Project Venture Community of Practice Round 2

Project Venture


The NNED and the National Indian Youth Leadership Project have partnered to offer 20 NNED Members training and continued coaching on Project Venture, an outdoors experiential youth development program designed for high-risk, middle school-aged American Indian youth.

About Project Venture

Project Venture was developed by the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP), an American Indian-owned and -operated, community-based, nonprofit organization with nearly 20 years of experience in youth development. NIYLP has conducted summer youth leadership camps since 1986, from which grew the year-round Project Venture model.
Project Venture was selected by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs & Practices (NREPP) as the first Native American model program. For more information click here

Project Venture aims to prevent substance use and related problems through:

  • Classroom-based problem-solving and skill-building activities
  • Outdoor adventure-based experiential activities
  • Adventure camps and treks
  • Community-oriented service learning

The program relies on American Indian traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concept, effective social skills, a community service ethic, internal locus of control, and increased decisionmaking and problem- solving skills

Project Venture typically consists of 20 to 30 hourly classroom sessions delivered over the course of a school year during which youth also engage in experiential games and initiatives facilitated by a Project Venture trained facilitator. Through these classroom-based sessions, a smaller number of youth are recruited and enrolled into the program’s community-based activities that include increasingly challenging outdoor activities such as team- and trust-building, hiking, bicycling, climbing, and rappelling. During these activities, delivered to groups of 7 to 15 youth per team, Project Venture trained facilitators work with youth to plan, implement, and debrief in specific ways that use the experiences as metaphors for life.

Key Steps & Dates

  • January 26th - Introductory Webinar on Project Venture.  Watch the informational webinar.
  • Become a NNED Partner in order to apply.  If you're not affiliated with an organization, email to learn how to join.
  • March 2nd - First CoP Training Session at 2:00-4:00pm ET. 
  • Training Sessions will take place every Wednesday at 2pm ET from March - April 2011.
  • Monthly follow-up coaching sessions will take place every third Wednesday of the month at 2:00pm ET from May - October 2011.


Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

For Project Venture Training Questions:
Beth Wonson

NNED CoP Questions:
Rachele Espiritu, Ph.D., National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health
P: 281.990.8444