Grantee Spotlight

Wildwood Outdoor Education Center is honored to share in the legacy of Marjorie Powell Allen and to continue her work improving the lives of Kansas City’s young citizens through outdoor education. With the support of the SkillBuilders Fund, we will continue our drive toward profitability and programming excellence in 2024.

Wildwood immerses youth in learning in an idyllic outdoor setting for summer overnight camps and school year field trip programs. The Wildwood property, located south of Louisburg, KS, was originally owned and operated by Marjorie Powell Allen and Bob Allen. Marjorie taught horseback riding, diving, and tennis. Bob started an Outdoor School to teach academics to elementary classes in spring and fall.

In 1980, Marjorie Powell Allen, Beth Smith, Jeanne Bates from the Hall Family Foundation, and Kansas City school district personnel put together the plan to create Wildwood Outdoor Education Center. The Powell family donated the Allendale property to the new non-profit, and the Hall Family Foundation provided initial grant funding.

Today, we are serving our second generation of Kansas Citians. Many of the ideas that started Wildwood–like the idea that kids grow better outside–remain deeply embedded in our values and our program design. For many of Kansas City’s youth, camp is a rare opportunity to learn and play 

outdoors, make new friends, and participate in the traditions of camping.

Wildwood equips youth with academic and social skills they carry with them throughout their lives. Innovative, hands-on learning brings academic lessons to life, and cabin living with peers provides a backdrop for social and emotional growth. Wildwood camp transforms participant attitudes about exploration, learning and nature; and they build social and emotional skills like teamwork, independence, and friend-making. Generous scholarships and free transportation ensure access for families of all income levels.

In 2023, Wildwood served a record 625 camper weeks, including 40 teens in Leadership Camp, and 2 sessions with partners serving youth in residential mental health treatment. 

With generous support from the Skillbuilders Fund, 2024 is set to be a wonderful year at Wildwood. Wildwood will continue its overnight camp to serve 600 camper weeks, expand Leadership Camp to serve 20 more teens, and is piloting an on-site day camp to serve 210 youth entering grades 1 to 6. We can’t wait to see all the good that this summer will bring!