Youth Odyssey Inc

Opening Minds Expanding Horizons

aka Youth Odyssey Inc.   |   Corpus Christi, TX   |  www.youthodyssey.com

Mission

Our mission is to inspire, engage and empower disadvantaged and underprivileged youth through leadership development, life skills, and outdoor activities.

Ruling year info

1997

Principal Officer

Mrs. Becky Meyer

Main address

PO Box 331394

Corpus Christi, TX 78463 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

74-2817641

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are working to address the rising tide of juvenile crime and violence by providing a preventative program focusing on building core life skills through adventure challenge.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Adventure Challenge Program

Youth Odyssey helps over 700 at-risk boys and girls between 10 and 17 years of age each year. We provide between 20 and 25 Adventure Wilderness Trips each year. Up to 13 youth join staff and volunteers at various Texas State and National Parks for 3 to 5 days of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, etc. We also provide between 35 and 40 Ropes Challenge Course Sessions each year.  

Our Outdoor Challenge Programs are memorable experiences. A willingness to challenge oneself physically and emotionally is an integral component of Youth Odyssey’s programming. Pushing oneself this way enhances self-reliance, self-confidence, leadership skills and communication skills.

Programming Sessions last 6 – 9 weeks and comprised of the following levels:
Level One: Portable Ropes Course Challenge Sessions that will serve a max of 15 youth per session. The onsite activities are two-hour sessions.

Level Two: Ropes Course Challenge
LOW ELEMENTS
Sessions that will serve a max of 12 youth per session. These are from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 the focus is on the team. Activities draw on the knowledge and ideas of every group member and require the participation and cooperation of the entire team. Activities are performed on or close to the ground, gradually increasing in difficulty so the team can learn from its successes and build trust and confidence as obstacles are overcome.

HIGH ELEMENTS
The High Elements of a Ropes Course emphasizes individual challenge and accomplishments and is built on the team development and trust established on the Low Elements. The High Elements are an extremely
powerful developmental tool because of the perceived risk of each activity. The High Elements allow the youth to expand their comfort zones and overcome fears that can block personal development and achievement.

Processing at the closure of each experience includes reflection, evaluation and goal review to help the youth derive meaning from the experience and how it applies to their lives.

Level Three: Adventure Wilderness Trips
The wilderness is a place where nature is dominant and situations and their consequences are real. Camping in these conditions, away from the distractions of modern civilization fosters self-reliance,
respect and a sense of responsibility for youth’s own actions. Youth Odyssey’s programs are designed based on the nationally recognized National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS) and Outward Bound.

Through the outdoor experience, in addition to learning outdoor skills, teens respond to physical challenges and learn to overcome obstacles through problem solving. Youth are guided through
activities, which enable them to build self-esteem, self-confidence, cooperation, leadership skills, and team building. Teens expand their horizons beyond concrete and asphalt and to learn about themselves, nature and their environment. Each youth spends 3 days with caring adults in an environment that
teaches them more effective ways of relating to others and healthier ways of valuing themselves.

Evaluation and goal review to help the youth derive meaning from what they have experienced and how the experiences apply to their lives. Also, the whole team processes the entire day’s refection on Saturday night around the campfire and this is reported as one the youth’s favorite part of the trip.

Whether on an Adventure Wilderness Trip or on a Ropes Challenge Course, youth progress through carefully planned activities that build leadership, problem-solving skills, trust, teamwork, self-confidence, communication, empathy, locus of control, positive coping methods, advocacy, and more.

 Learning and development follows a sequential
process and the effectiveness and mastery at one level contributes to each
subsequent level. They are:

Goal Setting – Goal Setting is a critical component since it provides a source of measure.

Awareness – Awareness activities are designed to assist youth in feeling more comfortable in their group environment and to appreciate the relationship between peers and adults.

Trust – Trust activities focus on one-to-one as well as group trust.

Cooperation – The activities at this level gives the youth a sense of accomplishment through cooperation

Group Challenge – Activities are “problem-solving” in nature and experiences are related to real life

Leadership – Leadership activities assist youth in developing leadership skills and experience following a leader.

Application – A follow-up program at the closure of the on-site experience, through a final process session. Reflection, evaluation, and goal review.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Social and economic status
Adolescents

Adventure Leadership Camps - couple life skills development and adventure challenge into a week-long day and overnight camps: Outdoor Adventure, Living Local, Legacy, Canoe, Backpacking, and Rock Climbing.

These camp focus on the same skills as our Adventure Challenge Programs in a more condensed fashion but equally as impactful.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Ethnic and racial groups
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of youth programs offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adolescents, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In 2020, our organization like others was hard hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic. During this time, we shifted to virtual programs until our team was prepared and ready to open back up to smaller groups.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Youth Odyssey's overall goal is to effect social change in at-risk youth by providing youth development programming that increases their resilient attributes and decreases at-risk factors such as gang violence, drugs, alcohol, and teen pregnancy through appealing, healthy adventure challenges.

The following are the goals of the Adventure Challenge Program:

• To improve participating youth's life skills, including leadership, self-confidence, communication, problem-solving, team building, and trust;
• To increase the perception of healthy life styles and a sense of purpose and future;
• To provide at-risk youth with adult mentors that hold healthy beliefs and clear standards;
• To provide activities that allow at-risk youth to be successful in building social and behavioral skills;
• To provide at-risk youth with activities in a caring and supportive environment;
• To provide at-risk youth with opportunities to participate in activities that produce a sense of usefulness and responsibility; and
• To provide at-risk youth with clear and attainable goals.

Through these goals Youth Odyssey's Programs will reach the following objectives and outcomes:

• To have 75% of at-risk youth participating show an increase in their self-confidence;
• To have 75% of at-risk youth participating show and increase in leadership;
• To have 75% of at-risk youth participating show and increase in problem-solving skills;
• To have 75% of at-risk youth participating show and increase in team building and trust;
• To have 80% of at-risk youth participating show a desire for future participation in healthy alternative activities that discourage risky behaviors.

Each year we exceed these goals!!!

Partnering with youth agencies, schools, low income housing, recreation centers, and churches were the low income and at-risk youth can be found.

Our programs remain unique to South Texas. We have a highly trained staff who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of teens. Youth Odyssey has also maintained a perfect safety record since our founding in 1997.

Corpus Christi ISD reported that youth who participate in our programs have decreased disciplinary action needed, decreased dropout rates, increased grades, increased testing scores, and increased attendance.


The results of our program, Improvement after participating in our programs:
87% Communication Skills, 90% Leadership Skills, 90% Problem Solving Skills, 92% Gained Self Confidence, 92% Teamwork Skills, and 91% Trust.

Program Evaluation from the youth:
80% Staff gave clear instructions, 91% Program Organization, 89% Food Selection; and 100% felt Safe, felt staff listened to concerns and answered questions, and felt staff treated them with respect.

Please see our list of accomplishments below that highlight our success in Nueces, Live Oak, San Patricio, and Jim Wells Counties:

1) Perfect Safety Record since 1997

2) Outstanding track record with the following organizations (regular programming):
Texas Parks and Wildlife, Community Outdoor Outreach Program, since 1998
Corpus Christi Independent School District, since 2002
Community Housing Services (now Prospera Housing Community Services) since 2002
Housing Authority of Corpus Christi since 2002
Corpus Christi Park and Recreation, Community Youth Development, since 2000
Nueces County Juvenile Justice Center, since 2006
Homeschoolers United of Texas, since 2011
GROW Local and Downtown Farmers Market, since 2015
Foster Angels of South Texas (since 2015)
Majesty Outdoors, since 2016
Gregory-Portland ISD (since 2018)

3) Case studies: Jeff Levine Case Study in 2016 and TAMUCC, Master’s Program Evaluation, 2017

4) Expanded programs:
Adventure Challenge Program, since 1997
Adjunct referrals for programs, since 2002
Youth Mentor Program – peer role models and service projects, since 2008
Four Summer Camps for disadvantaged youth, since 2010
Gained ownership of our Ropes Course, located off I-37, southbound exit 20B, 2012
Received donation of office space for staff, 2016
Received Charity League’s grant to expand our Ropes Course, 2017
Expanded Summer Camps from four to six, due to demand, 2017

5) Staff:
Increased to 3 Full Time, 2013
Increased to 3 Full Time and 2 Part Time, 2016
Increased to 5 Full Time, 2017
8 active volunteers and 5 additional approved

Financials

Youth Odyssey Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Youth Odyssey Inc

Board of directors
as of 5/11/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Ralph Silva

Corpus Christi ISD


Board co-chair

Jason Pitarra

Supreme Lending

Ralph Silva

CCISD

Kim Cox

Kim A. Cox, Attorney at Law

Aaron Guevara

Dean&Wallace

Crispin Mendez

Corpus Christi Police Department

Jason Pitarra

Supreme Lending

Polly Harris

Polly Harris Insurance

Adriana Armendarez

Ellison Helmsman, Inc.

Courtney Schroeder

Self-Employed

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/11/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data