play?

We believe that the best way to prepare young people to overcome adversity is to expose them to experiences of controlled adversity. Experiences of controlled adversity allow us to simulate stress, learn how to recognize our emotions and practice responding to them, be vulnerable with those around us, and discover our own resilience and strength. Outdoor adventure and play provide opportunities for age-appropriate experiences of controlled adversity to young people from early childhood through adolescence. From noticing the power of positive communication in a game during P.E. class, to connecting experiences on the zip-line to the moments in life that require bravery and confidence, to venturing out on their first wilderness excursion, the experiences our students gain are the catalyst for owning their resilience and thriving.

thumbnail_IMG_7778.jpg
 

our programs

Our Program Updates.jpg
climbing club

Climbing Club is a 15-week program targeting youth ages 16-24 who are out of school, many of whom were forced to drop out of school early due to do financial constraints at home. Groups of 20 youth from target communities come to The Recreation Project’s outdoor adventure center once per week over the course of three months. They learn technical climbing skills and valuable life skills. During Family Days, youths' parents or spouses are invited to join them at the outdoor center to see what they’ve learned, engage in dialogue and activities to foster a nurturing home environment, and try the high ropes activities together. The program culminates in a wilderness excursion during which students camp and repel down a 50m cliff. (In 2021, 120 youth and their families will graduate from this program)

 
primary school program

The Recreation Project integrates our 15-week curriculum in the Primary School curriculum in Northern Uganda. Working with partner schools, The Recreation Project delivers its full program to students in Primary Year 6 during the physical education period over the course of one school term. Schools identify focal teachers who help deliver the program and are trained in the curriculum over the course of our three year partnership at schools with the intention that The Recreation Project can leave a school and the teachers can sustainably deliver the program independently. The program includes three sessions with parents and an outdoor excursion to The Recreation Project's outdoor adventure site. In 2021, 400 youth and their families will graduate from this program).

_MG_1089-2.jpg
children in conflict with the law

In partnership with local juvenile detention centers, The Recreation Project prepares young people and their families to thrive after release. Two afternoons per week, children on remand at their local detention center participate in a play-based life skills and social and emotional education program. Curriculum includes conflict management, social and emotional regulation, family dialogue, and more. The program culminates in a family day during which the parents are invited to join their child for a day of play and healing activities. (In 2021, roughly 180 youth and their families will graduate from this program, specific number dependent on number of children in facility).

partner programs

In addition to our core programs, we also deliver programs in partnership with other youth serving organizations. We tailor our life skills and resilience education curriculum to the needs of our partners. 

In 2021, we are partnering with Hashtag Gulu to deliver resilience education to street-connected youth in Gulu town. Hashtag delivers vocational training to street-connected youth and The Recreation Project supplements with soft skills development through weekly play-based trainings. 

Additionally, we partner with MODO School of Fashion to deliver life skills and empowerment programs to students in MODO's tailoring vocational program. 

 

our values

kid-centered

Above all, ‬we are kid-centered. ‬Our programs are designed with and for children and youth ‬with the intention of building programs and outcomes around their biggest hopes and dreams. We value the safety, ‬protection, ‬and success of each and every individual ‬child and youth with whom we work.

impact-driven

We believe decision making should be guided by our participants’ qualitative reflections and our own rigorously collected data. We are committed to rigorously defining & testing our impact. ‬We learn from ‬existing research & key stakeholders to define desired outcomes and determine how to measure ‬them. ‬

peace

Founded in the wake of a decades long war in northern Uganda, The Recreation Project values peace. We understand that conflict and war leave marks on people and societies for generations. We want TRP to be a place of peace for the people we serve. This should be evident both in the environment we maintain in the forest and in the way we implement our programs.

humility

We know that in order to grow, ‬we must humble ourselves. Within our gates, both CEOs and children born in captivity jump from the same zipline platform. They are equal as participants in our programs. ‬‬Additionally, humility is how the TRP team operates. ‬Our directors help put equipment away and our facilitators help define our mission and vision.

excellence

We seek to learn and emulate excellence in all we do. ‬ ‬We strive to maintain internationally recognized safety standards for our ropes course and outdoor adventure activities. ‬We uphold child protection and safeguarding best practices based in current child development, ‬psychosocial, ‬and experiential education research.

integrity

We have a deep respect for the community we serve, ‬the generous donors who support us, ‬and our peers who seek to learn from our work. ‬It is our responsibility to work with integrity in all we do to ensure that we deserve their respect as well.

faith

We seek to transform lives, ‬inspired by the most transforming love of all. ‬We are faith-rooted, ‬not faith-based. ‬We don’t seek to evangelize; we strive to live and act with Christ as our example, ‬loving each individual who enters our gates.

our team

ACELLAM DENISH

COMMUNITY PROGRAM COORDINATOR

 

With 5 years’ experience working with The Recreation Project, Denish feels he has also recovered the truth about himself. He knows he can be a sincere change agent to fellow youth in northern Uganda. Seeing his fellow youth thriving in life makes him smile and gives him the energy to keep working every day.

AKENA DICKENS

COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT

 

In addition to serving as one of our day programs facilitators, Dickens leads our communications work. He takes our photos, collects interviews, and keeps you posted about our work. 

ALIMOCAN JANET

DAY PROGRAMS COORDINATOR

Janet coordinates all of our revenue generating activities, from our wedding venue to corporate retreats to school field trips.

staff

meet our team

 
AGATHA ISIDI

FACILITATOR

Agatha is a day programs facilitator and works with our custom built life skills program clients. 

HANNAH MCCANDLESS

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Hannah drives the strategy and vision of The Recreation Project. Hannah has lived and worked in Uganda for several years. She loves that her job combines her experience in project management and camp counseling. 

_MG_0926_edited.jpg
MARK OKOT

COMMUNITY PROGRAMS FACILITATOR

Mark works with our Community Programs team facilitating at the Gulu Remand Home and with our Youth Climbing Club

ANENA JACKIE

COMMUNITY PROGRAM FACILITATOR

ANENA JACKIE

COMMUNITY PROGRAM FACILITATOR

Laguti Irene.JPG
lRENE LUTWALA LAGUTI

SCHOOL PROGRAM FACILITATOR

Irene facilitates our Primary School Program. 

IMG_0921_edited.jpg
MIKE PAITO

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

Mike keeps us afloat. He manages our finances, ensures we have the equipment and materials we need, and oversees our maintenance. 

BEAR

ASSISTANT SECURITY OFFICER

Bear assists Francis in keeping TRP safe. He takes his work seriously. He is loved (and taunted) by the primary school students that pass our forest every day on their way to and from school.

JANETH AYAA ALAROKER

SCHOOL PROGRAM FACILITATOR

Janeth, or Jenny as we call her at TRP, facilitates our Primary School Program. 

JANETH AYAA ALAROKER

SCHOOL PROGRAM FACILITATOR

Janeth, or Jenny as we call her at TRP, facilitates our Primary School Program. 

RUBANGAKENE GODFREY

CLIMBING CLUB FACILITATOR & DAY PROGRAMS COORDINATOR

Bankene facilitates our Climbing Club program and helps oversee day programs. He himself is a graduate of one of TRP’s first Climbing Club programs and loves that his job allows him to give back to a program that helped form him as a person.

RACHKARA DEOGRACIAS

SCHOOL PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Deo coordinates our Primary School Program. He has worked at The Recreation Project for over five years

JANETH AYAA ALAROKER

SCHOOL PROGRAM FACILITATOR

Janeth, or Jenny as we call her at TRP, facilitates our Primary School Program. 

JOSEPHINE OGABA

MONITORING AND EVALUATION SUPPORT

Josie leads our M&E. She prepares our survey forms and leads data collection and cleaning.

STEPHEN OTTO

MAINTENANCE ASSISTANT

Stephen manages maintenance at our facility. From cutting the grass to making sure our high ropes course remains safe and sturdy, Stephen is on it!

STEPHEN OTTO

MAINTENANCE ASSISTANT

Stephen manages maintenance at our facility. From cutting the grass to making sure our high ropes course remains safe and sturdy, Stephen is on it!

Hoins Headshot.jpg
ZACH HOINS

BOARD CHAIR

Zach is the Chief Operations Officer for Village Enterprise.  He has spent 8 years living in Uganda leading programs in recreation, economic development, and social protection.  During this work he has supported organizations to maximize their internal qualifications through leading/developing teams to implement strategic plans, identify and secure new business opportunities, and leading projects. Recreation has been central to his upbringing and development as an individual.  He has a passion to see youth in Uganda be presented with opportunities to grow and develop through play.  He has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska and an MPS in Community/Economic Development from Pennsylvania State University.  

Winnie.jpg
AUMA WINNIE

Winnie Auma is a champion for economic inclusion and poverty alleviation in rural populations. Having grown out of extreme poverty herself, Winnie knows first hand what it means to implement sustainable development programs. She thrives on providing opportunities and resources for those who need it most.  

Winnie is the VP of Programs for Village Enterprise and works with teams across Uganda, Kenya, DRC, and Rwanda to deepen the impact of Village Enterprise's program.

Before Village Enterprise, Winnie worked as a high school teacher and administrator. She holds a BA in Education from Makerere University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management. She is also a Harvard Kennedy School Emerging Leaders -- Executive Education, Class of 2019.

IMG_0212.jpeg
BEN PORTER

BOARD MEMBER AND FOUNDER

Ben Porter (MA) is a Staff Care Consultant and Psychotherapist with Thrive Worldwide in Cambridge, UK.  After working as a psychosocial technical advisor to a grassroots NGO in Northern Uganda re-integrating formerly abducted children into their homes and communities from 2005-2008, Ben co-founded and directed The Recreation Project from 2009-2016.  Ben is a board-certified life coach (CCE), an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and a Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC)

board

meet our board

 
IMG_5232.JPG
DAN KONECNY

Dan has been on the board of TRP since inception and has seen TRP grow it so many ways. Dan is an avid skier, a want-to-be golfer and fly fisherman, and a connoisseur of craft beers. He and his wife live in Denver with their daughter Elizabeth and son Nolan and their grouchy old beagle, Osborne. Dan likes to spend as much time in Colorado's Rocky Mountains with his family as he can.

Picture1.png
KRISTIN WILL

Kristin Will is experienced in designing and implementing strategic programs that impact the vulnerable populations in sustainable ways that promote local ownership, specifically in Uganda. With a clinical doctorate in occupational therapy, her profession is rooted in human rights, human development, and psychosocial interventions with a strong emphasis on client centeredness and cultural relevance.

 

After completing her thesis in Uganda in 2014, Kristin returned on several occasions to perform needs assessments and eventually moved to Uganda full time in 2017 to implement inclusive programing with a large grassroot NGO. She is currently back in the United States consulting to design strategic plans for a variety of startup and established ventures

Jeff.png
JEFF MESSER

Jeff Messer has nearly 30 years expertise in business development, corporate management, and entrepreneurial endeavors within a wide range of industries. He has launched several businesses, lived in Africa, traveled extensively, and is a passionate advocate of micro-enterprise development and social entrepreneurism.

IMG_5694 (1).jpg
LINDSAY BINGAMAN

Lindsay  has over five years of international development experience in East Africa, leading programs in public health, peacebuilding, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and gender equality. She is currently the Kenya Program Manager for Women's Global Education Project, and is based in Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Master of International Development, a Bachelor of Science in Education, and holds certificates in Psychological First Aid, Mental Health in Complex Emergencies, and Protecting Children in Humanitarian Settings. She's also currently working towards a Master in Clinical Social Work.

 

Lindsay has a passion for outdoor experiential education and mental health, has worked in wilderness therapy as well as leading trips for student groups on Mt. Kenya.

JON MAYBERRY

Jon Mayberry served as TRP’s board chair for ten-years from our founding until the end of 2020. He has led TRP with ups and downs. Jon is a Senior Water Resources Engineer at Spronk Water Engineers in Denver. He and his wife and their two sons live in the Denver area. Jon is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys climbing, hiking, and backpacking during his free time.

MARNI NELSON

Marni Nelson has served on the board of The Recreation Project since its inception. Marni lives in Boulder, Colorado where she currently serves as a Program Manager for Contingent Labor with Spectrum.

MARNI NELSON

Marni Nelson has served on the board of The Recreation Project since its inception. Marni lives in Boulder, Colorado where she currently serves as a Program Manager for Contingent Labor with Spectrum.

KIMBAL KURTZ

Kimbal co-founded The Recreation Project and helped to construct TRP’s site. Kimbal owns and operates general contracting company designing and building homes in the Denver areas. Kimbal and his wife lived in Gulu for a year to help establish TRP and Kimbal has served on the TRP since.

KIMBAL KURTZ

Kimbal co-founded The Recreation Project and helped to construct TRP’s site. Kimbal owns and operates general contracting company designing and building homes in the Denver areas. Kimbal and his wife lived in Gulu for a year to help establish TRP and Kimbal has served on the TRP since.

IMG_0481_edited.jpg
WILL WAMARU

Will is an innovative outdoor professional, and has built a career around creating transformative educational experiences for young people. Born and raised in the foothills of Mt Kenya, he is a visionary leader and educator driven by a passion for the wilderness and profound respect for natural and cultural resources alike. 

Will brings a variety of experience as a NOLS Senior Field Instructor, AIESEC alumni, the Co-Founder & CEO of Africa School of Outdoor Leadership & Adventure, and his current position as a faculty member and the Equity and Inclusion Coordinator at Proctor Academy in Andover, NH. Will holds a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Social Impact from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Nairobi. When he is not working, he enjoys climbing, fly fishing, bird watching, mountaineering, off-roading, gardening, and spending quality time with his family.